Warner Music France Unveils New Structure

Dual label set up abandoned.

Warner Music France is completing a restructuring that will see the company abandon its dual stand-alone label structure.

With immediate effect, WEA Music and EastWest France's existence as two stand-alone entities has been scrapped. Until now, both divisions developed international and local repertoire.

Thierry Chassagne, who was appointed president of the company in May, tells Billboard.biz that all international repertoire -- with an emphasis on U.S. releases -- will go through a structure named WEA. Local repertoire previously signed to WEA Music and EastWest as well as new local signings will now be handled by a new label called Warner. Both WEA and Warner will have their own marketing and promotion teams.

"I had to make some radical decisions," says Chassagne. "The dual label structure was no longer the right set up. By focusing on international repertoire on one side and domestic on the other, we can make the best of our strengths."

WEA will be headed by Alain Veille. He was previously managing director of WEA France. Veille will also be in charge of the special marketing unit as well as the export department.

Rose-Helene Deplasse takes the reins at Warner as managing director. She was previously promotions director at Epic France.

"Our goal is to develop our local roster and maximize our international repertoire," says Chassagne. "We have smaller teams but with a commando spirit."

Chassagne confirms that former EastWest managing director Michael Wijnen and Warner Music France's two director generals, Michel de Souza and Eric Viard, have left the company. He says 48 jobs have been shed in the restructuring process, reducing the firm's head count to 135.

In addition, Up Music, the former joint-venture between Chassagne and Warner Music France, will become a wholly-owned Warner Music label, with emphasis on urban music. Anthony Lamond has been appointed managing director of Up Music. He previously worked at Epic and Universal.

Local repertoire label Tot Ou Tard, a 50-50 joint-venture between Vincent Frerebeau and Warner, remains unaffected by the changes.

All the company's top management now reports directly to Paris-based Chassagne.

Chassagne says that some artists have been handed back their contracts, such as Ophelie Winter or Francis Lalanne, but that all the major local artists remain signed to the company, including MC Solaar and Helene Segara.