Sydney, Australia, September 5, 2007 – In a significant commitment to A&R, Universal Music Group this month is launching two of music’s most celebrated brands – Island Records and Mercury Records – to become leading label homes for Australian artists.

The labels will be headed by two of the music industry’s most experienced talent executives. Michael Taylor joins Universal Music as General Manager, A&R, and Head of Island Records Australia. Peter Karpin is appointed General Manager, A&R, and Head of Mercury Records Australia as well as undertaking A&R activities with Universal Music Publishing.

The new Island and Mercury will sit alongside such acclaimed Universal Music Australia label partners as Modular and Dew Process, and will complement an artist roster which includes such popular acts as Wolfmother, Bernard Fanning, Powderfinger, Sarah Blasko, The Avalanches, Grinspoon, Spiderbait and Vanessa Amorosi.

Both Island and Mercury will be based in Sydney, and will be full-service A&R labels, signing and developing domestic artists. Their formation underscores Universal Music Group’s ongoing investment in the Australian music market, evidenced by the achievements of Dew Process and Modular.

Dew Process, a Brisbane-based label headed by Paul Piticco, is regarded as the most successful independent start-up in Australia in the last three years. Modular, based in Sydney, is headed by Steven Pavlovic, and earlier in 2007 was voted “Coolest Label in The World” by NME. This year, Modular recording act Wolfmother became the first Australian act in a quarter-century to receive a Grammy Award.

George Ash, Managing Director of Universal Music Australia, said: “This marks the start of a very exciting phase in our company’s A&R development. The opportunity to launch both Island and Mercury to complement our label partners Modular and Dew Process is unprecedented in the Australian market. Establishing these labels with Michael and Peter gives us not only great music people, but also proven entrepreneurs who will drive success for Australian artists globally.”

Peter Karpin was Managing Director of BMG Music Publishing Australia, where he signed Bernard Fanning, Powderfinger, Rogue Traders and songwriter Adam Reily, among others. Previously, Karpin held senior A&R posts at Mushroom Records and Sony Music in Australia and internationally, signing artists such as Sister to Sister, Tina Arena, Daryl Braithwaite, Basia, and Men at Work. He has also worked with a broad spectrum of artists from Leonard Cohen to the Clash to Julio Iglesias.

Peter Karpin added, “Throughout my career, A&R has always been my true passion. To be working in such a great music company as Universal with such a strong A&R focus is both exciting and a privilege. My vision for Mercury is to sign and develop great Australian talent to add to the label’s rich history of artist development and success.”

Michael Taylor comes to Universal Music from running City and State Music, his own management and consulting company in New York, associated with such artists as Delta Goodrem and the McClymonts Sisters. Earlier, Taylor held senior A&R positions at Epic Records U.S., Sony Music Australia and Maverick Records, working with artists including Delta, Something for Kate, CeCe Winans, Killing Heidi and Paulini. He produced Paulini’s No. 1 debut, “Angel Eyes.”

Michael Taylor said: “I am excited and honoured to be building Island Records in Australia, and carrying on the rich artistic tradition which has made Island a home for career artists and a leader in artist development. I believe Island Records Australia will be a successful label for Australian artists, both at home and abroad, by taking risks and by amplifying the artist’s vision. I look forward to being part of the Universal team and working alongside George Ash and the Universal crew.”

Max Hole, President, Asia-Pacific, Universal Music Group International, added: “There seems to be a new wave of exciting, distinctive artists emerging in Australia and connecting with music fans. We already have the basis of a very strong artist roster there that we can expand upon, and we’re convinced that we can also develop more world-beaters like Wolfmother and Vanessa Amorosi.”

The original Island Records, founded in 1962, has developed its premier reputation through the global popularity of such artists as U2, Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Roxy Music, Bad Company, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, P.J. Harvey, Pulp and more recently, the Killers and Amy Winehouse Mercury Records, launched in 1947, has a popular music heritage encompassing Jerry Lee Lewis, Rod Stewart, 10cc, Bon Jovi, Tears for Fears, Def Leppard and, more recently, Shania Twain, Fall Out Boy and Kanye West, among others.

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group is the world’s leading music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 77 countries. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, the industry’s largest global music publishing operations.

Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca Label Group, Deutsche Gramophone, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Geffen Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Philips, Polydor Records, Universal Music Latino, Universal Motown Records Group, Universal South 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 Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, a new media and technologies division, and Universal Music Mobile.

Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi, a global media and communications company.