Darcus Beese Set to Start as U.S. President of Island Records on July 1

Darcus Beese

Darcus Beese

Island Records U.K. head Darcus Beese, OBE, has been named president of Island Records in the United States, replacing David Massey effective July 1. 

Beese’s appointment had been rumored but Universal Music Group did not confirm the news until today. His career includes working with Amy Winehouse, Florence Welch and breakout star Sigrid, as well as leading Island Records U.K. since 2013. 

Beese started as an intern in Island’s promotion department in 1989, and worked his way up through the company, holding numerous jobs including A&R director, where his signings include Winehouse, Sugababes and Taio Cruz. As president, he has overseen the careers of Annie Lennox, PJ Harvey, Robbie Williams and U2, alongside new acts including Ben Howard, Disclosure, Hozier, and Jessie Ware. Additionally, he has helped break U.S. acts Ariana Grande, DNCE, Drake, Post Malone and others in the U.K. 


“Few in the music industry have Darcus’s track record of creative and commercial success,” said Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG in a statement. “I’ve had the pleasure over the years of working closely with Darcus, who has impeccable creative instincts and takes a long-term view of artist development. I’m thrilled he is taking on this new role and I’m excited to support him in signing, developing and breaking many more artists.”   

Beese added, “Island Records was founded nearly 60 years ago by Chris Blackwell to serve as the home for boundary-defying and maverick artists with the ability to move popular culture. To this day, that mission continues to define and drive Island, whether in the U.K. or U.S., and I couldn’t be more proud to play a role in carrying on that legacy. I’m grateful to Sir Lucian for this opportunity and I’d like to thank my U.K. boss and friend David Joseph for his generous support through the years. I’m looking forward to working closely with Michele Anthony, Monte Lipman as well as Eric Wong and the excellent team at Island.”   

As previously announced, Massey has set up an unnamed joint venture with Sony Music.


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