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
Group. Since 2004, the
corporation is no longer related to the film studio Universal Studios.
1.1 Early history
1.3 2010s and
EMI integration and divisions reorganization
3 Multimedia content delivery
4.1 Los Angeles metropolitan area
4.1.1 Santa Monica
4.1.3 Universal City
4.1.4 Woodland Hills
4.2 New York City
4.8 Other locations
6 Criticism and controversies
6.1 CD price fixing
7 See also
9 External links
For history prior to 1996, see MCA Records
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 in September
1934. The Decca Record Co. Ltd. of England spun
American Decca off in 1939.
MCA Inc. merged with American
Decca in 1962.
In November 1990, Japanese multinational conglomerate Matsushita
Electric agreed to acquire MCA for
$6.59 billion. In 1995, Seagram acquired 80
percent of MCA from Matsushita. On December 9,
1996, the company was renamed Universal Studios, Inc., and
its music division was renamed Universal
Music Group; MCA Records
continued as a label within the Universal
Music Group. In May 1998,
PolyGram and merged it with Universal
Music Group in early 1999.
With the 2004 acquisition of
Universal Studios by
General Electric and
merging with GE's NBC, Universal
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 Group. In February 2006, the label became 100
percent owned by French media conglomerate
Vivendi when Vivendi
purchased the last 20 percent from Matsushita. On June 25, 2007,
Vivendi completed its €1.63 billion ($2.4 billion)
purchase of BMG
Music Publishing, after receiving European Union
regulatory approval, having announced the acquisition on September 6,
Doug Morris stepped down from his position as CEO on January 1, 2011.
Former chairman/CEO of Universal
Music International Lucian Grainge
was promoted to CEO of the company. Grainge later replaced him as
chairman on March 9, 2011. Morris became the next chairman
Entertainment on July 1, 2011. With
Grainge's appointment as CEO at UMG,
Max Hole was promoted to COO of
UMGI, effective July 1, 2010. 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.
In March 2011,
Barry Weiss became chairman and CEO of The Island Def
Music Group and Universal Republic Records. Both
companies were restructured under Weiss. In December 2011,
David Foster was named Chairman of Verve
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. Among the other companies that had
competed for the recorded music business was Warner
Music Group which
was reported to have made a $2 billion bid. IMPALA
opposed the merger. In March 2012, the European Union
opened an investigation into the acquisition The EU asked
rivals and consumer groups whether the deal would result in higher
prices and shut out competitors.
On September 21, 2012, the sale of
EMI to UMG was approved in Europe
and the United States by the
European Commission and Federal Trade
Commission respectively. 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 Classics, Virgin Classics, and EMI's
European regional labels to comply with this condition. UMG retained
The Beatles (formerly of Parlophone) and
Robbie Williams (formerly of
The Beatles catalogue was transferred to UMG's newly
Calderstone Productions , while Williams' catalogue was
transferred to Island Records.
EMI integration and divisions reorganization
Music Group completed their acquisition of
EMI on September
28, 2012. In November 2012, Steve Barnett was appointed
chairman and CEO of Capitol
Music Group. He formerly served as COO of
Columbia Records. In compliance the conditions of the
European Commission after purchase of EMI, Universal
Music Group sold
the Mute catalogue to the German-based
BMG Rights Management
BMG Rights Management on
December 22, 2012. Two months later, BMG acquired
Sanctuary Records for €50 million.
On November 8, 2012, Universal
Hewlett-Packard launched a
marketing operation that allows customers with an HP computer with HP
Music software to access music from Universal artists, as
well as exclusive content.
On February 8, 2013, Warner
Music Group acquired the
Group (consisting of
Parlophone Records, Chrysalis Records, EMI
Virgin Classics and
EMI Records' Belgian, Czech, Danish,
French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Slovak and Swedish divisions)
for $765 million (£487 million).
Later in February,
Entertainment acquired Universal's
European share in Now That's What I Call
Music for approximately
$60 million. Play It Again Sam acquired Co-Operative
Music for £500,000 in March 2013. With EMI's absorption
Music complete, its British operations will consist of
five label units: Island, Polydor, Decca, Virgin
Capitol. In April 2013, Universal
Music Greece (excluding
Nana Mouskouri) was sold to Victoras Antippas, who renamed the company
Edel AG acquired the MPS catalogue from
Universal in January 2014.
