U.S. arrangement in flux.

New York-based reggae label VP Records has shifted its Canadian distribution to Universal Music Canada from EMI music Canada.

In the United States, VP has self-distributed some releases; others have gone through Navarre and through a P&D deal with Atlantic Records. But VP co-owner Randy Chin says the company is involved in negotiations to consolidate its distribution under one umbrella by the end of May. Chin declines to specify which distributor VP is talking with, but sources say the label has discussed deals with Fontana, Alternative Distribution Alliance and Koch Entertainment, as well as Navarre.

VP's roster includes Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, Elephant Man, Lady Saw, TOK, Capleton, Beres Hammond, Morgan Heritage and I Wayne.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to work with Universal Music in Canada," Chin says. "Canada, with its extensive Caribbean population, is one of the leading markets in the world for reggae, and we are pleased to be with the leading distributor in that market."

"VP Records has been a cultural link between Caribbean music, and its ever-growing world of enthusiasts for 25 years," adds Universal Music Canada president/CEO Randy Lennox.

The first audio releases under the Universal Canada pact are the compilations "Soca Gold" (June 7) and "Reggae Gold" (June 21). Also due is the various-artist DVD "Live in Miami" (June 7).

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