By Mauro Orru


Universal Music Group NV--the music major behind the Weeknd, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift--has created a new division bringing its artist-services businesses under one roof, a move the company said would lead to more valuable partnerships with artists.

Universal said Tuesday that music entrepreneurs JT Myers and Nat Pastor would take the helm of the new Virgin Music Group division with immediate effect as co-chief executives.

The division will include Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, a network of regional hubs that launched in 2021; Ingrooves Music Group, which Universal acquired in 2019; and Mtheory Artist Partnerships, a label division that Messrs. Myers and Pastor co-founded in 2010.

"Mtheory was founded on the idea that we could transform the music industry by offering better, more aligned partnerships with artists," Mr. Myers said. "By bringing these incredible global teams and resources together, we have the opportunity to turbo-charge that vision, and deliver even more value to artists, labels and music entrepreneurs."

Universal said Mtheory's manager services business will remain independent and be steered by Cameo Carlson as chief executive. Jon McMillan will be chief executive of Mtheory's MPRS Global producer royalty administration platform, which the label will spin out.

Universal has sealed a series of catalog- and music-rights acquisitions in recent months as the value of royalty revenue from music rights has soared. Catalogs have sold for as much as 30 times their average annual royalties.

Frank Zappa's family trust sold his entire song catalog to Universal in June, handing it control of a vast archive of unreleased work from the late composer. Bob Dylan sold his songwriting catalog, which included 600 copyrights over the course of 60 years of music, to Universal in 2020 for between $300 million and $400 million.

"Expanding the community of artists, labels and entrepreneurs with whom we work presents a significant opportunity for us, strategically complementing our labels and leveraging UMG's existing world-class infrastructure," said Universal's Chief Financial Officer Boyd Muir.


Write to Mauro Orru at; @MauroOrru94


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 13, 2022 09:31 ET (13:31 GMT)

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