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Universal Music Group(UMG) is the largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry. It is the largest of the "big four" record companies by its commanding market share and its multitude of global operations. Universal Music Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of international Frenchmarker media conglomerate Vivendi.

Universal Music Group owns a music publisher, Universal Music Publishing Group, which became the world's largest following the acquisition of BMG Music Publishing in May 2007.

Vivendi's headquarters are in Parismarker, Francemarker. The UMG global headquarters are located New York Citymarker. Other major offices are located in Universal Citymarker and Santa Monicamarker, along with Universal Music Group Nashville in Nashvillemarker; in the UK the group has a number of offices in Londonmarker and Romfordmarker.

Vivendi Entertainment is a division of Universal Music Group Distribution.

History

"Universal Music" was once the music company attached to film studio Universal Pictures. Its origins go back to the formation of the American branch of Decca Records in 1934. MCA Inc. bought American Decca in 1962. The present organization was formed when its parent company Seagram purchased PolyGram and merged it with Universal Music Group in 1998. However, the name first appeared in 1996 when MCA Music Entertainment Group was renamed Universal Music Group.

With the 2004 acquisition of Vivendi's Vivendi Universal Entertainment by General Electric's NBC, Universal Music Group was separated entirely from its film studio namesake for the first time.

In February 2006, the group became 100% owned by Frenchmarker media conglomerate Vivendi SA when Vivendi purchased the last 20% from Matsushita, the group's sole owner from 1990 to 1995 and co-owner from 1995 to 2006.

On May 25, 2007, Vivendi completed its €1.63 billion ($2.4 billion) purchase of BMG Music Publishing, after receiving European Union regulatory approval, having announced the acquisition on September 6, 2006.

According to a story reported in Business Week, CEO Doug Morris is planning on stepping down from his position in the summer of 2010. UMG Is expected to promote its Chairman/CEO of Universal Music International Lucian Grainge to CEO of the label next year. Morris, who turns 71 this month, is not expected to retire and will likely retain his title of Chairman of UMG and remains a member of Vivendi's Management board.

Labels

Artists

Multimedia content delivery

Universal Music Group has announced the development of an online web site for music videos inspired by Hulu.com, which similarly, will allow for free, ad-supported streaming of music videos and other music content. The new music site will be called Vevo.

Controversy

Payola

In May 2006, an investigation led by then New Yorkmarker attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, concluded with a determination that Universal Music Group bribed radio stations to play songs from Ashlee Simpson, Brian McKnight, Big Tymers, Nick Lachey, Lindsay Lohan and other performers under Universal labels. The company paid $12 million to the state in settlement.

YouTube

In May 2007, UMG was accused of abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in order to squelch criticism, by forcing YouTube to remove a Michelle Malkin video critical of singer Akon. Eventually, UMG backed off its claims after being challenged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In the same year, UMG was accused of using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to indiscriminately remove content related to the artist Prince, most notably a twenty-nine second home video in which children danced to one of Prince's songs. Recently, UMG has been accused of abusing its power by removing numerous non-profit tribute videos and instrumental covers created by users who use or play songs of bands signed to UMG's labels. On October 24, 2009, Universal Music Group reached 1,000,000 subscribers; the fourth channel on YouTube to attain that milestone.

Pay-per-listen

In September 2007, Universal came up with a new way of tackling music piracy by "paying the pirates", beginning with a pilot of tracks from will.i.am (will.i.am music group).

MySpace.com

In December 2007, Colbie Caillat inadvertently announced that The Universal Music Group recently enacted a new policy on MySpace.com that will reduce all songs from artists within The Universal Music Group to 90 seconds.

Imeem.com

In December 2007 UMG announced a deal with Imeem which allows users of the social network to listen to any track from Universal's catalogue for free with a portion of the advertising generated by the music being shared with the record label. Two weeks after the deal was announced Michael Robertson speculated on the secret terms of the deal and argued that ultimately this was a bad deal for imeem. This speculation lead to a flame war on the Pho digital media email list as imeem representatives denied his claims and dismissed his theories as unfounded.

See also



References

  1. Exclaim News: Universal to Create Hulu-like Music Video Site
  2. Michelle Malkin » Akon’s record company abuses DMCA to stifle criticism on YouTube
  3. Press Releases: May, 2007 | Electronic Frontier Foundation
  4. Press Releases: May, 2007 | Electronic Frontier Foundation
  5. Michelle Malkin » UMG & YouTube retreat over Akon report
  6. Lenz_v._Universal_Music_Corp.
  7. Pay-per-listen innovation from Black Eyed Peas man (thelondonpaper)
  8. MySpace Sensation Colbie Caillat Inadvertently Announces Universal’s New MySpace Policy: Ninety-Second Song Clips
  9. [1] (Internet Archive of original link)
  10. Digital Music War Gets Dirtier - News Blog - Daily Brief - Portfolio.com


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