Universal Music UK has announced the launch of Virgin EMI Records – a new label which brings together Virgin Records and Mercury Records under one name.
It will sit alongside Island, Polydor and Decca as one of Universal Music UK’s frontline labels, while Mercury effectively becomes an imprint.
A fifth company will join the line-up in April when the Capitol label opens its doors in the UK for the first time.
Mercury executives will now transfer to Virgin EMI Records, which will be home to international repertoire from Island Def Jam as well as Virgin US.
It will operate two distinct A&R and marketing streams - Virgin and EMI, a move which Universal said ‘secures the future of the historic EMI name in the UK’.
Virgin EMI Records will be led by Ted Cockle, who joined Virgin as President in January from sister label Island.
The label launches with a roster which includes Emeli Sandé and Jake Bugg - as well as long-time Mercury artists Sir Elton John, Rihanna, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Arcade Fire, Chase & Status and Justin Bieber.
Virgin’s A&R team has releases lined up this year from Scottish trio Chvrches as well as established names Laura Marling and Empire Of The Sun from a roster which also includes Professor Green and Swedish House Mafia.
The new set-up also means Virgin, which became part of Universal Music following UMG's acquisition of EMI last year, will return to being a full-service record company.
Universal Music UK Chairman & CEO David Joseph said: “Virgin EMI will be a creative powerhouse for the UK music industry. It has an exceptionally strong A&R line-up, with sensational domestic and international artists, combined with the ethos which has served the company so well over the past 40 years.”
Ted Cockle said: "Having filled the top two positions in the albums chart this month for the first time since the Spice Girls and The Verve did it in 1998, Virgin is already feeling ready to compete at the very highest level. In the label's 40th year, to have this incredible line-up of British artists and US repertoire of such pedigree it feels like Virgin EMI will have everything in place to help the very best talent flourish fully."