Def Jam Heavyweight Exec Steps Down, Island Def Jam Breaks Down

Def Jam Heavyweight Exec Steps Down, Island Def Jam Breaks Down

Universal Music Group is changing the industry after announcing Def Jam, Island and Motown Records will all be reorganized with Barry Weiss stepping down as chairman.

According to reports, the widespread change will see various key industry executives receiving new titles.

Effective immediately, Island Def Jam will cease to exist, according to a press release issued by UMG. Def Jam will run as its own unit with longtime executive Steve Bartels at the helm as CEO (he was previously president and COO). Island will continue to run under David Massey but will be adding its own marketing, publicity and A&R departments. Motown will move its base to Los Angeles where it will be headed by Ethiopia Habtemariam, who has been promoted from SVP of Motown Records to president of the label, and run out of the Capitol Music Group. (The Hollywood Reporter)

While not gone for good, Barry Weiss is expected to negotiate a new contract and position.

Weiss is leaving after Michele Anthony, a former colleague of his at Sony, was named executive vice president of US recorded music — a role that appeared to industry observers to elevate her above Weiss. Universal said that Weiss is stepping down from his job to enter discussions about creating a new joint venture with Universal boss Lucian Grainge. (NY Post)

With the new moves, Island Def Jam will now break down into Motown Records, Def Jam Records and Island Records.

The move will allow the labels to enhance their own marketing and publicity and A&R teams, according to Universal. Def Jam will be led by CEO Steve Bartels, who was previously president and COO of Island Def Jam. Ethiopia Habtemariam will become president of the Motown Records label, which will from New York and return to its prior home in Los Angeles. (NY Post)

Renowned hip-hop celebrities Hip-Hop and No I.D. will still hold high-ranking Def Jam positions.

In other A&R moves, Def Jam has appointed Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua and Dion “No I.D.” Wilson as executive vice presidents and co-heads of A&R. Habtemariam will also continue in her current role as EVP/ Head of Urban Music at Universal Music Publishing Group. (The Hollywood Reporter)



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