PARIS, France (CelebrityAccess) — And the big keep getting bigger. On Thursday, label giant Universal Music Group announced plans to breathe new life into the Virgin Music brand with the launch of a new record label and artist services division.
“Virgin has long been a name synonymous with disruptive innovation, musical creativity and entrepreneurialism. We are thrilled to announce the reinvigoration of this iconic music brand as a new model for global distribution and label services – combining UMG’s unrivalled regional executive teams with dedicated resources and best-in-class services and technology, to help foster long-term partnerships and deliver global success for the next generation of independent labels and artist talent. In total, this global launch represents an important evolution of our industry-leading strategy to be an accelerator and vital partner for the music’s best independent artists and entrepreneurs,” said Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG.
Virgin Music Label & Artist Services will be supported by fully staffed operations that are already up and running in five key music markets – the U.S., Japan, U.K., Germany, France – as well as Lati America. Additional regional offices will be announced in the coming months.
In the U.S., Caroline will be recast as Virgin Label & Artist Services. It will continue under the leadership of Jacqueline Saturn, who will become President, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, reporting to Capitol Music Group President and COO, Michelle Jubelirer.
The company offers independent artists and labels the resources of UMG along with marketing and strategy support that has already resulted in successful partnerships such as Motown’s alliance with Atlanta-based Quality Control Music and 10K Projects, whose breakout artists include Trippie Redd, Internet Money, Surfaces and iann dior.
In the U.K., industry executive Vanessa Higgins has been appointed as MD, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services UK, effective immediately. She joins UMG from the indie label and music publisher, Regent Street Records, which she founded in 2014, after spending 15 years as a touring musician.
In France, Caroline France will transition to the Virgin brand and will be led by Thomas Lorain who has been appointed as MD, Virgin Music Labels & Artist Services France effective immediately. Lorain has overseen Caroline since 2014 and currently manages a team of sixteen.
Caroline’s existing operations in Germany will also be folded into Virgin Music Label & Artist Services. The new division, based in Berlin, will be led by Tina Adams, who will assume the role of Label Manager effective immediately.
However, in Japan, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services Japan will launch independently and will merge with Caroline, expanding the label’s existing capabilities, UMG said. The Japanese division will be led by Hirokazu Tanaka, reporting to Naoshi Fujikura, President and CEO, Universal Music Japan. The new division will operate alongside domestic frontline label Virgin Music.
Originally launched in the U.K. in 1972 by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Records released music by some of the most influential artists in modern music, including David Bowie; The Sex Pistols; Aaliyah; The Rolling Stones; George Michael; Janet Jackson; Lenny Kravitz; Culture Club; Massive Attack; and the Spice Girls.
Virgin also served as a key distributor for some of the leading independent labels of the era, including Frontline, Stiff, Charisma and Circa; and the creation of Caroline and Astralwerks, which are both part of UMG now.
“I’m proud that half a century after we opened our first independent record shop in London, the Virgin Music name continues to represent the very best entrepreneurs, innovators, and artists from the world of music today,” said Virgin Music founder Sir Richard Branson.