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Universal Music
Music
Group (also known in the United States as UMG Recordings, Inc. and abbreviated as UMG) is an American global music corporation that is a subsidiary of the French media conglomerate Vivendi. UMG's global corporate headquarters are located in Santa Monica, California. It is considered one of the "Big Three" record labels, along with Sony
Sony
Music
Music
and Warner Music
Music
Group. Since 2004, the corporation is no longer related to the film studio Universal Studios.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Early history 1.2 Vivendi
Vivendi
subsidiary 1.3 2010s and EMI
EMI
purchase 1.4 2012–2017: EMI
EMI
integration and divisions reorganization 1.5 2018–present

2 Labels 3 Multimedia content delivery 4 Locations

4.1 Los Angeles metropolitan area

4.1.1 Santa Monica 4.1.2 Hollywood 4.1.3 Universal City 4.1.4 Woodland Hills

4.2 New York City 4.3 Madrid 4.4 London 4.5 Berlin 4.6 Warsaw 4.7 Toronto 4.8 Other locations

5 Partnerships 6 Criticism and controversies

6.1 CD price fixing 6.2 Payola 6.3 YouTube 6.4 Imeem 6.5 Megaupload

7 See also 8 References 9 External links

History For history prior to 1996, see MCA Records Early history Universal Music
Music
was once the record company attached to film studio Universal Pictures. The company's origins go back to the formation of the American branch of Decca Records
Decca Records
in September 1934.[1][2] The Decca Record Co. Ltd. of England spun American Decca off in 1939.[3] MCA Inc.
MCA Inc.
merged with American Decca in 1962.[4] In November 1990, Japanese multinational conglomerate Matsushita Electric agreed to acquire MCA for $6.59 billion.[5][6] In 1995, Seagram acquired 80 percent of MCA from Matsushita.[7][8] On December 9, 1996, the company was renamed Universal Studios, Inc.,[9] and its music division was renamed Universal Music
Music
Group; MCA Records continued as a label within the Universal Music
Music
Group. In May 1998, Seagram purchased PolyGram
PolyGram
[10]and merged it with Universal Music
Music
Group in early 1999.[11]

Vivendi
Vivendi
subsidiary With the 2004 acquisition of Universal Studios
Universal Studios
by General Electric
General Electric
and merging with GE's NBC, Universal Music
Music
Group was cast under separate management from the eponymous film studio. This is the second time a music company has done so, the first being the separation of Time Warner and Warner Music
Music
Group. In February 2006, the label became 100 percent owned by French media conglomerate Vivendi
Vivendi
when Vivendi purchased the last 20 percent from Matsushita. On June 25, 2007, Vivendi
Vivendi
completed its €1.63 billion ($2.4 billion) purchase of BMG Music
Music
Publishing, after receiving European Union regulatory approval, having announced the acquisition on September 6, 2006.[12][13]

2010s and EMI
EMI
purchase Doug Morris
Doug Morris
stepped down from his position as CEO on January 1, 2011. Former chairman/CEO of Universal Music
Music
International Lucian Grainge was promoted to CEO of the company. Grainge later replaced him as chairman on March 9, 2011.[14] Morris became the next chairman of Sony
Sony
Music
Music
Entertainment
Entertainment
on July 1, 2011.[15] With Grainge's appointment as CEO at UMG, Max Hole was promoted to COO of UMGI, effective July 1, 2010.[16] Starting in 2011 UMG's Interscope Geffen A&M Records will be signing contestants from American Idol/Idol series. On January 2011, UMG announced it was donating 200,000 master recordings from the 1920s to 1940s to the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
for preservation.[17] In March 2011, Barry Weiss became chairman and CEO of The Island Def Jam Music
Music
Group and Universal Republic Records.[18] Both companies were restructured under Weiss.[19] In December 2011, David Foster
David Foster
was named Chairman of Verve Music
Music
Group. In 2011, EMI
EMI
sold its recorded music operations to Universal Music Group for £1.2 billion ($1.9 billion) and its music publishing operations to a Sony-led consortium for $2.2 billion.[20] Among the other companies that had competed for the recorded music business was Warner Music
Music
Group which was reported to have made a $2 billion bid.[21] IMPALA opposed the merger.[22] In March 2012, the European Union opened an investigation into the acquisition[23] The EU asked rivals and consumer groups whether the deal would result in higher prices and shut out competitors.[24] On September 21, 2012, the sale of EMI
EMI
to UMG was approved in Europe and the United States by the European Commission
European Commission
and Federal Trade Commission respectively.[25] However, the European Commission approved the deal only under the condition the merged company divest one third of its total operations to other companies with a proven track record in the music industry. UMG divested Mute Records, Parlophone, Roxy Recordings, MPS Records, Cooperative Music, Now That's What I Call Music!, Jazzland, Universal Greece, Sanctuary Records, Chrysalis Records, EMI
EMI
Classics, Virgin Classics, and EMI's European regional labels to comply with this condition. UMG retained The Beatles
The Beatles
(formerly of Parlophone) and Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams
(formerly of Chrysalis). The Beatles
The Beatles
catalogue was transferred to UMG's newly formed Calderstone Productions , while Williams' catalogue was transferred to Island Records.[26][27]

