Universal Music UK has officially consolidated its EMI and Capitol sublabels, with the latter division operating as part of EMI moving forward.
Word of the Universal Music UK label consolidation just recently entered the media spotlight, and the development arrives about five years after Jo Charrington was promoted to co-president of Capitol Records UK.
Charrington was featured on Capitol UK’s executive roster when the label entered the scene in 2013. Capitol UK’s other president, Nick Raphael, held the position from the outset (becoming co-president with Charrington in 2017, of course) until exiting the company in January of 2022.
Now, as a result of this latest shakeup, Charrington and Rebecca Allen are set to serve as co-presidents of EMI. Upon relaunching Virgin EMI as EMI Records in June of 2020, Universal Music Group named more than 20-year company veteran Rebecca Allen president of the label.
Predictably, the involved parties had positive things to say about the label consolidation in formal statements, and EMI’s website touts UMG-signed acts including Halsey, The Killers, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift.
More broadly, the move represents the newest in a long line of international sublabel expansions and pivots from the Big Three.
November of 2020 saw Universal Music roll out 0207 Def Jam, “a new frontline label” that functions as the UK division of the overarching Def Jam Records. April of 2021 then brought the launch of Universal Arabic Music (with The Weeknd manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby at the helm), and UMG in 2021 also debuted Tomorrowland Music (in coordination with the namesake festival) as well as indie-focused Imperial Music (via Republic Records).
Meanwhile, Warner Music Group since 2020’s start has quietly established Warner Music branches in Turkey, India, Vietnam, and Russia – though the latter, consisting specifically of Atlantic Records Russia, has since been shuttered – besides Asiatic Records (an Asia-based hip-hop label), Whet Records (a Pan-Asian dance label), Piseiro-focused Brazilian label EH Brazil, and India’s Always Music Global, to name some.
And on the investment and acquisition side, the 300 Entertainment owner WMG has taken a multimillion-dollar stake in Arab heavyweight Rotana Music and purchased prominent African indie label Coleske.
Finally, regarding the majors’ sublabel moves, Sony Music has acquired Brazil’s Som Livre, invested in Latin label WK Records, and bought Kobalt’s AWAL. UK regulators formally signed off on the $430 million AWAL buyout yesterday, following an “in-depth” investigation. “Having carefully assessed the merger we found that it is not likely to affect competition in a way that will reduce the choice or quality of recorded music available or increase prices,” inquiry chair Margot Daly said of the decision.