On March 20, 2013, UMG announced the worldwide extension of their
exclusive distribution deal with the Disney
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. The exclusive deal also saw UMG granted
unlimited access to all rights pertaining to Disney's 85-year back
catalog of soundtracks and albums.
On April 2, 2013, the gospel music divisions of
Motown Records and EMI
merged to form a new label called
Motown Gospel. In May
2013, Japanese company
SoftBank offered $8.5 billion to Vivendi
for the acquisition of UMG, but
Vivendi rejected it. As of
November 14, 2013, Universal
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.[better source needed]
On April 1, 2014, Universal
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." Under terms of the agreement
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. Barry Weiss, who
previously moved from
Music to head up Island Def Jam
Motown Records was incorporated into Island Def Jam, stepped
down from Universal Music. Additionally, as part of the changes to the
Motown Records would transfer to Los Angeles to become part of
Music Group and previous Vice President Ethiopia
Habtemariam was promoted to Label President for Motown
Republic Records would operate independently
while the Interscope Geffen A&M group remained
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 Publishing Group Chairman and CEO
Jody Gerson have oversight of the pair. On February 11,
Entertainment was relaunched as a film and television
unit of Universal
Music Group under David Blackman.
Red Bull GmbH
Red Bull GmbH combined StudioCanal, Universal
and Terra Mater Film Studios in a co-development partnership for
feature films in May 2017.
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.
dramatically structured similar to how a mixtape works with each
connecting to a song.
In December 2017, Universal
Music Group acquired the catalogues of
Stiff Records and ZTT Records, along with Perfect Songs Publishing,
from Trevor Horn's SPZ Group.
On July 30, 2018,
Vivendi announced it was selling half of Universal
On November 19, 2018, singer
Taylor Swift signed a new multi-album
deal with Universal
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
In February 2019, UMG fully acquired music distributor
Further information: List of Universal
Music Group labels
Multimedia content delivery
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.
On May 24, 2018,
Vevo announced that it would no longer continue
distributing videos to Vevo.com, instead opting to primarily focus on
Los Angeles metropolitan area
Music Publishing Headquarters in Santa Monica, California.
The UMG main global headquarters are located at 2220 Colorado Avenue
in Santa Monica. The
Santa Monica headquarters oversees its legal
obligations in the US and Canada. Interscope-Geffen-A&M and Verve
Music Group are based at its Los Angeles headquarters with John Janick
heading Interscope-Geffen-A&M and
David Foster heading
Verve. Def Jam, Island and
Republic Records has offices at
Santa Monica headquarters. The building is also home to Universal
Music Enterprises (UME). UMG chairman & CEO
Lucian Grainge works
out of the company's
Santa Monica headquarters. Universal Music
Publishing is headquartered at 2100 Colorado Avenue.
Music Group is headquartered at the Capitol Records
Building in Hollywood.
Tom Cage was assigned to the record label in 2004 after a short outing
with A&M Records.
The headquarter of the Universal
Music GmbH is located in
Music Group Distribution is headquartered in Universal City.
Entertainment is headquartered in Woodland
New York City
UMG has headquarters in New York City where Island Records, Def Jam
Recordings, Republic Records, Decca Label Group, Spinefarm Records,
Geffen Records are headquartered.
Spain is headquartered in Madrid,
Spain in the
neighborhood of Ciudad Lineal. Universal
Spain was founded in
1998 and today is important for both Spanish and Latin American
artists, and generally, global
Spanish language music.
Music Group Global (formerly known as Universal
International (UMGI)) is headquartered in Kensington, London. Global
manages UMG's offices in most countries outside of North America.
Music GmbH, the German subsidiary, is headquartered in
Berlin. It moved in 2002 from Hamburg to the district Friedrichshain
at the river Spree.
Music Group‘s Universal
Music Polska is located in Warsaw.
Music Group's Universal
Music Canada is located in Toronto,
in a former building that was the previous home to the Canadian
MCA Records since 1970.
Music Group Nashville is headquartered in Nashville,
Music Group's parent company, Vivendi, is
headquartered in Paris, France.
In 2018, UMG signed a licensing deal with
Facebook to allow users to
use UMG music across its properties including Facebook, Instagram and
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 and Target in the early
1990s. A settlement in 2002 included the music publishers
Sony Music, Warner Music, Bertelsmann
Music and Universal
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. 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.