2012–2017: EMI
EMI
integration and divisions reorganization Universal Music
Music
Group completed their acquisition of EMI
EMI
on September 28, 2012.[28] In November 2012, Steve Barnett was appointed chairman and CEO of Capitol Music
Music
Group. He formerly served as COO of Columbia Records.[29] In compliance the conditions of the European Commission
European Commission
after purchase of EMI, Universal Music
Music
Group sold the Mute catalogue to the German-based BMG Rights Management
BMG Rights Management
on December 22, 2012.[30] Two months later, BMG acquired Sanctuary Records
Sanctuary Records
for €50 million.[31] On November 8, 2012, Universal Music
Music
and Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard
launched a marketing operation that allows customers with an HP computer with HP Connected Music
Music
software to access music from Universal artists, as well as exclusive content.[32] On February 8, 2013, Warner Music
Music
Group acquired the Parlophone
Parlophone
Label Group (consisting of Parlophone
Parlophone
Records, Chrysalis Records, EMI Classics, Virgin Classics and EMI
EMI
Records' Belgian, Czech, Danish, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Slovak and Swedish divisions) for $765 million (£487 million).[33][34] Later in February, Sony
Sony
Music
Music
Entertainment
Entertainment
acquired Universal's European share in Now That's What I Call Music
Music
for approximately $60 million.[35] Play It Again Sam acquired Co-Operative Music
Music
for £500,000 in March 2013.[36] With EMI's absorption into Universal Music
Music
complete, its British operations will consist of five label units: Island, Polydor, Decca, Virgin EMI
EMI
and Capitol.[37] In April 2013, Universal Music
Music
Greece (excluding Nana Mouskouri) was sold to Victoras Antippas, who renamed the company Cobalt Music.[38] Edel AG
Edel AG
acquired the MPS catalogue from Universal in January 2014.[39] On March 20, 2013, UMG announced the worldwide extension of their exclusive distribution deal with the Disney Music
Music
Group, excluding Japan and Russia. As a result of this deal DMG's labels and artists have access to UMG's roster of producers and songwriters on a worldwide basis.[40] The exclusive deal also saw UMG granted unlimited access to all rights pertaining to Disney's 85-year back catalog of soundtracks and albums.[41] On April 2, 2013, the gospel music divisions of Motown Records
Motown Records
and EMI merged to form a new label called Motown
Motown
Gospel.[42] In May 2013, Japanese company SoftBank
SoftBank
offered $8.5 billion to Vivendi for the acquisition of UMG, but Vivendi
Vivendi
rejected it.[43] As of November 14, 2013, Universal Music
Music
will now distribute Warner Music Group's releases in the Middle East as a result of the integration of EMI's branch in the said region.[44][better source needed] On April 1, 2014, Universal Music
Music
announced the disbandment of Island Def Jam Music, one of four operational umbrella groups within Universal Music. Universal CEO Lucian Grainge said of the closure, "No matter how much we might work to build 'IDJ' as a brand, that brand could never be as powerful as each of IDJ's constituent parts."[45] Under terms of the agreement Island Records
Island Records
and Def Jam would operate as autonomous record labels. David Massey and Bartels, who worked respectively at Island and Def Jam Records, would lead the new record labels independently.[45] Barry Weiss, who previously moved from Sony
Sony
Music
Music
to head up Island Def Jam Music
Music
in 2012 when Motown Records
Motown Records
was incorporated into Island Def Jam, stepped down from Universal Music. Additionally, as part of the changes to the labels, Motown Records
Motown Records
would transfer to Los Angeles to become part of the Capitol Music
Music
Group and previous Vice President Ethiopia Habtemariam was promoted to Label President for Motown Records.[45] Republic Records
Republic Records
would operate independently while the Interscope Geffen A&M group remained unchanged.[45] Universal Music
Music
Group entered into film and TV production with the 2014 purchase of Eagle Rock Entertainment. UMG's first major film production was Amy while taking part in Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck and The Beatles: Eight Days a Week documentaries. In January 2016, UMG hired David Blackman from Laurence Mark Production where he was president of production as head of film and television development and production, and theater producer Scott Landis as special advisor on theatrical development and production. UMG Executive Vice President Michele Anthony and Universal Music
Music
Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Jody Gerson have oversight of the pair.[46] On February 11, 2017, PolyGram
PolyGram
Entertainment
Entertainment
was relaunched as a film and television unit of Universal Music
Music
Group under David Blackman.[47] Vivendi
Vivendi
and Red Bull GmbH
Red Bull GmbH
combined StudioCanal, Universal Music
Music
Group and Terra Mater Film Studios in a co-development partnership for feature films in May 2017.[48] In August 2017, UMG and Grace/Beyond agreed to develop three new music-based television series, 27, Melody Island and Mixtape. 27 would focus on musicians at the age of 27, an age at which several iconic musicians died. Melody Island is an animated series based on uplifting tropical island feel music with live craft segments. Mixtape
Mixtape
is dramatically structured similar to how a mixtape works with each connecting to a song.[49] In December 2017, Universal Music
Music
Group acquired the catalogues of Stiff Records
Stiff Records
and ZTT Records, along with Perfect Songs Publishing, from Trevor Horn's SPZ Group.[50]

