Universal Music Germany has undergone a major restructuring designed to give a boost to local talent. At the heart of the revamp is the creation of separate units for domestic and international repert
Universal Music Germany has undergone a major restructuring designed to give a boost to local talent. At the heart of the revamp is the creation of separate units for domestic and international repertoire. The new divisions replace the Berlin-based affiliate's previous structure of the two stand-alone Polydor Island and Motor Urban DefJam label groups.
"This is an important milestone for Universal Music Germany," says Universal Music International chairman/CEO Jorgen Larsen, and acting chairman of Universal Music Germany. "The new organization is intended to provide the maximum focus and resources to find, sign and break a new generation of German talent, and to develop even further the careers of established artists who are already signed to us."
As a result of the changes, local acts previously signed to Motor Urban DefJam and Polydor Island are transferred to the new Domestic Repertoire Division (DRD), for which Tom Bohne takes the post as managing director. Bohne was previously managing director of the Polydor Island Group.
DRD will be responsible for the frontline business of domestic and German-speaking artists, such as Rammstein, Rosenstolz, Sportfreunde Stiller and Jeanette. It will be grouped into four genre-specific specialist teams for pop/mainstream, rock/alternative, hip hop/R&B, and dance. Each units will have its own A&R, marketing and promotion functions.
The new International Repertoire Division (IRD) will market all International repertoire. This division, helmed by Thorsten Koenig, previously GM of Motor Music, will be subdivided into three fully-resourced marketing units to accommodate non-German repertoire.
At the same time, Motor Urban DefJam managing director Petra Husemann has exited. Husemann is the wife of Tim Renner, who quit as chairman/CEO of the German affiliate in January after clashing with Larsen. Husemann was promoted to her most recent post in January 2003, in a realignment orchestrated under Renner.
When Renner departed, he suggested that Larsen wanted to reduce the company's local roster. Larsen admitted that there was to be a reassessment of the company's local A&R, but denied Universal would stop signing and developing local acts.
As previously reported, Joachim Kirschstein, managing director of Universal Strategic Marketing (USM), has also left the company. At USM, Christopher Gersten is upped from GM to fill the void. A new business unit will be formed as part of this division's reorganization.
"The German music industry must urgently regain its ability to create and establish local acts if it is to turn today's difficult environment into future growth and creativity," adds Larsen, to whom both Bohne and Koenig report. "Universal Music intends to play a leading role in that effort." The changes, he says, "represent an important step in the right direction."
According to the company, no changes will be made at Koch Universal or the Universal Classics & Jazz divisions.