November 29, 2014
Universal unbundles Def Jam, Island, Motown labels
Universal Music Group has announced a major restructuring, splitting Island Def Jam into three stand-alone labels as Barry Weiss resigns as chairman and CEO of the label’s East Coast group.
A news release yesterday said historic labels Def Jam Recordings, Island Records and Motown Records will once again become independent operations, effective immediately, while Weiss explores starting another venture with Universal.
The move comes 15 years after the three influential labels were consolidated in 1999 and as hip-hop pioneer Def Jam celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Island Def Jam has been home to some of music’s top stars, including Kanye West and Justin Bieber.
The other imprints in the Island Def Jam group will be reassigned to the new stand-alone labels.
Ethiopia Habtemariam, currently a senior vice president of Motown Records and head of urban music at Universal Music Publishing Group, will be Motown’s new president.
The label will be part of the Capitol Music Group and operations will be moved back to Los Angeles.