2018–present On July 30, 2018, Vivendi
Vivendi
announced it was selling half of Universal Music
Music
Group.[51] On November 19, 2018, singer Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
signed a new multi-album deal with Universal Music
Music
Group. In addition to the promised ownership of her master recordings, UMG agreed to, in the event that it sells portions of its stake in Spotify, distribute proceeds among its artists and make them non-recoupable.[52][53][54] In February 2019, UMG fully acquired music distributor INgrooves.[55]

Labels Further information: List of Universal Music
Music
Group labels Multimedia content delivery Universal Music
Music
Group co-developed Vevo, a site designed for music videos inspired by Hulu.com, which similarly allows free ad-supported streaming of videos and other music content.[56] On May 24, 2018, Vevo
Vevo
announced that it would no longer continue distributing videos to Vevo.com, instead opting to primarily focus on YouTube
YouTube
syndication.[57]

Locations Los Angeles metropolitan area Santa Monica Universal Music
Music
Publishing Headquarters in Santa Monica, California. The UMG main global headquarters are located at 2220 Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica
Santa Monica
headquarters oversees its legal obligations in the US and Canada. Interscope-Geffen-A&M and Verve Music
Music
Group are based at its Los Angeles headquarters with John Janick heading Interscope-Geffen-A&M[58] and David Foster
David Foster
heading Verve.[59] Def Jam, Island and Republic Records
Republic Records
has offices at the Santa Monica
Santa Monica
headquarters. The building is also home to Universal Music
Music
Enterprises (UME). UMG chairman & CEO Lucian Grainge works out of the company's Santa Monica
Santa Monica
headquarters. Universal Music Publishing is headquartered at 2100 Colorado Avenue.

Hollywood The Capitol Music
Music
Group is headquartered at the Capitol Records Building in Hollywood.[60] Tom Cage was assigned to the record label in 2004 after a short outing with A&M Records.

Universal City The headquarter of the Universal Music
Music
GmbH is located in Berlin-Friedrichshain Universal Music
Music
Group Distribution is headquartered in Universal City.

Woodland Hills Universal Music
Music
Latin Entertainment
Entertainment
is headquartered in Woodland Hills.

New York City UMG has headquarters in New York City where Island Records, Def Jam Recordings, Republic Records, Decca Label Group, Spinefarm Records, and Geffen Records are headquartered.

Madrid Universal Music
Music
Spain
Spain
is headquartered in Madrid, Spain
Spain
in the neighborhood of Ciudad Lineal. Universal Music
Music
Spain
Spain
was founded in 1998 and today is important for both Spanish and Latin American artists, and generally, global Spanish language
Spanish language
music.

London Universal Music
Music
Group Global (formerly known as Universal Music
Music
Group International (UMGI)) is headquartered in Kensington, London. Global manages UMG's offices in most countries outside of North America.

Berlin Universal Music
Music
GmbH, the German subsidiary, is headquartered in Berlin. It moved in 2002 from Hamburg to the district Friedrichshain at the river Spree.

Warsaw Universal Music
Music
Group‘s Universal Music
Music
Polska is located in Warsaw.

Toronto Universal Music
Music
Group's Universal Music
Music
Canada is located in Toronto, in a former building that was the previous home to the Canadian subsidiary of MCA Records
MCA Records
since 1970.

