UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP ESTABLISHES THE MOTOWNUNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP FUND TO SUPPORT FORMER ARTISTS
R&B Foundation to Administer GrantsTo Former Artists Signed to UMG Affiliated Labels
Santa Monica, California, November 6, 2001 - The Universal Music Group today announced the donation of a $2 million gift to the R&B Foundation for the establishment of the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund in order to provide grants for financial assistance to R&B recording artists who were formerly affiliated with UMG or any of its wholly owned labels.
One of the largest contributions ever made by a music company on behalf of its artists, the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund will be used for health, welfare and medical purposes for artists or their surviving spouses in the form of monetary grants. The grants will be determined and dispensed by a specific committee created by the R&B Foundation. The $2 million will become the “corpus” for the fund, which will generate monies for the needs of artists in perpetuity.
“The goal of the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund is to ensure that we can assist artists in need who were at any time associated with Universal's family of labels," said Zach Horowitz, President and COO of the Universal Music Group. “This will help raise the quality of their lives in recognition of their many contributions to our company and the world of music.
“The Universal Music Group, either by acquisition or internal development, includes historic recordings by artists released on some of the most important record labels of all times. We have chosen to incorporate ‘Motown’ as part of its name because of that label's symbolic importance. Motown was a beacon of hope for artists whose groundbreaking music found a way to break down barriers and prejudices. To us, the name ‘Motown/Universal Music Group Fund’ captures the spirit of this new program and will serve as a continuing beacon of hope for artists in need."
Jerry ('the Iceman') Butler, Chairman of the R&B Foundation's Board of Directors, stated, "This extraordinary endowment gift will enable the Foundation to continue for a long time its funding of financial assistance programs for needy R&B and Motown artists of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. These artists, who are now part of Universal's family of labels, will, I'm sure, deeply appreciate the generosity of Universal Music Group for making this donation to the R & B Foundation on their behalf, and for their benefit.
Recording artist Bonnie Raitt, one of the founders of the R&B Foundation, commented, "I'm very pleased that Universal has taken this substantial step to recognize their extraordinary family of Rhythm and Blues artists by establishing this financial assistance program. We look forward to working with them.”
Added Berry Gordy, Founder of Motown Records, “I am pleased that the Universal Music Group has stepped up with this very generous donation for the welfare of its great artists. Now, more than ever, it is evident that music has the power to heal and bring people together. I commend Universal for recognizing the importance of the R&B Foundation’s great work toward the benefit of artists.”
Jim Fifield, Vice Chairman of the R&B Foundation, commented, “I couldn’t be more pleased with the $2 million contribution by the Universal Music Group. They have set a new standard in the industry for giving and recognizing the need for assistance for artists.”
Among the classic labels affiliated with the Universal Music Group are A&M Records, ABC Dot, ABC Paramount, Argo, Blue Thumb, Cadet, Casablanca, Checker, Chess, Commodore, Coral, Decca, Def Jam, Def Soul, Duke, Dunhill, Geffen, Gordy, GRP Records, Interscope, Island, MCA, Mercury, Motown, Peacock, Polydor, Rare Earth, RSO, Soul, Tamla, Uni, Universal Records, and Verve, among others.
Universal Music Group is the world's leading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 63 countries around the world. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry's largest global music publishing operations.
Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, MCA Nashville, MCA Records, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Records, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world.
The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and UM3 (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, its division dedicated to strategy, business development, and management of new businesses in the online and advanced technology space.
Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.
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Those artists interested in applying for grants from the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund should contact the R&B Foundation, 1555 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036-1124 (202) 588-5566 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
November 6, 2001
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN JOHN CONYERS, JR. (D-Michigan)
Establishment of the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund
I was delighted to hear about the establishment of the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund to provide $2 million for the health care of musicians, to be administered by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
Because I count so many musicians among my friends, I unfortunately know that it’s no myth that many artists and their families lack money to pay for even basic health insurance. The money that Universal is donating will be used to help countless musicians in need, who live day-to-day without adequate health care.
Moreover, the fact that the Rhythm and Blues Foundation will handle the funds is critically important because it understands the special needs of those who have had a lifetime career in music. Violinists can suffer from placing their instrument on only one shoulder for decades. Singers often catch laryngitis – and even worse conditions if they try to sing through it. Any kind of artist can fall to repetitive stress injuries after countless hours of practicing, and it goes without saying that listening to loud music night after night and year after year can cause musicians to suffer from hearing loss. These are the risks from a music career that most people don’t think about and that make Universal’s gift so very important for artists and their families.
That’s why I’m so excited about the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund. It really addresses a dire need in the music community. I sincerely hope this is the first step toward a better quality of life for artists and that others will follow the lead of this important initiative.