New York, New York, January 11, 2002 — In a move which underscores their shared commitment to expanding the marketplace for new music, Universal Records and pioneering executives Tony Brown and Tim DuBois today announced the formation of Universal South, Nashville’s first full service, major start-up label in over a decade. In launching Universal South, Brown, who serves as President of MCA Nashville, will resign his present duties to focus solely on developing the burgeoning label with DuBois, former President of Arista Nashville.

Operating as a joint venture between Brown, DuBois and New York-based Universal Records, Universal South will not be limited to any one genre of music and will receive marketing, sales, promotion and publicity support services from Universal.

“Tony’s remarkable achievements at MCA and Tim’s unprecedented success in creating Arista Nashville clearly define creative leadership at its very best,” stated Doug Morris, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group and founder of Universal Records. “Their determination, talent and passion for music have not only defined their extraordinary careers, but have given form to the careers of countless superstar artists. Tony and Tim are true pioneers in every sense of the word; who else would start a new label when so many on Music Row are sadly closing. We are thrilled to be working with them on this exciting new venture and have no doubt that together, they will make a formidable and very successful team.”

“Both Tony and Tim possess the rare vision and genius to not only makegreat records, but to build a home for truly inventive, highly creative artists,” added Monte Lipman, President of Universal Records. “We are delighted to join forces with them and to be associated with such wonderful talent.”

“I am eager to be moving into the next phase of my career and doing it alongside Tim and the entire Universal South team,” commented Brown. “Working with Bruce Hinton (Chairman, MCA Nashville) and everyone at MCA has been, without a doubt, one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career. I’ve formed close working relationships with people whom I have grown to love and respect. I now look forward to the next set of challenges, and I am very grateful to Doug and Zach Horowitz (President & COO, Universal Music Group) for the privilege to start Universal South.”

“The unique opportunity to partner with Tony in establishing a new leader in the industry is enormously exciting to me,” remarked DuBois. “What attracted us most to Universal Records was the great enthusiasm, aggressive energy and respect for our vision that Monte and his staff displayed. With their help we plan to build a company that will attract talent not only from mainstream country but other genres as well—one with a small company feel but big company muscle.”

Brown, who joined MCA Nashville in 1984 and was named President of the label in 1993, helped build the company into an industry powerhouse and in the process, inspired and nurtured many of today’s top musical artists, including Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Marty Stuart, and Rodney Crowell, among many others. Earlier this year, both Billboard and Radio & Records named MCA Nashville Label of the Decade for consistently topping the industry in country sales, an achievement which stemmed largely from its diverse roster of talent. Moreover, as one of the industry’s most prolific producers, album sales of his projects have exceeded the 100 million mark with artists such as Wynonna, Reba McEntire, George Strait, Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood and Jimmy Buffet, and he has garnered a staggering 100 #1 singles. Collectively, his many industry honors include over a dozen Grammy, CMA, ACM and American Music Awards.

Mainstream success aside, Brown is perhaps best known as one of country music’s most innovative and forward thinking A&R sources, respected industry-wide for signing genre bending artists such as Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Kelly Willis and The Mavericks.

Launching Arista Nashville in 1989, Tim DuBois quickly turned the new label into one of the most successful in country music history, selling more than 75 million records worldwide within a mere four years. As President of Arista Nashville, DuBois discovered and developed such superstar artists as Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio, Pam Tillis, Brad Paisley, BlackHawk, BR5-49, The Tractors, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Lee Roy Parnell and Phil Vassar, among many others. DuBois was also the first to recognize the growing importance of Austin as a source of dynamic new talent and launched Arista Austin with critically acclaimed artist Robert Earl Keen. As a songwriter, DuBois has had five number one country hits and has received numerous awards, including CMA song of the Year in 1992 (“When I Call Your Name” (w/ Vince Gill)). Other artists who have recorded his songs include Alabama, Restless Heart, Jerry Reed, Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, Glen Campbell and Ricky Scaggs.

Universal South’s initial releases include such critically acclaimed artists as: Allison Moorer, whose performance of the theme song for The Horse Whisperer earned her an Oscar nomination; Dean Miller (son of the late Roger Miller); Bering Strait, a group of seven young musicians from Russia who are the subject of the just completed full-length documentary film, “The Ballad of Bering Strait,” scheduled for theatrical release later this year (directed by the award-winning Nina Gilden Seavey); and Holly Lamar, who co-wrote the #1 smash hit “Breathe” for Faith Hill, and whose debut album is being produced by Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill).

Universal Records is a division of Universal Music Group, the world’sleading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 63countries 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.