Universal Music merges Virgin and Mercury RecordsPosted on March 19th, 2013 by Lee Jarvis in Music Industry News
Universal Music announced yesterday that it will merge two subsidiary labels, the UK arm of Virgin Records and UK unit Mercury Records, having recently acquired Virgin during the buying up of EMI‘s recorded music catalog last year. The new label will be launched under the name Virgin EMI Records, and headed up by Ted Cockle, who recently joined Virgin as President from another sister-label, Island Records.
The newly formed record label will still maintain two separate paths under the Virgin and EMI brands, keeping the historic EMI name alive in the UK after it’s fragmented sale of 2012, and with each brand carrying out their own marketing and A&R operations. Mercury will effectively become an imprint, with it’s current team shifting focus to the new Virgin EMI name.
Universal Music’s UK CEO, David Joseph told CMU, “Virgin EMI will be a creative powerhouse for the UK music industry. It has an exceptionally strong A&R line-up, with sensational domestic and international artists, combined with the ethos which has served the company so well over the past 40 years”.
That talent line-up includes the well established names of Justin Beiber, Elton John, Arcade Fire and Gorillaz, along with newer artists currently building strong followings such as Emeli Sandé, Professor Green and Chvrches, as well as representing artists on US-based Island Def Jam, including Kanye West.
The new Virgin EMI venture will join Universal Music’s other strong recorded music brands Island, Polydor and Decca, and the list will also expand in the near future; Capitol UK, the UK arm of the long-established Capitol Records, will be launched in April this year.