UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP CHAIRMAN AND CEO DOUG MORRIS RENEWS CONTRACT WITH UNIVERSAL MUSIC FOR FIVE MORE YEARS
UNIVERSAL MUSIC – NOW A BUSINESS UNIT OF VIVENDI UNIVERSAL – IS THE WORLD’S LARGEST RECORDED MUSIC COMPANY WITH 22 PERCENT OF GLOBAL MARKET SHARE
PARIS AND NEW YORK, December 12, 2000 – Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Vice Chairman of Vivendi Universal [NYSE: V], and Jean-Marie Messier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vivendi Universal, announced today that Universal Music Group’s Chairman and CEO Doug Morris has signed a new contract with Universal Music for five more years. Mr. Morris had two-and-a-half years remaining in his contract.
Commenting on Mr. Morris’ contract extension, Mr. Bronfman said: “Doug has been without a doubt the best music executive in the business. From the time he began his music career as a songwriter, Doug’s passion for music and spotting new talent is second-to-none. On the business side, he has started one of the industry’s most successful start-up record labels ever, Universal Records. He has re-energized Universal Music Group by attracting and recruiting some of the music industry’s most talented artists and executives.”
Mr. Messier added: “We are extremely delighted that Doug has chosen to extend his contract with Universal Music Group. Doug has done an outstanding job in creating the most successful music company in the world. With his proven track record and innate talent for recognizing music trends and artistic talent across many genres, I am confident he will continue to keep Universal Music ahead of the competition. We are very fortunate to have Doug on our Vivendi Universal team.”
Doug Morris, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group, said: “It has been a privilege to work with Edgar to implement his vision of building the finest music company in the world. I am very excited to be a part of the newly created Vivendi Universal. The combined company offers an incredible opportunity to expand our reach to a broader music audience through new aggregation and distribution channels. I look forward to working with Jean-Marie, Edgar and all the talented executives around the world to ensure that Vivendi Universal remains a leader in music.”
As Chairman and CEO of Universal Music, Mr. Morris is responsible for guiding the overall global activities of Universal Music Group. The world’s largest music company, Universal Music Group is the #1 company in 75 percent of the 63 countries where it operates. Universal Music Group develops, manufactures, markets, sells and distributes recorded music through a network of subsidiaries, joint ventures and licensees in 63 countries around the world. Universal Music Group also includes one of the world’s largest music publishing businesses.
Universal Music Group’s unparalleled roster of artists includes: Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, Andrea Bocelli, Bon Jovi, Boyzone, Eminem, Johnny Hallyday, Jay-Z, Elton John, Limp Bizkit, Luna Sea, 98 Degrees, Florent Pagny, Luciano Pavarotti, André Rieu, Sandy & Junior, Sting, S Club 7, Texas, Shania Twain, The Wallflowers and U2.
Universal Music Group consists of such record labels as Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Interscope Geffen A&M, Island Def Jam Music Group, Jimmy and Doug’s Farmclub.com, MCA Records, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Motown Record Company, 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.).
With the acquisition of PolyGram in 1998, Mr. Morris was directly involved with the restructuring and integration process to create the world’s largest music company. In 1999, Mr. Morris and Jimmy Iovine, Co-Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M established UMG’s Jimmy and Doug’s Farmclub.com, a uniquely integrated music company that includes record operations, online activities and television programming.
Mr. Morris first began his association with the MCA Music Entertainment Group (now Universal Music Group) in July 1995 by forming of a joint venture New York City-based full service record label. Upon Mr. Morris’ appointment as Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group in November 1995, the joint venture became wholly owned by Universal and was re-named Universal Records. Universal Records, under the direction of Mr. Morris, has become one of the industry’s most successful start-up record labels ever.
Throughout his career, Mr. Morris has worked with some of the most popular and influential artists of the past four decades, including The Rolling Stones, Phil Collins, Pete Townsend, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, Tori Amos, INXS, Erykah Badu, and Juvenile.
A graduate of Columbia University, Mr. Morris began his music career as a songwriter for music publisher Robert Mellin, Inc. His credits include writing the Chiffons’ 1966 hit “Sweet Talkin’ Guy” and producing such hit records as Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room.” Mr. Morris joined Laurie Records in 1965 as a writer and producer and was eventually named Vice President and General Manager. Later, he launched his own label, Big Tree Records, which was distributed and eventually acquired by Atlantic Records in 1978. At the time, Mr. Morris was named President of ATCO Records, beginning his 17-year association with Warner Music.
In 1980, Mr. Morris was appointed President of Atlantic Records and assumed the position of Co-Chairman and Co-CEO (with Ahmet Ertegun) of the Atlantic Recording Group in 1990. At Atlantic, Mr. Morris played a significant role in transforming Atlantic into the number one company within the Warner Music Group and a premier company within the music industry. As part of his strategy for growth, Mr. Morris revamped the division labels as completely autonomous units (each supporting a variety of imprints); established co-venture deals with such renowned labels as Interscope, Rhino, and Matador; and created Time Warner Audiobooks in partnership with Warner Books. He also established Atlantic Nashville, launched EastWest Records with Sylvia Rhone and created A*Vision Entertainment with Stuart Hersch.
Mr. Morris was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of Warner Music U.S. in 1994 and, soon after, was named Chairman. He began his association with the MCA Music Entertainment Group (now Universal Music Group) in July 1995.
Universal Music Group is a business unit of Vivendi Universal.
On December 8, 2000, Vivendi, Seagram and Canal+ officially closed a three-way strategic business combination to form Vivendi Universal. Vivendi Universal is a leading global media and communications company for the digital age, with five core communications units, including TV and Film, Publishing, Music, Internet and Telecoms, and an Environment unit that is the world’s leader in environmental services.