In a surprising move, Universal Music Group has announced today that it is dissolving the Island Def Jam Music Group.
In addition to that, East Coast Label Group president and CEO Barry Weiss has stepped down from his position. According to the press release, Motown Records, Island Records and Def Jam Recordings will all once again operate as standalone imprints. In 1999, Island and Def Jam were consolidated into IDJ while Motown folded into the group in 2011.
Other shakeups include: Motown relocating to Los Angeles, with former label SVP Ethiopia Habtemariam promoted to president. Former Def Jam president Steve Bartels will now serve as CEO, while Island will continue to be helmed by David Massey.
In a statement, Lucian Grainge, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group said:
“At UMG, our labels are empowered to be entrepreneurial and take creative risks. By re-establishing Def Jam, Island and Motown as standalone 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.”
UMG also announced a number of exec hires and promotions, with IDJ A&R exec Karen Kwak appointed to the new position of executive vice president of A&R for U.S. recorded music, servicing all of UMG’s labels. Additionally, Def Jam named Dion “No I.D.” Wilson and Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua executive VPs and co-heads of A&R for the label.