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 and other performers
under Universal labels. The company paid $12 million to the state
In May 2007, UMG was accused of abusing the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act in order to quell criticism, by forcing
remove several videos which contained UMG's music. Eventually, UMG
retracted its claims after being challenged by the Electronic Frontier
Foundation. 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. 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 initially complied
with this request, but later allowed the video to be viewed with the
original audio track.
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. 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. All traffic was redirected to
MySpace after the company acquired
Imeem on December 8, 2009.
On December 9, 2011,
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. The music video
was also uploaded to YouTube, but was removed following a takedown
request by UMG.
Megaupload said that the video contained no infringing
content, commenting: "we have signed agreements with every featured
artist for this campaign".
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. 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-
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." The video was
subsequently returned to YouTube, with the reasons for the UMG
takedown remaining unclear. 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
United States portal
List of record labels
List of RIAA member labels
List of Universal
Music Group artists
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Media related to Universal
Music Group at Wikimedia Commons
UMG History page
Music Group's channel on YouTube
Links to related articles
List of owned assets
Arnaud de Puyfontaine
Music Publishing Group
Takeover Roc Nation
Cash Money Records
Big Machine Label Group
Def Jam Recordings
Show Dog-Universal Music
Tooth & Nail Records
Blue Note Records
Interscope GeffenA&M Records
Mercury Nashville Records
Lost Highway Records
Capitol Records Nashville
EMI Records Nashville
Verve Forecast Records
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Telecom Italia (23.94%)
Havas Group (40%)
Music industryCompanies andorganizationsRepresentatives
BMG Rights Management
Music Publishing Group
Independent: Concord Music
Independent UK record labels
Online music stores (iTunes Store)
Trans World Entertainment
Drum and bass
Album cover design
Artists and repertoire (A&R)
Professional audio store
Hip hop producer
Extended play (EP)/Mini album
Billboard Hot 100
Brasil Hot 100 Airplay
Canadian Hot 100
Irish Singles Chart
Italian Singles Chart
Entertainment Monitoring Africa
New Zealand Singles Chart
SNEP Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
Musica e dischi
Top of the Pops
The Country Network
The X Factor
Best-selling music artists
Highest-grossing concert tours
Global Recording Artist of the Year
A-side and B-side
Christian music industry
Korean hip hop
K-pop concerts held outside Asia
K-pop Cover Dance Festival
K-Pop World Festival
Eat Your Kimchi
M Countdown (Mnet)
Music Bank (KBS2)
Music on Top (JTBC)
Pops in Seoul (ArirangTV)
Show Champion (MBC Music)
Music Core (MBC)
The Show (SBS MTV)
Simply K-Pop (ArirangTV)
K-pop on the Billboard charts
K-pop Hot 100
Notable labelsand publishersAgencies
Big Hit Entertainment
Happy Face Entertainment
Blue Star Entertainment
Dream Tea Entertainment
Plan A Entertainment
Pony Canyon Korea
SBS Contents Hub
Music award showsMajor
Asia Artist Awards
Asia Song Festival
Golden Disc Awards
KBS Gayo Daechukje
MBC Gayo Daejejeon
Mnet 20's Choice Awards
SBS Gayo Daejeon
Music of Japan"Kimigayo" (National anthem)Traditional
Genres and styles
Saimon Ondo [ja]
Warabe Uta [ja]
Kazoe Uta [ja]
Ekaki Uta [ja]
Temari Uta [ja]
Post Meiji Restoration(1868-)
Commercial song [ja]
Gakusēka (student song) [ja]
Kōka (school song) [ja]
Ryōka (dormitory song) [ja]
Daigaku-Ōenka (cheering song of university) [ja]
Gunka (military song)
Radio calisthenics song
Shichōsonka (municipality song) [ja]
Ōenka (cheering song)
Virtual idol song [ja]
Japanese net label scene
Ethnic and regional
RIAJ Digital Track Chart (discontinued)
Record companies"Big 10" (as of 2013)
King Record Co.
List of musical artists from Japan
List of Japanese composers
Japanese hip hop
Japanese hip hop musicians
List of Japanese singers
Google Play Music
KKBox (the successor of
Oricon music store
Okinawa Actors School
BNF: cb142752902 (data)
ISNI: 0000 0001 0170 1990
WorldCat Identities (via