Ethiopia Habtemariam has been promoted to become president of Motown Records following a major reorganization at Universal Music Group (UMG). The music group announced in a press release on Tuesday April 1 that the company is reestablishing its three legendary brands: Def Jam Recordings, Island Records and Motown Records as “stand-alone” business operations.
Under the new arrangement Ethiopia, who was formerly a senior Vice President of Motown Records and head of urban music at Universal Music Publishing Group, will become president of the historic label.
“Furthermore, Motown will return to Los Angeles, the label’s longest-serving home, where it was based for nearly 25 years beginning in 1972,” the news release added. “Motown will be a freestanding label within Capitol Music Group, alongside such iconic labels as Blue Note, Harvest and Virgin Records, among others. Capitol was recently acquired in connection with UMG’s purchase of EMI.
Since becoming a part of UMG, Capitol has been revitalized and expanded to become one of the industry’s most powerful creative centers. Ethiopia will also continue in her current role as EVP/Head of Urban Music at Universal Music Publishing Group.”
Apart from Ethiopia’s appointment, Def Jam Recordings will be led by Steve Bartels, who has been promoted to CEO of the label. Previously Bartels served as President and COO of IDJ. In addition, Island Records, under the leadership of David Massey, will expand its own marketing, publicity and A&R departments to grow the Island brand and produce the best in rock, alternative and pop music. And finally, Karen Kwak, EVP/Head of A&R for IDJ has been promoted to the newly-created position of Executive Vice President A&R, US Recorded Music. In this new position, Kwak will serve all of UMG’s labels in the US.
Universal Music Group is the global music leader, with wholly owned operations in 60 territories. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry’s premier music publishing operations worldwide.
The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalogue of music in the industry, which includes the last 100 years of the world’s most popular artists and their recordings. UMG’s catalogue is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the US) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the US). Universal Music Group also includes Global Digital Business, its new media and technologies division and Bravado, its merchandising company. Universal Music Group is a fully owned subsidiary of Vivendi.