Universal Music Group launched Virgin Music Label & Artist Services – a new global division for independent artists and labels that, according to UMG, is “inspired and influenced by the spirit and ethos of the legendary Virgin Records label.”
The move means that US-based Caroline – the independent service department of UMG’s own Capitol Music Group – as well as Caroline in Great Britain, France and Germany will be renamed Virgin Music Label & Artist Services.
The Virgin Services division will also open Latin American branches in Mexico and Spain, as well as in Los Angeles and Miami in the USA. UMG claims that “Virgin Music Label & Artist Services Latin America will be the world’s first fully integrated Latin American music label service division.”
Virgin Music Label & Artist Services will be an independent global company of Ingrooves, which UMG acquired in 2019 and has since followed a roadmap for rapid international expansion.
In the US, Caroline will be renamed Virgin Label & Artist Services with immediate effect and under the direction of Jacqueline Saturn, who will become President of Virgin Music Label & Artist Services and report to Capitol Music Group President and COO Michelle Jubelirer.
Caroline’s greatest successes in Los Angeles have included partnerships with Atlanta-based Quality Control Music (via Motown) that led to the rise of global superstar Lil Baby. as well as 10K projects whose breakout artist is Trippie Redd.
In addition, Caroline has established successful partnerships with artists / labels, including Clairo via the Fader label, SHAED via Photo Finish and Black Pumas via ATO Records. NCT127 and SuperM by SM Entertainment and independent artists E-40, Mac Demarco, Anson Seabra, Judah & the Lion, and others.
In the UK, Vanessa Higgins has been appointed Managing Director of Virgin Music Label & Artist Services UK with immediate effect.
Higgins joins UMG from Regent Street Records, the independent record label and music publisher she founded in 2014 after 15 years as a touring musician.
Higgins has a long history of working with independent artists who have represented their interests as a board member of the British record label board BPI since 2015 and as director of the BPI’s innovation center from 2016-1919.
She is currently a mentor for Abbey Road Red’s technology and innovation seeding program.
Higgins reports to David Joseph, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music UK.
Labels and artists distributed from the UK include: Mixtape Madness, the Brit Award nominees D Block Europe, Midas Jagaban, Digga D, Potter Payper and Bugzy Malone, fiction, Billie Marten, The Amazons and The Big Moon , Rema, StayFleeGetLizzy, Tiffany Calver, EGA, Faceless and NQ.
In addition, Caroline International’s UK-based Label Services operation will be renamed Virgin Music Label & Artist Services from MD with immediate effect under the continued leadership of Michael Roe and Jim Chancellor.
In 2020 Caroline International delivered significant international chart successes for Caroline artists, including: Aitch, The Big Moon; Internet money; Zoe Wees (Via UM Germany) and D-Block Europe among others.
Artists and labels to be distributed worldwide through Virgin Music Label & Artist Services include: Weil Music (Christine & The Queens, large Lazer global markets outside of France), Van Morrison, Steven Wilson, Sophie Hunger, Peter Gabriel and Tame Impala (e.g. UK, USA and Australia), Iggy Pop, Underworld and DAVE (except UK and USA).
In France, the new department will be built on the foundations of Caroline France. Operations will be led by Thomas Lorain, who has been appointed Managing Director of Virgin Music Labels & Artist Services France with immediate effect.
Lorain has been responsible for Caroline France since 2014 and currently leads a 16-person team.
With the input and support of Olivier Nusse, CEO of Universal Music France since 2016, Caroline France has achieved groundbreaking national successes for artists including: Alpha Wann (Don Dada Records), Carpenter Brut (No Quarter), Grand Corps Malade ( Anouche Productions), Kaaris (OG Record / Lutèce), Polo & Pan (Hamburger Records / Ekleroshock), RimK (Frenesik) and Wejdene (Guette Music) / Caroline France).
The first labels to join Virgin Music France include the artists who have already been sold: Danger Productions (Captaine Roshi), Guette Music (Larse) (Lewis Of Man, Pretty Boy Aaron) and Think Zik! (Imany, Anwar).
In Germany, along with other markets in Central Europe, the existing Caroline activities will be integrated and expanded into Virgin Music Label & Artist Services.
The new department in Germany will be headed by Tina Adams, who will take on the role of label manager with immediate effect.
The label is based in Berlin and reports to Frank Briegmann, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon.
The new division will operate alongside the domestic frontline label Virgin Records Germany.
In Latin America and Iberia, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services will roll out in a handful of key markets in early 2021, including Mexico, Spain and Latin America in the United States.
The label will have dedicated teams and resources in Los Angeles, Miami and Mexico City and says UMG will “focus on supporting the next wave of independent Latin American talent, labels, influencers and entrepreneurs worldwide”.
UMG claims that Virgin Music Label & Artist Services Latin America will be “the world’s first fully integrated Latin American music label services division,” giving artists, labels and partners access to local and international marketing services, live via GTS, merchandising – and offers management services via Bravado and publishing services in addition to UMPG.
Virgin Music Latin America is headed by Víctor González, who has been named President of Virgin Music LATAM & Iberia with immediate effect.
González is a longtime and highly respected manager who has been with UMG for more than 22 years. Most recently, he was President of Universal Music Latin Entertainment (UMLE).
He will be based in Los Angeles and report to Jesús López, Chairman and CEO Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.
Virgin Music Label & Artist Services Japan launches in Japan with immediate effect.
The division will expand the existing capabilities of Caroline Japan, which will be brought together in the new division, led by senior manager Hirokazu Tanaka and reporting to Naoshi Fujikura, President and CEO of Universal Music Japan.
The new division will operate alongside domestic frontline label Virgin Music.
“This global launch marks a major advancement in our industry-leading strategy to be an accelerator and key partner for the best independent artists and entrepreneurs in music.”
Sir Lucian Grainge
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, said: “Virgin has long been synonymous with disruptive innovation, musical creativity and entrepreneurship.
“We are excited to announce the revival of this legendary music brand as a new model for global distribution and label services. We combine UMG’s unrivaled regional leadership teams with dedicated resources and world-class services and technology to foster long-term partnerships and deliver global success for the next generation of independent labels and talented artists.
“Overall, this global rollout marks a major advancement in our industry-leading strategy to be an accelerator and key partner for the best independent artists and entrepreneurs in music.”
“I am proud that half a century after opening our first independent record store in London, the Virgin Music name continues to represent the best entrepreneurs, innovators and artists in today’s music world.”
Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin, said, “I am proud that half a century after opening our first independent record store in London, the Virgin Music name continues to represent the best entrepreneurs, innovators and artists in the music world today.”
Virgin Records was founded in the UK in 1972 by Sir Richard Branson and has served artists such as David Bowie, The Sex Pistols, Aaliyah, the Rolling Stones, George Michael, Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, the Culture Club, Massive Attack and the Spice Girls.
The legendary label, whose roots were in Prog, Reggae, Punk and New Wave, distributed Astralwerk and Caroline as well as labels such as Frontline, Stiff, Charisma and Circa, both of which have become successful divisions under the umbrella of UMG.Music business worldwide