Universal Music Group's UK branch has announced the launch of Virgin EMI Records as the amalgamated re-branding of their subsidiary labels Mercury Records and Virgin Records, with Virgin being acquired by Universal last year with the purchase of EMI Records. This means that, despite being owned entirely by UMG, the EMI name and label is still a functioning record label that will be run like an independent company still.
Virgin EMI will be run by the executive staffs and artists of Mercury Records already in charge of the label before UMG's purchase, which also included the purchase of the Island Def Jam Music Group (whose structure will also remain intact). The amalgamated company will also employ their own A&R and marketing department too, as it looks to maintain a level of independence from UMG. Universal Music UK chairman & CEO David Joseph has released a statement discussing UMG's admiration of the directors of EMI and it's subsidiaries prior to the purchase and that the company had no ambitions to completely re-haul the core structure of the company when it was purchase last year.
The statement read, 'Virgin EMI... 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.' Ted Cockle, who was made a co-president of Island in 2008, will be made head of Virgin EMI, and although Mercury Records' managing director Jason Iley will be leaving the company, he will still be 'working closely' with UMG.
In another ambitious business move, UMG have also announced plans to back the new music provider Kleek in Africa, a new pioneering pan-African mobile music streaming service. The IMImobile developed app on Wednesday, was officially launched on the 13th March at the Samsung Africa Forum in Cape Town.