Universal Music UK chairman & CEO David Joseph has today announced the launch of Virgin EMI Records – a creative powerhouse bringing together the newly reinvigorated Virgin Records and its Universal Music sister company Mercury Records.
Virgin EMI Records will be an immediate contender for the UK’s number one label, launching with a roster which extends from Emeli Sandé, the biggest-selling artist of last year, to Jake Bugg, the biggest breakthrough artist of 2013 so far, alongside international superstars Sir Elton John, Rihanna, Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.
Reaffirming its place as one of the most illustrious and diverse labels in the history of British music, Virgin has already been building on the phenomenal success of Emeli Sandé – last week it celebrated a number one debut album with south Londoners Bastille. The label’s A&R team has releases lined up this year from widely-tipped Scottish trio Chvrches as well as established names Laura Marling and Empire Of The Sun from a roster which also includes Professor Green and Swedish House Mafia.
The addition of the executives and artists currently working under the Mercury banner means Virgin EMI Records will be home to international repertoire from the world-beating Island Def Jam label as well as Virgin US, next to an extensive and varied domestic roster featuring the UK-signed Arcade Fire alongside Chase & Status. The new set-up also means Virgin, which became part of Universal Music following UMG’s acquisition of EMI last year, will return to being a full-service record company for the first time since its heyday.
Virgin EMI Records will operate two distinct A&R and marketing streams – Virgin and EMI, a move which secures the future of the historic EMI name in the UK.