Universal Music has announced the launch of the Virgin EMI label in the UK, combining Mercury Records and Virgin Records into one entity overseas. Virgin EMI will incorporate the executive staffs and artists of Mercury Records, including the Island Def Jam Music Group, though Virgin and EMI will each have their own A&R and marketing department. This move also helps keep the classic EMI name alive following the UMG acquisition of the company.
Universal Music UK Chairman/CEO David Joseph says, "Virgin EMI will be a creative powerhouse for the UK music industry. It has an exceptionally strong A&R line-up, with sensational domestic and international artists, combined with the ethos which has served the company so well over the past 40 years."
Virgin EMI Records will be led by Ted Cockle, who joined Virgin as President in January from sister label Island. He says, "Having filled the top two positions in the albums chart this month for the first time since the Spice Girls and TheVerve did it in 1998, Virgin is already feeling ready to compete at the very highest level. In the labels 40th year, to have this incredible line-up of British artists and US repertoire of such pedigree it feels like Virgin EMI will have everything in place to help the very best talent flourish fully."
After seven years as Mercury's Managing Director, Jason Iley is setting up an international marketing and management venture and will continue to work closely with Universal Music on some projects.