Sir Richard Branson Blesses UMG’s Revamped ‘Virgin Music Label & Artist Services’

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Sir Richard Branson has given his blessing to Universal Music Group’s revamped “Virgin Music Label & Artist Services.”

Universal Music recently unveiled the Virgin Music Label & Artist Services division, which arrives nearly five decades after the Blackheath, London, native Richard Branson launched the original Virgin Records.

According to the Big Three record label’s announcement message, the newer of the music-focused Virgin endeavors will function as a “global network delivering premium and flexible artist and label services to the industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and independent talent worldwide.”

And to build upon the “rich cultural and musical legacy” of Virgin Records, which signed acts including David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and The Sex Pistols, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services has officially debuted “fully resourced regional hubs” throughout Latin America as well as in the five largest music markets (the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France).

Stateside, UMG’s Caroline Distribution (which Virgin Records founded as a record importer in 1983) has been renamed Virgin Music Label & Artist Services. The lengthy release proceeds to describe in detail the executive teams in the U.S. and at the other newly formed Virgin Music Label & Artist Services offices, and additional divisions yet “will launch in the coming months.”

As initially mentioned, the 70-year-old Richard Branson gave his blessing to the new Virgin Music venture, relaying in a statement: “I’m proud that half a century after we opened our first independent record shop in London, the Virgin Music name continues to represent the very best entrepreneurs, innovators, and artists from the world of music today.”

More broadly, Universal Music Group’s rolling out Virgin Music Label & Artist Services is just the latest in a long – and quick-growing – series of moves that appear designed to broaden earning potential and market presence ahead of a quick-approaching public offering.

Vivendi, which currently owns 80 percent of Universal Music, revealed earlier this week that the much-anticipated UMG stock listing will arrive by 2021’s end, besides indicating that its board is considering making “a distribution of 60% of UMG’s share capital to Vivendi shareholders.”

February has also seen Universal Music Publishing Group and Gibson announce a massive brand partnership in China, while the overarching Universal Music Group has launched a livestreaming platform (as well as an all-encompassing effort to find the next BTS) with Big Hit Entertainment.

Finally, UMG remains embroiled in a decidedly public dispute with Triller, and soon after removing its artists’ music from the app, the Santa Monica-headquartered label group expanded its TikTok partnership.