UMG Disbands Island Def Jam

Labels will now run on separate legs; executive Barry Weiss steps down.

Universal Music Group announced Tuesday (April 1) that Island Def Jam will now run as two separate entities—Island and Def Jam—alongside Motown Records, reports Variety

Motown will also make Los Angeles its home base, to be led by the label's former SVP, Ethiopia Habtemariam. 

The shuffle comes on the heels of Island Def Jam president Barry Weiss stepping down. Weiss will continue to work with UMG and is hashing out an agreement for a "new venture" with the company. 

Additionally, UMG promoted IDJ A&R exec Karen Kwak to executive vice president of A&R and announced producer Dion "No I.D." Wilson and label vet Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua as EVPs and co-heads of A&R at Def Jam.

As a conglomerate, IDJMG housed the likes of Kanye West, Mariah Carey, 2 Chainz and Justin Bieber. Restructuring is a way to build the label giant's "uniquness" in the music market. "At UMG, our labels are empowered to be entrepreneurial and take creative risks," UMG CEO Lucian Grainge said in a statement. "By re-establishing Def Jam, Island and Motown as stand-alone labels within the UMG family, we're positioning them to recapture the uniqueness of their brands and serve artists with the singularity of vision, focus and creativity that was at the core of their original success."

Island and Def Jam Recordings blended into one one big company in 1999 and added Motown in 2011. 

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(Photo: Def Jam Recordings)

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