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"When you have executives as strong as Bartels, Massey and Ethiopia, you want to give them the flexibility to take creative bets and move quickly,”
——Michele Anthony

BREAKING NEWS: UMG RESTORES DEF JAM, MOTOWN AND ISLAND AS STANDALONES; IDJ DISSOLVED, WEISS STEPS DOWN

Bartels Upped to Def Jam CEO, Habtemariam Named President of Motown, Kwak Appointed EVP A&R Recorded Music for UMG U.S.
UMG has just completed a reorganization of its East Coast recorded music operations that re-establishes Def Jam, Island and Motown as stand-alone labels. Each of the three labels will have its own management, marketing, publicity and A&R teams and re-emerge as distinct creative enterprises.

Some background: In 1999, Def Jam, Island and Motown were consolidated into the Island Def Jam Music Group. Effective immediately, IDJ will cease to exist, and the other label brands previously associated with IDJ will be realigned under the three flagship labels Def Jam, Island and Motown.

In making the announcement, UMG rule Lucian Grainge stated, "UMG is a collection of some of the greatest record labels the industry has ever seen. At the heart of these great companies is the vision and creative instincts of a team of passionate professionals. At UMG, our labels are empowered to be entrepreneurial and take creative risks. By re-establishing Def Jam, Island and Motown as stand-alone labels within the UMG family, we’re positioning them to recapture the uniqueness of their brands and serve artists with the singularity of vision, focus and creativity that was at the core of their original success."

Def Jam will be led by Steve Bartels, who has been promoted to CEO of the label. Bartels was previously President/COO of IDJ. Bartels announced that Dion "No I.D." Wilson and Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua have been appointed EVPs and co-heads of A&R. Together, the team will focus on furthering Def Jam’s legacy as a label that has a profound impact on popular culture, in the words of the announcement.

Motown SVP Ethiopia Habtemariam has been promoted to President of the label. Motown will return to L.A., the label’s longest-serving home, where it was based for nearly 25 years beginning in 1972. Motown will be a freestanding label within Steve Barnett’s Capitol Music Group, alongside Blue Note, Harvest and Virgin, among others. Since becoming a part of UMG, Capitol has been revitalized and expanded to become one of the industry’s most powerful creative centers. Habtemariam will also continue in her current role as EVP/ Head of Urban Music at UMPG.

Island, under David Massey, will expand its own marketing, publicity and A&R departments with a dedicated focus on rock, alternative and pop. Island will also have the ability to draw upon the promotional resources of Monte Lipman’s Republic.

Karen Kwak, EVP/Head of A&R for IDJ, has been promoted to the newly created position of EVP A&R, U.S. Recorded Music, serving all of UMG’s labels in the U.S.

"When you have executives as strong as Bartels, Massey and Ethiopia, you want to give them the flexibility to take creative bets and move quickly," UMG EVP Michele Anthony tells HITS. "It’s my job to work with Boyd and Lucian and all of UMG’s label heads to provide the support and framework for them to do just that."

With the transition of IDJ into three stand-alone labels, East Coast Label Group Chairman/CEO Barry Weiss has decided to step down from his current position in order to enter into discussions with UMG about a new venture together.

"Barry is a terrific music executive who led our East Coast labels during a critical time of transition," Grainge said of one of his earliest hires. "I can’t say enough about his contributions to our labels or to thank him enough. He has positioned Def Jam, Island, Motown and Republic for new levels of growth."

"Barry is a smart and creative music executive, and I’m hopeful that we will continue to work together going forward," Anthony tells us.

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