Universal Music Group has launched Virgin Music Group, a new global division that will unify the major’s artist services businesses.
The division will be led by mtheory founders JT Myers and Nat Pastor (pictured) as co-CEOs.
Virgin was relaunched last year as a global services division, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services (a major rebrand - and expansion - from UMG’s Caroline International).
In their new role, Myers and Pastor will lead the expansion of UMG’s independent music capabilities across all of its business units and regions, reporting to UMG chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge.
The new division will include:
Virgin Music Label & Artist Services - the network of regional hubs delivering artist and label services with operations in the US, Japan, UK, Germany and across Central Europe, France, Côte d'Ivoire (servicing African markets and talent), Australia & New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Western Balkans & Serbia; and across Latin America & Iberia, including offices in the US, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Portugal.
Ingrooves Music Group - acquired by UMG in 2019, the music distribution, marketing and technology company is headquartered in Los Angeles. It operates globally and has offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
mtheory Artist Partnerships - UMG has acquired mtheory’s bespoke label division, mtheory Artist Partnerships. mtheory’s Manager Services business is not part of the transaction and will remain wholly independent.
The mtheory label “creates aligned, equitable partnerships with artists, and employs an innovative global marketing approach to deliver outsized results, including more than 80 gold and platinum certifications in 23 countries worldwide”, according to a statement. mtheory Artist Partnerships was the team behind Major Lazer’s streaming smash Lean On.
In order to remain the best home for artists and entrepreneurs we must drive innovation in our own businesses
Sir Lucian Grainge
Effective immediately, all Virgin Music Label and Artist Services regional hubs will become part of the Virgin Music Group, operating under a unified strategy while drawing on local A&R expertise and creative networks. This includes Virgin Music Label & Artist Services in the US, which will evolve from a division of Capitol Music Group to a standalone company serving all UMG’s US labels and partners.
In making the announcement, Sir 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. Together with our frontline labels and global footprint, Virgin Music Group offers artists unmatched creative and commercial support.”
Boyd Muir, UMG’s EVP, CFO and president of operations, said: “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. Having worked with mtheory, I know that the vision for the growth of the industry that Nat and JT bring will be a great fit for UMG and our artists, today and in the future.”
JT Myers said: “mtheory was founded on the idea that we could transform the music industry by offering better, more aligned partnerships with artists. 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.”
Nat Pastor said: “We are so thankful to Sir Lucian and Boyd for entrusting us with the iconic Virgin Music brand, one of the most successful independent labels in the industry’s history, as well as Ingrooves, arguably the most sophisticated music technology platform in the world. JT and I have worked together for over 20 years, and we’re thrilled to continue our journey to transform the music industry together, along with the Ingrooves, mtheory and Virgin teams.”
Myers and Pastor will also support UMG’s corporate business development activities.
mtheory’s Manager Services business will remain fully independent, under the leadership of newly appointed CEO Cameo Carlson. In addition, and as part of the transaction, mtheory will spin out its MPRS Global producer royalty administration platform, of which mtheory co-founder Jon McMillan will become CEO.
Prior to co-founding mtheory in 2010, both Pastor and Myers held senior strategy and corporate development roles at Warner Music Group.