Universal Music Group is changing the face of the music industry as they have announced Def Jam, Island and Motown Records will all begin to function as standalone labels with Barry Weiss stepping down as executive chairman.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Music Group is reorganizing its Island Def Jam Motown Group into three separate labels, and with the change taking place, key executives inside the labels will be promoted during the process.
According to a press release issued by UMG, via THR:
Effective immediately, Island Def Jam will cease to exist. Def Jam will run as its own unit with longtime executive Steve Bartels at the helm as CEO (he was previously president and COO). Island will continue to run under David Massey but will be adding its own marketing, publicity and A&R departments. Motown will move its base to Los Angeles where it will be headed by Ethiopia Habtemariam, who has been promoted from SVP of Motown Records to president of the label, and run out of the Capitol Music Group. It will also be housed at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood alongside imprints Harvest, Virgin and Blue Note Records.
The press release also states:
Barry Weiss will step down as chairman – “in order to enter into discussions with UMG about a new venture together.”
Other promotions due to the reorganization of UMG’s Island Def Jam Motown group include the promotion of A&R executive Karen Kwak, who’ll assume the newly-created position of Executive Vice President A&R, U.S. Recorded Music. In her new role, Kwak will serve all of UMG’s labels in the U.S.
While other A&R moves include Def Jam appointing Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua and Dion “No I.D.” Wilson as executive vice presidents and co-heads of A&R while Habtemariam will also continue in her current role as EVP/ Head of Urban Music at Universal Music Publishing Group.
UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge issued a statement on UMG’s reorganization, via THR:
“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 stand-alone 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.”
It is noted that the restructuring of UMG’s Island Def Jam Motown Group is expected to bring back each one of these storied labels Def Jam, Island and Motown’s impact to the industry by re-establishing them as distinct creative enterprises.