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EMI Music Restructures Labels With Blue Note Label Group

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — EMI Music has restructured its labels for adult pop, jazz and classics with the formation of The Blue Note Label Group, the first full-scale, multi-genre music division dedicated to serving the adult music market. Previously known as EMI Jazz & Classics, The Blue Note Label Group will be overseen by Bruce Lundvall, president and CEO. Lundvall will continue to report to David Munns, chairman and CEO, EMI Music North America.

This expanded division, established to capitalize on the growing adult music market and on the heels of successes with artists such as Norah Jones, Sarah Brightman, Amos Lee, Anita Baker, Raul Midon, Celtic Womanm Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Patricia Barber, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson and Jason Moran, will be grouped under the established and prestigious Blue Note name. In addition, the division will now oversee the Narada Label Group, whose artists include Lila Downs, Alejandro Escovedo, Bird York, Charlie Sexton, The Subdudes, Euge Groove, Eric Darius, Ramsey Lewis and Jeff Lorber. Narada will relocate from Milwaukee to New York and will be combined with the Manhattan Label.

Under Lundvall's direction, labels will be organized into three distinct A&R and marketing streams, each to be overseen by a general manager:

  • Ian Ralfini, senior vice president and general manager of the Manhattan label, will also assume GM duties for Narada, which includes Americana/roots music on Back Porch, new age music on Higher Octave, and the US license for Peter Gabriel's World Music label, Real World whose roster includes The Blind Boys of Alabama, Mapfumo, Afro Celt Sound System and Yunchen Llamo. Additionally, all classical cross-over artists, including Brightman, will move into Ralfini's new group;
  • Tom Evered has been named general manager for all classical releases on Angel and the marketing of EMI and Virgin classical artists in the U.S in an effort to focus more acutely on the growing classical market. In this role, he will leverage his classical background to expand the Angel classical artist roster, increase EMI's overall classical market share in the U.S. and expand opportunities for classical genres in digital formats; and
  • Zach Hochkeppel, who had been vice president of Marketing for EMI Jazz & Classics, has been promoted to general manager of Blue Note and will supervise all releases on Blue Note, Metro Blue and the Narada Jazz labels.

In addition, newly expanded Sales, Promotion, Digital, Creative and International departments have been formed to serve all three music streams. These departments will report to Lundvall and newly appointed COO Dave D'Urbano, who has been promoted from his previous post as CFO. Kevin Carroll will become senior vice president of Promotion, and Sales vice president Saul Shapiro will supervise all Sales and Field Marketing for The Blue Note Label Group.

"My vision is to create and sustain the leading position in the sophisticated 25-plus music market," said Lundvall. "This move will streamline and organize our staffing to maximize our penetration of these key markets. Moving the Narada Label Group to New York further enhances our ability to attract talent to these music genres and complete our involvement in all adult repertoire areas. While my heart will always be with Blue Note and jazz, we have proven that we can break artists in virtually every area of quality music and we will continue to do so with élan and total commitment. I am particularly proud of my executive team, They have the vision, love of music and intelligence to make the Blue Note Label Group a very special division of EMI."

The division will issue new releases by Brightman, Jones, Lee, Midon, Al Green, and Marsalis as well as new releases from Celtic Woman (which recently broke a record by holding the #1 spot on the Billboard World Music Chart for 68 weeks), Louise Setera, a new signing from the UK, Carrie Rodrigues and Chip Taylor. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen