Universal Music Restructuring Sunsets Distribution Division
The Universal Music Group has undergone some major reorganization in recent weeks following last year’s departure of Jim Urie, who served as the head of Universal’s distribution arm, Universal Music Group Distribution. Moving forward, the UMGD arm will be no more, though key executives of the branch will remain with Universal in other capacities. A spokesman for Billboard said that no layoffs are currently planned as part of the restructuring. UMGD’s former general manager, Candace Berry, was named executive VP of sales and will oversee account management, sales administration and public relations for Universal’s music imprints.
As part of the restructuring, Universal has shifted brand partnership responsibilities, previously handled by UMGD in conjunction with the Universal Music Enterprises office. Moving forward, these operations will be overseen by Mike Tunnicliffe, Universal’s executive VP of business development and partnerships. The company has also promoted Cynthia Sexton, formerly the executive VP of brand partnerships and licensing for Universal’s collection of East Coast labels. Sexton will now serve as executive VP of partnership content, with responsibilities including working with outside partners and maximizing revenue for UMG’s stable of artists. Angela Sanchez and Alisa Oleander have been given new titles as well, charging them with building and utilizing consumer and artist data.
Not all the new positions created by UMG’s restructuring will be filled from current staff, as several key acquisitions of outside talent will help fill out the roster. Sony executive Todd Goodwin was hired on, for example, to help build marketing strategies as Universal’s VP of college and lifestyle marketing, while ScoreBig.com’s Peter Sinclair was named Senior VP of consumer engagement. Sinclair will be charged with expanding UMG’s e-commerce platforms and direct-to-consumer operations, as well as strengthening fan relations for the label’s artists. Another new hire is Christine Webby, hired away from Wanrer Music Group, where she served as head of Artist Partnerships at the company’s Atalntic Record imprint. Webby will fill the newly created position of Senior VP, artist & label integrated rights, working with the company’s US-based labels to help maximize the value of ancillary rights.
The reason behind Universal’s restructuring, according to an inter-office memo sent to all Universal staff last week, is to “grow the business for our artists, labels, employees and everyone whose livelihood relies on creating commercial opportunities around music.”