Record Labels

Virgin Music Forges Label Services Pact in Brazil With WorkShow

Courtesy of Universal Music Group

Henrique & Juliano

First major signing by WorkShow, a leading sertanejo management firm, is duo Henrique & Juliano

Universal Music Group is deepening its offerings in Brazil.

The world's largest recorded music company is launching a label and artist services division of Virgin Music in the country and is partnering for global distribution and marketing with WorkShow, one of Brazil’s leading sertanejo music management companies.

Virgin Music’s newly launched division, which will be based in Universal Music Brazil’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, will focus on supporting the next wave of Brazilian independent artist talent, labels, influencers and entrepreneurs, Universal says in a press release.

Under the new partnership, Universal says WorkShow has signed sertanejo duo Henrique & Juliano, which is bringing their entire catalog spanning their nine-year career. The act, which has 13.2 million subscribers on YouTube had the top streaming track in Brazil in 2020, “Liberdade Provisória,” according to IFPI. The act was already a WorkShow management client and was signed to Som Livre.

The deal underscores the interest that sertanejo, Brazil’s pop-country genre, has continued to generate among the majors. With artists like Jorge & Mateus dominating streaming charts in Brazil, in April Sony Music Entertainment spent about $255 million to acquire Som Livre, the country’s third-largest label and leading sertanejo imprint, from Grupo Globo. The deal, which followed an intense bidding process by numerous music labels, solidified Sony’s position as the market leader in sales in Brazil, the world’s 10th largest market, according to the IFPI.

WorkShow, which owner Wander Oliveira founded 14 years ago, manages a number of other sertanejo stars, including Marília Mendonça, Maiara and Maraisa, and Zé Neto and Cristiano. WorkShow’s artists have more than 35 billion views on YouTube and 100 million followers on social media, Universal says.

As part of the new arrangement with Virgin, Goiâna, Brazil-based WorkShow will also function as a label, a Universal spokesperson says. Paulo Lima, president of Universal Music Brazil said the new partnership represented “one of the most extraordinary business models in the Brazilian music industry.”

Universal Music executive Miguel Cariello will serve as general manager for Virgin Music Label & Services in Brazil, effective immediately. Cariello has served as director of A&R for Universal Music Brazil since 2017, following a lengthy career in the music industry that includes experience as digital marketing manager, artist manager, and artistic and event producer, collaborating with some of the biggest talents in Brazilian music.

Cariello says he plans to continue Virgin’s “disruptive spirit” and to “broaden its legacy with the help of great artists and excellent music.”

Since its launch in February, Virgin Music Label & Artist Services has opened divisions in the U.S., Japan, U.K., Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand, and across Latin America. The division plans to open in more markets in the coming months.

Brazil was Latin America’s fastest-growing country in the region in 2020, growing by 24.5% to $306.4 million in total recorded music revenue, according to IFPI’s “Global Music Report.”