Don’t Call It a Comeback: Interscope Chief John Janick Reveals Cancer Recurrence

Interscope Geffen A&M chief John Janick has overcome plenty of business challenges — the shift from physical product to digital, and from radio to streaming, to name two — but it’s a personal triumph over a recurrence of cancer that perhaps best defines him today. As the 40-year-old reveals, a brain tumor discovered last fall nearly derailed a 20-year career in the music industry.

When Janick took the helm of the Universal Music Group label co-founded by Jimmy Iovine and home to such superstar acts as Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga and Imagine Dragons, among many others, his was an indie success story. While still in college in 1996, Janick launched the label Fueled by Ramen and went on to sign Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and Paramore. Indeed, Fueled by Ramen was such a success that Warner Music Group bought the label outright in 2008 and retained Janick as co-president of Elektra. Ever the company man, the exec stayed on for four more years. “I was a loyal person,” he says. “I didn’t even want to meet with anybody else.”

But a phone call from Iovine turned into an offer Janick could not refuse, and in 2012, he joined IGA, moving to Los Angeles. He learned the UMG ropes and succeeded his mentor and recruiter in 2014. With Interscope claiming 8.48% of overall market share so far in 2018, Janick looks ahead to the label’s next chapter, and his own, in an exclusive interview with Variety.


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