UMG Dissolves Island Def Jam As CEO Steps Down

News

Camille Augustin / April 1, 2014

Universal Music Group has revealed that they’ll be dissolving Island Def Jam Music Group, Variety reports.

In addition to the sudden news, CEO and president of East Coast Label Group, Barry Weiss, is also stepping down from his position.

“Barry is a terrific music executive who led our East Coast labels during a critical time of transition,” said UMG CEO and chairman, Lucian Grainge. “I can’t say enough about his contributions to our labels or to thank him enough.” Weiss plans to enter discussions on another venture within UMG.

Motown, Island, and Def Jam will now function as “standalone imprints,” prompting Grainge to write in a statement, “At UMG, our labels are empowered to be entrepreneurial and take creative risks. By re-establishing Def Jam, Island and Motown as standalone 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.”

New titles were also given to Dion “No I.D.” Wilson and Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua as executive vice presidents and co-heads of A&R for Def Jam. Ethiopia Habtemariam will serve as president of Motown, and former Def Jam president Steve Bartels is now CEO of the legendary musical imprint, with David Massey still leading Island Records.

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