Irwin Z. Robinson is chairman and chief executive officer of The Famous Music Publishing Companies, the worldwide music publishing division of Paramount Pictures, which is part of the entertainment operations of Viacom Inc.
Robinson, based in New York City, joined Famous in April 1992, with a mandate to build the company both domestically and internationally. Within five years, the company has moved solidly into the mainstream of contemporary music by modernizing its operations, dramatically expanding its catalog and moving aggressively into the global arena.
In its ongoing campaign to strengthen its catalog, signings by Famous have ranged from the platinum-plus band of modern rockers, Bush, to Boyz to Men and to such fast breaking new artists as Grammy winner (Best New Artist) Paula Cole and Bjork to award-winning composer-conductor, Marvin Hamlisch. Among its current hit albums is the multi-week number one soundtrack to the smash hit film, TITANIC, which recently completed 15 consecutive weeks as the number one box office movie.
Robinson arrived at Famous Music after heading two of the industry’s leading international publishers, The Chappell/Intersong Music Group USA and EMI Music Publishing Worldwide. He was named president of Chappell/Intersong in 1977, serving concurrently, commencing in 1985, as senior vice president of the parent firm, Chappell and Company Inc. Following the merger of Chappell and Warner Bros. Music in 1987. he re-joined EMI Music Publishing Worldwide as president and CEO.
During his career, Robinson has represented the songs of a host of major name writers, including Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield and the Monkees. Also included are Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jule Styne, Burton Lane, Sammy Cahn, Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd, The Police, U2, The BeeGees and Lou Reed, among numerous others.
Robinson was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1962, and in 1964, he joined Screen Gems-Columbia Music as house counsel, subsequently becoming vice president and general manager. He held this position following EMI’s purchase and consolidation of the firm into Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc.
One of the publishing industry’s most dynamic and innovative leaders, Robinson is currently chairman of the board of The National Music Publishers Association and the Harry Fox Agency. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and NMPA. He is also on the board of The National Academy of Popular Music, custodian organization for The Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and has served as a trustee of the U.S. Copyright Society.