About 19 months after rolling out the revamped Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, Universal Music Group (UMG) has officially acquired mtheory’s label division and debuted “Virgin Music Group.”
The leading record label unveiled the partial buyout of mtheory (not to be confused with San Diego’s M-Theory Music record shop) and the arrival of Virgin Music Group via a formal release today. On the former front, Universal Music made clear that the purchase only encompasses mtheory’s artist partnerships business; the 12-year-old company’s “Manager Services business is not part of the transaction and will remain wholly independent,” UMG emphasized.
But mtheory co-founders JT Myers and Nat Pastor are set to serve as Virgin Music Group’s co-CEOs, specifically spearheading the “expansion of UMG’s independent music capabilities across all of its business units and regions.” Additionally, the former Warner Music Group (WMG) higher-ups will assist Universal Music with its “corporate business development activities,” execs relayed.
Virgin Music Group will house the initially mentioned Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, the noted portion of mtheory, and Ingrooves (which UMG bought in 2019). And under the newly detailed structure, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services’ stateside operation is poised to “evolve from a division of Capitol Music Group to a standalone company serving all UMG’s U.S. labels and partners,” the Big Three label indicated.
Next, regarding the multifaceted development’s organizational nuances, nearly six-year mtheory Nashville president Cameo Carlson has been elevated to CEO of the (wholly independent, once again) mtheory manager services business. Plus, mtheory co-founder Jon McMillan, for his part, is now CEO of “producer royalty administration platform” MPRS Global, which is being spun off from mtheory proper.
Addressing the announcement in a statement, UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge said: “In order to remain the best home for artists and entrepreneurs we must drive innovation in our own businesses—offering new and high-quality resources for artists from all corners of the world while continuing to lead the industry’s transformation.
“Nat and JT’s track record for creating forward-thinking partnerships with artists that are built on a foundation of trust, creativity and business acumen is exactly the kind of leadership we want for the new Virgin Music Group division.”
Virgin Music Group’s launch comes about six months after Sony Music Entertainment (SME) received government approval for its AWAL buyout.
Meanwhile, Warner Music debuted a label group called 300 Elektra Entertainment, billed as a “supergroup of iconic, indie-spirited brands,” in June. July then saw WMG adopt the comparatively artist-friendly “fan-powered” royalty model on SoundCloud.