David Massey to Exit Island Records In June
David Massey, the British-born label veteran who has led Island Records since February 2013, will be stepping down from his post as president/CEO of the Universal Music Group label when his contract expires in June, a source has confirmed to Billboard. Massey, 60, is expected to launch a new label and music company, for which he's already secured funding.
Rumors of Massey's possible exit and new venture were first reported by Hits. Massey could not be reached for comment, and a rep for Island declined to comment.
Massey was named president of Island Records in 2013, when the label was still part of the combined Island Def Jam Music Group, before it became a standalone company with the breakup of the UMG collective in April 2014. Over the past five years, he's shepherded the careers of Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Tove Lo and Mike Posner, among a slew of others. This year already, Island has landed No. 1 albums from Fall Out Boy (Mania) and Bon Jovi (This House Is Not For Sale, released in 2016), while Mendes' single "In My Blood" currently sits at No. 31 on the Hot 100, after reaching a peak of No. 22 last week. Massey was also included on Billboard's Power 100 list in January, at No. 60.
Over his career, Massey has spent time at both Epic Records, eventually rising through its A&R department to the head of that division, before becoming executive vp A&R for Sony Music Label Group U.S.; and Mercury Records, where he was named president in 2007. He also maintained Daylight Records, a label he founded in 2000. For the past three-plus years, Massey's No. 2 at Island Records has been marketing veteran Eric Wong, who was named executive vp/general manager of the label in mid-2014.
Massey's impending exit will represent another top-level shakeup at the upper reaches of the major labels, with new management also coming in at Def Jam (Chairman/CEO Paul Rosenberg), Columbia (Chairman/CEO Ron Perry) and Warner Bros. Records (Co-Chairman/COO Tom Corson) at the beginning of the year, with incoming WBR Co-Chairman/CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck expected to arrive later this year when his contract at Interscope expires.
He's also the latest music executive to have secured funding for a new label. Former Epic CEO L.A. Reid, former Sony Music Entertainment chairman Doug Morris and former Def Jam boss Steve Bartels have all launched new ventures or secured funding for new companies over the past several months. As of press time, it was not clear where Massey's funding had come from, nor what his next chapter will look like.
Melinda Newman contributed to this report.