And Then, This: Motown Gets Gutted; Most Staffers Let Go

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Universal Music Group is now gutting its Motown label, and folding the imprint and roster into various sister label groups.

Radio-focused All Access pointed to a near-complete elimination of the Motown staff, and a folding of the imprint into Island Def Jam Music Group.  The report also pointed to the migration of Motown sublabels Cash Money and SRC into Universal Republic.

That fits neatly into information from other sources, who have been pointing to a ‘de-East Coastification’ process at UMG for months.  That includes the elimination and consolidation of various units, which is now unfolding before our very eyes.

Of course, Motown is an incredibly-powerful name, so the imprint will remain.  But in business terms, this is either getting eliminated or massively reduced.  Meanwhile, UMG umbrella units Universal Motown Republic Group and Island Def Jam Music Group have consolidated a number of backend functions to reduce redundencies and overhead, according to information confirmed by the company.

Barry Weiss, chairman and CEO of the Universal Motown Republic Group (UMRG) and Island Def Jam Music Group (IDJMG), confirmed the developments.  “In an effort to better serve our artists and business partners, UMRG and IDJMG are reallocating resources to achieve greater efficiencies,” Weiss offered.  “While this will unfortunately result in some redundancy, it will allow for increased expenditures on the creative front across our labels, with particular plans to double our A&R investment at Universal Motown [Republic Group].”

In terms of personel, staffers either lost – and lost big – or got promoted.  All Access offered a detailed list of those let go, while Weiss promoted others.  The upped list includes Steve Gawley, now EVP of Business and Legal Affairs for the consolidated umbrella labels.  Geoge Marolda has been promoted to CFO of the same group, with both reporting directly into Weiss.

Now, the question is what happens to former Motown ruler Sylvia Rhone.  The incoming guard at UMG has been pushing Rhone from power, though somehow ‘delicate’ has shifted to ‘totally blatant’.  Rhone is apparently still negotiating to operate a smaller sub-label or imprint.  But sources continue to insist that Rhone will be effectively removed from the power-making brass in the end – snazzy-sounding imprint or otherwise.

More details as they emerge.