Other locations Universal Music
Music
Group Nashville is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Universal Music
Music
Group's parent company, Vivendi, is headquartered in Paris, France.

Partnerships In 2018, UMG signed a licensing deal with Facebook
Facebook
to allow users to use UMG music across its properties including Facebook, Instagram and Oculus.[61]

Criticism and controversies CD price fixing Main article: CD price fixing Between 1995 and 2000, music companies were found to have used illegal marketing agreements such as minimum advertised pricing to artificially inflate prices of compact discs in order to end price wars by discounters such as Best Buy
Best Buy
and Target in the early 1990s.[62] A settlement in 2002 included the music publishers and distributors; Sony
Sony
Music, Warner Music, Bertelsmann Music
Music
Group, EMI
EMI
Music
Music
and Universal Music
Music
Group. In restitution for price fixing they agreed to pay a $67.4 million fine and distribute $75.7 million in CDs to public and non-profit groups but admitted no wrongdoing.[63] It is estimated suppliers/customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million and up to $5 per album which conflicts with proof of sale and purchase interests.[62]

Payola In May 2006, an investigation led by then New York Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, concluded with a determination that Universal Music Group bribed radio stations to play songs from Ashlee Simpson, Brian McKnight, Big Tymers, Nick Lachey, Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan
and other performers under Universal labels. The company paid $12 million to the state in settlement.[64]

YouTube In May 2007, UMG was accused of abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in order to quell criticism, by forcing YouTube
YouTube
to remove several videos which contained UMG's music. Eventually, UMG retracted its claims after being challenged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[65] In the same year, UMG was accused of using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
to indiscriminately remove content related to the artist Prince, most notably a twenty-nine-second home video in which a child danced to one of Prince's songs.[66] In April 2016, UMG had the audio muted of a video clip showing Katherine Jenkins singing the British national anthem. They claimed that "God Save the Queen" was a copyrighted song, and YouTube
YouTube
initially complied with this request, but later allowed the video to be viewed with the original audio track.[67]

Imeem In December 2007, UMG announced a deal with Imeem which allows users of the social network to listen to any track from Universal's catalogue for free with a portion of the advertising generated by the music being shared with the record label.[68] Two weeks after the deal was announced Michael Robertson speculated on the secret terms of the deal and argued that ultimately this was a bad deal for imeem. This speculation lead to a flame war on the Pho digital media email list as imeem representatives denied his claims and dismissed his theories as unfounded.[69] All traffic was redirected to MySpace after the company acquired Imeem on December 8, 2009.

Megaupload On December 9, 2011, Megaupload
Megaupload
published a music video titled: "The Mega Song", showing artists including Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys and will.i.am endorsing the company.[70] The music video was also uploaded to YouTube, but was removed following a takedown request by UMG. Megaupload
Megaupload
said that the video contained no infringing content, commenting: "we have signed agreements with every featured artist for this campaign".[71] Megaupload
Megaupload
requested an apology from UMG, and filed a lawsuit against the company in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, on December 12, 2011.[72][73] UMG denied that the takedown was ordered under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and said that the takedown was "pursuant to the UMG- YouTube
YouTube
agreement," which gives UMG "the right to block or remove user-posted videos through YouTube's CMS (Content Management System) based on a number of contractually specified criteria."[74] The video was subsequently returned to YouTube, with the reasons for the UMG takedown remaining unclear.[75] Lawyers for will.i.am initially claimed that he had never agreed to the project, and on December 12, he denied any involvement in the takedown notice.[76]

See also

Companies portal United States portal List of record labels List of RIAA member labels List of Universal Music
Music
Group artists

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Music
War Gets Dirtier". Portfolio.com. Retrieved December 16, 2011.

^ RIAA Label Artists & A-List Stars Endorse Megaupload
Megaupload
In New Song December 9, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2011.

^ Universal Censors Megaupload
Megaupload
Song, Gets Branded a "Rogue Label" December 10, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2011.

^ Megaupload
Megaupload
threatens to sue Universal over YouTube
YouTube
video The Guardian (London), December 13, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2011.

^ Megaupload
Megaupload
to Sue Universal, Joins Fight Against SOPA December 12, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2011.

^ UMG claims "right to block or remove" YouTube
YouTube
videos it doesn't own Ars Technica, December 16, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2011.

^ File-Sharing Company Sues Record Label, for a Change New York Times, December 13, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2011.

^ UMG, MegaUpload Case Gets Even Stranger; Will.i.am
Will.i.am
Says He Didn't Authorize A Takedown Techdirt. December 15, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011.

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