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As I.B. Bad put it in a recent column, Weiss has the record business in his blood.
BARRY WEISS STEPS DOWN
FROM TOP POST AT UMG EAST
We Don't Yet Know Where He's Going, but
Here's a Look Back at Where He's Been

Barry Weiss stepped down on Tuesday as Chairman/CEO of UMG’s East Coast Label Group, comprising Island Def Jam and Republic. The move was made in the context of a major restructuring of Universal's East Coast operation. Weiss had held the job since March 2011.

His exit from the top East Coast post at Universal ends months of industry speculation. Although Weiss had about a year left on his contract, insiders believed he might leave sooner and was thought to be exploring several options, according to I.B. Bad. One of these options, according to Tuesday's announcement, is another role within the UMG infrastructure.

The Weiss regime at UMG effectively got underway in June 2011 with the consolidation of the back-office staffs of Republic (then referred to as Universal Motown Republic) and IDJ. The new centralized structure was accompanied by "a mandate to dramatically increase artist investments across its labels." At that point, Lipman's Universal Republic absorbed most of Universal Motown's acts, including Cash Money and SRC, while IDJ was given the Motown imprint.

Weiss came to Universal from RCA/Jive Label Group, where he was Chairman/CEO.

As I.B. Bad put it in a recent column, Weiss has the record business in his blood. The Woodbury, Long Island, native is the son of the late Hy Weiss, founder of Old Town Records, an indie doo-wop label launched in the late '50s, releasing music by such legendary N.Y. streetcorner crooners as The Harptones, The Earls, The Cleftones and The Fiestas. Hy named yet another label, Barry Records, after his son, who would hang around his dad's midtown office, where he first ran into the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, Isaac Hayes and Tiny Tim.

While attending Cornell University, Barry took his first job in the record business, doing AOR and College Radio promotion for Infinity Records, working the WATS line in his dorm room, talking to radio PDs all over the country. He also worked for Ariola America, a subsidiary of Arista, whose roster included artists like Dutch rocker Herman Brood and Swiss heavy metal band Krokus.

Weiss has acknowledged that he owes a great deal of his career to a pair of legendary Clives—Zomba founder Clive Calder, who first hired him 28 years ago fresh out of Cornell, and Clive Davis, whom he eventually succeeded as head of RCA and Jive Music Groups. Then-Sony Music Entertainment CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz appointed him to the RCA/Jive post in 2008.

Weiss joined the newly launched Jive Records in 1982, as Manager of Artist Development, shepherding the first release by A Flock of Seagulls, and later was an integral part of establishing Jive as a home for the burgeoning rap stars such as A Tribe Called Quest, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Kool Moe Dee, Whodini and Too Short.

Weiss earned an MBA at NYU, just before he was named President of Jive/Silvertone/Verity Records in 1995. Five years later, he presided over the release of NSYNC’s No Strings Attached, which sold a still-record 2.4 million copies in its first week. Thanks in large part to his shepherding the success of NSYNC, Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys, when BMG acquired the Zomba Music Group in 2002, as Calder’s right-hand man, Weiss was appointed President/CEO to the renamed Zomba Label Group, which included LaFace Records and So So Def.

In a statement accompanying the announcement of his chairmanship at RCA/Jive, Weiss shared a bit of his philosophy: "One of the most important lessons I picked up from my dad is, this business is about selling an artist to the consumer, and the key element is always the songs. He used to say, ‘A hit record is like a tennis ball in water.’ It always rises to the top."

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