The BMG Label Group has launched a new hip-hop label, Battery Records.

Newly appointed BMG senior VP and GM Neil Levine, formerly EMI Capitol Music Group head of urban music, will head the imprint.

Battery will serve as an independent arm for RCA and Zomba, servicing hip-hop acts as well as oversee the development of several J and Jive Records' artists.

"Neil's experience and success in breaking new acts and building brands will be a tremendous asset as we develop and cultivate Battery Records," says Zomba's executive VP and GM Tom Carrabba.

A spokesperson for BMG says the new structure will give the company greater flexibility in signing and promoting hip-hop and artists will be less likely to suffer an exhausted marketing staff or an over-populated roster. To ensure this aim, Battery will limit its signings and hire its own small staff. However, the label will still share the distribution and marketing efforts of RED, Sony BMG's independent distribution arm, which primarily focuses on rock acts.

It is yet to be determined which Jive and J artists will be shifted to Battery, but these acts will have the opportunity to upstream to BMG.