UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP LAUNCHES VIRGIN MUSIC GROUP
NEW GLOBAL DIVISION UNITES UMG’S LEADING LABEL & ARTIST SERVICES BUSINESSES, INCLUDING VIRGIN AND INGROOVES, UNDER UNIFIED LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGY
JT MYERS AND NAT PASTOR, INNOVATIVE ENTREPRENEURS AND FOUNDERS OF MTHEORY, NAMED CO-CEOS OF NEW GLOBAL DIVISION
SANTA MONICA, 13 SEPTEMBER 2022 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced the launch of the Virgin Music Group, a new global division that will unify UMG’s industry-leading artist services businesses under the leadership of music entrepreneurs and mtheory founders JT Myers and Nat Pastor as Co-CEOs, effective immediately.
In their new role, Myers and Pastor will lead the expansion of UMG’s independent music capabilities across all of its business units and regions, reporting to UMG Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge. The new division will include:
Virgin Music Label & Artist Services. Launched in 2021, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services is a network of regional hubs strategically positioned in the world’s leading music markets to deliver premium artist and label services to the industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and independent talent. Virgin Music Label & Artist Services has operations in the U.S., Japan, U.K., Germany and across Central Europe, France, Côte d’Ivoire (servicing African markets and talent), Australia & New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Western Balkans & Serbia and across Latin America & Iberia, including offices in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Portugal.
Ingrooves Music Group. Acquired by UMG in 2019, Ingrooves is a leader in music distribution, marketing and technology that empowers labels and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and thrive in the global music industry. Ingrooves’ comprehensive suite of offerings includes marketing strategy, insights and analytics, rights management, advertising, royalty accounting, video monetization and music licensing, all accessible through an intuitive client platform. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Ingrooves operates globally and has offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
mtheory Artist Partnerships. UMG has acquired mtheory’s bespoke label division, mtheory Artist Partnerships. mtheory’s Manager Services business is not part of the transaction and will remain wholly independent. The label creates aligned, equitable partnerships with artists, and employs an innovative global marketing approach to deliver outsized results, including more than 80 Gold and Platinum certifications in 23 countries worldwide. mtheory Artist Partnerships was the team behind Major Lazer’s Award-winning single “Lean On,” the number No. 1 most streamed track of all time, which was also the first fully independent track to be certified Diamond by the RIAA, and the first fully independent track to reach No. 1 on the U.S. Top 40 radio chart.
Effective immediately, all Virgin Music Label and Artist Services regional hubs will become part of the Virgin Music Group, operating under a unified strategy while still leveraging the local A&R expertise and creative networks in their respective countries. This includes Virgin Music Label & Artist Services in the U.S., which will evolve from a division of Capitol Music Group to a standalone company serving all UMG’s U.S. labels and partners.
In making the announcement, Grainge said, “In order to remain the best home for artists and entrepreneurs we must drive innovation in our own businesses—offering new and high-quality resources for artists from all corners of the world while continuing to lead the industry’s transformation. Nat and JT’s track record for creating forward-thinking partnerships with artists that are built on a foundation of trust, creativity and business acumen is exactly the kind of leadership we want for the new Virgin Music Group division. Together with our frontline labels and global footprint, Virgin Music Group offers artists unmatched creative and commercial support.”
Boyd Muir, UMG’s EVP, CFO and President of Operations, said, “Expanding the community of artists, labels and entrepreneurs with whom we work presents a significant opportunity for us, strategically complementing our labels and leveraging UMG’s existing world-class infrastructure. Having worked with mtheory, I know that the vision for the growth of the industry that Nat and JT bring will be a great fit for UMG and our artists, today and in the future.”
Myers said, “mtheory was founded on the idea that we could transform the music industry by offering better, more aligned partnerships with artists. By bringing these incredible global teams and resources together, we have the opportunity to turbo-charge that vision, and deliver even more value to artists, labels and music entrepreneurs.”
Pastor said, “We are so thankful to Sir Lucian and Boyd for entrusting us with the iconic Virgin Music brand, one of the most successful independent labels in the industry’s history, as well as Ingrooves, arguably the most sophisticated music technology platform in the world. JT and I have worked together for over 20 years, and we’re thrilled to continue our journey to transform the music industry together, along with the Ingrooves, mtheory and Virgin teams.”
Building on their experience advising mtheory clients, music industry entrepreneurs, and large enterprises on strategic initiatives and music transactions, Myers and Pastor will also support UMG’s corporate business development activities.
mtheory’s Manager Services business will remain fully independent, under the leadership of newly appointed CEO Cameo Carlson. In addition, and as part of the transaction, mtheory will spin out its MPRS Global producer royalty administration platform, of which mtheory Co-Founder Jon McMillan will become CEO.
Prior to co-founding mtheory in 2010, both Pastor and Myers held senior strategy and corporate development roles at Warner Music Group.
About Universal Music Group
At Universal Music Group, we exist to shape culture through the power of artistry. UMG is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content. Featuring the most comprehensive catalogue of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms, and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. For more information, visit www.universalmusic.com.