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Danny Bennett (photo by Kelsey Bennett)

UMG DOES IT
WITH VERVE

UMG has confirmed the formation of the Verve Label Group and the appointment of Danny Bennett to lead the new entity as President/CEO. Bennett, a Grammy- and Emmy-winning producer, is the longtime manager of his dad, Tony Bennett.

Verve will relocate to New York, where the label was originally founded in 1956 by Norman Granz as home to jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Stan Getz and Billie Holiday. Before becoming President of Frank Sinatra’s newly formed Reprise Records in 1960, Mo Ostin served as Verve’s Controller.

Bennett will report to Universal EVP Michele Anthony. Bennett and Dickon Stainer, President and CEO of Global Classics for UMG, will soon announce a President of VLG’s classical labels.

David Foster, who led the Verve label since 2012, has decided to return full-time to producing. He’s currently producing albums for UMG artists Carla Bruni and Jordan Smith

The Verve Label Group will comprise Verve and UMG’s U.S. classical music labels Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Decca Classics, Mercury Classics and distributed label ECM. Universal says the new structure evidences the company’s continuing investment in jazz and classical, and its “unwavering commitment to building upon its rich history in both genres, while also opening up new opportunities, developing global cross-over artists and delivering innovative jazz and classical experiences to fans.” 

The jazz and classical labels will boast distinct A&R, marketing and promotion teams.

According to Anthony, the move makes “a strong statement about the high value we place on building on our robust jazz and classical repertoire. We are committed to growing our presence in these genres even further and creating crossover successes that deliver artists to new audiences around the world. I want to thank David for the immense creative impact he had at Verve. On behalf of everyone here at UMG, we look forward to recording many more hit records with David for years to come.”

Bennett is “indebted to David Foster for leading the iconic Verve label, and I look forward to working with him on many future productions. Additionally, I offer my profound appreciation to Lucian Grange and Michele Anthony for this amazing opportunity.”

“I have loved every minute working with Verve’s incredibly talented roster of artists and staff,” said Foster in his parting statement. “At the same time, during the last few months, as I thought about where I’m happiest, it’s in the recording studio working closely with artists on developing new material. I’m thrilled Danny is now at the helm of the Verve. The label couldn’t be in better hands, and I’m looking forward to working on many more projects together.”

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