Universal Music Group is relaunching the Virgin music brand as a new artist and label services division: its latest arm focused on the independent sector.

For now, the relaunched brand will be operating in the US, Japan, UK, Germany and France as well as across Latin America. It’s a shakeup of sorts: in the US, UMG’s Caroline division will be renamed as Virgin Label & Artist Services, with its boss Jacqueline Saturn reporting to Capitol Music Group president and COO Michelle Jubelirer.

In France, the new group will also be “built from the foundations of Caroline France” with its current team, with the same dynamic at work in Germany and Japan.

In the UK, independent label executive Vanessa Higgins has been hired as MD of the new division, reporting into Universal Music UK boss David Joseph. Caroline International’s label services division is also being rebranded as part of the move.

One of the arguments put forward by the major label chiefs in their recent appearance at the UK’s streaming economics inquiry was that artists have more options than ever in 2021 for staying independent if they don’t fancy a major label deal. However, the acquisitions and investments being made by the majors shows their desire to take a key role in that DIY side of the industry.

Music Ally’s next Learn Live webinar will help you understand what’s required for artists to thrive in new international markets!

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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