Business News Industry People Labels & Publishers

Universal separates Def Jam, Island and Motown

By | Published on Wednesday 2 April 2014

Universal Music

Universal Music Group has announced that it is re-establishing Def Jam Recordings, Island Records and Motown Records as standalone labels in the US.

The mega-major originally created the Island Def Jam Music Group in 1999, with the Motown label’s operations being moved into the group in 2011 after being split off from the firm’s Republic division. Moving forward all three labels will have their own management, marketing, publicity and A&R teams.

UMG CEO Lucian Grainge said of the restructuring: “UMG is a collection of some of the greatest record labels the industry has ever seen. At the heart of these great companies is the vision and creative instincts of a team of passionate professionals. At UMG, our labels are empowered to be entrepreneurial and take creative risks. By re-establishing Def Jam, Island and Motown as standalone labels within the UMG family, we’re positioning them to recapture the uniqueness of their brands and serve artists with the singularity of vision, focus and creativity that was at the core of their original success”.

There will also be some rejigging of staff, with Barry Weiss, who had been in charge of IDJ, stepping down, though he is in discussions to find a new role within Universal. Of this, Grainge said: “Barry is a terrific music executive who led our East Coast labels during a critical time of transition. I can’t say enough about his contributions to our labels or to thank him enough. He has positioned Def Jam, Island, Motown and Republic for new levels of growth”.

Meanwhile, IDJ COO Steve Bartels will become CEO of Def Jam, Ethiopia Habtemariam will become SVP of Motown Records (while maintaining her role as Head Of Urban Music at Universal Music Publishing), while former IDJ Head of A&R Karen Kwak will move into the newly created position of Executive Vice President A&R, US Recorded Music.

READ MORE ABOUT: | | | | | | |