Universal Music Group Unveils Major Restructuring Initiative, Taps Republic and Interscope Geffen Heads for Bolstered Roles

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universal music group
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Universal Music Group head Lucian Grainge, who’s announced a major restructuring initiative. Photo Credit: UMG

A little over two weeks after confirming plans to make potentially far-reaching layoffs, Universal Music Group (UMG) has set in motion a major restructuring initiative.

UMG CEO Lucian Grainge unveiled the comprehensive realignment via an internally circulated memo, which Variety obtained. As laid out in this nearly 700-word message, the shift represents one component of an effort to “build upon the leadership team for the recorded music business of the future.”

From there, the 63-year-old dedicated several paragraphs to touting the professional achievements of and ostensibly friendly in-house competition between Republic’s Monte Lipman and Interscope Geffen’s John Janick.

“The competition within our own company in signing and developing artists is no accident,” penned London-born Grainge. “It’s by design. By creating a home for a variety of independent and competitive creative centers and the leaders that run them, we increase opportunities for growth and success.”

Moving past the remainder of Grainge’s description of this dynamic, the well-compensated UMG head proceeded to disclose the appointment of Janick and Lipman “to lead a broader part of our US recorded music business,” with the latter individual still based in New York, the former in Los Angeles.

“Under this new operating model,” continued Grainge, “Monte and John will support our label heads and help them build best-in-class teams… John will provide our labels including Blue Note, Capitol, Geffen, Interscope, Motown, Priority and Verve with unparalleled support, while Monte will do so for Def Jam, Island, Mercury and Republic.”

Beyond the overview and other general details – post-pivot, UMG’s labels will purportedly have “access to the talent and resources best able to support their rosters” while also maintaining their A&R independence, “unique identities, and entrepreneurial spirit” – Grainge indicated that “further announcements” are on the way.

“In the coming weeks,” he wrote, “John and Monte will be making further announcements about structure, resources and next-generation partnerships. These and other developments will also power some of the other initiatives I outlined in my New Year’s note, including super-fan and audience monetization, state-of-the-art D2C, e-commerce, branding and more.”

At the time of writing, Universal Music hadn’t yet penned a formal release about its retooled layout, with the Big Three label’s latter press entry relating instead to the much-publicized TikTok licensing showdown.

But a proper announcement will arrive sooner rather than later for UMG, with organizational specifics teed up for the remainder of February, as mentioned. Meanwhile, after these nuances enter the media spotlight, execs will presumably elaborate upon the matter when the company posts its 2023 financials on the 28th.