Universal Music UK Reboots EMI Records With Rebecca Allen at the Helm

EMI
Courtesy of EMI

Universal Music Group is relaunching EMI Records, the iconic British record label which UMG acquired for $1.9 billion in 2012.

As part of the relaunch, UMG's Virgin EMI is renamed EMI Records, effective immediately. The Virgin Records imprint will continue under the new EMI Records banner. At the helm is newly-appointed EMI president Rebecca Allen, a 20-year UMG veteran and former Billboard Women In Music honoree.

Closely associated with the British pop movement of the 1960s, EMI's star-studded roster in the UK in the '60s and '70s included The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Animals, among others, along with U.S. acts including Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Supremes. EMI continued to be home to the UK's top music stars in the 1990s, when it signed acts like Radiohead and the Spice Girls.

"Growing up in London, EMI was the most iconic brand in British music," UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge said. "When we acquired the company, we committed to new investment, innovation, creativity and, of course, leadership.  Not only have we delivered on that promise, but we continue to position EMI for the future.

"The appointment of Becky Allen is a testament to our long-term commitment, and our adamance that the EMI name will mean as much to a new generation of artists and fans as it did for mine," he continued. "Becky is such a strong leader – creatively and commercially – and has the values, dedication and acumen to keep EMI as the unquestioned home for some of the UK’s greatest talent."

Allen has spent the past three years as president of Decca Records, working closely with artists like The Lumineers and Andrea Bocelli. She started her career at the BBC before joining Universal Music's UCJ division in 1999.

In her new role, she will report to Universal Music UK chairman and CEO David Joseph, overseeing a roster at EMI which includes Elton John, Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler, Florence + The Machine and Bastille, plus international repertoire from Justin Bieber, Lewis Capaldi, The Killers, Metallica, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Taylor Swift, along with the Queen catalogue.

"Rebecca’s track record at Decca speaks for itself but her string of successes don’t tell the full story: quite simply she is an inspirational leader and no-one has a greater understanding of what it takes to bring artists and music to new audiences," Joseph said. "She is an extraordinarily dynamic and creative executive with the vision and ambition to restore EMI Records to its position as a powerhouse of culture and music discovery."

Added Allen: "Being asked to reimagine one of the UK’s most important record labels is an incredible opportunity, as is the chance to work with some of the world’s biggest and most innovative artists. Working with artists, and finding and developing the talent of the future, is what drives me and I can’t wait to get started with building on what the brilliant Virgin EMI team have already achieved."

Universal's decision to extricate "Virgin" from EMI follows the departure of longtime Virgin EMI president Ted Cockle after seven years in the role.

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