UMG uploads its e-commerce effort

Global e to bring music holdings to market

Universal Music Group has expanded and realigned its e-commerce activities. Its Electronic Commerce and Advanced Technologies (eCAT) unit has been redesignated Universal eLabs. This will function as a think tank for developing UMG’s global strategies within the e-commerce realm, as well as for seeking out investment opportunities.

Along with its inhouse research and development efforts, Universal eLabs will include a business development staff that will support all of UMG’s e-businesses, as well as develop new businesses internally that will be spun off into either existing operating units or new free-standing divisions.

Larry Kenswil, formerly president of eCAT, will serve as president of Universal eLabs, based in Los Angeles. Michael Bebel, formerly senior VP/Business Development & Strategic Planning of eCAT, will become the division’s exec VP, based in New York. Universal eLabs will report to UMG president and chief operating officer Zach Horowitz.

At the same time, UMG has established Global e, a stand-alone division that will concentrate on bringing UMG’s vast music holdings to market. This will include all digital download, subscription, custom radio and pay-per-play businesses around the world, regardless of which type of digital channels of purchase (kiosks, computers, TV set-top boxes, and portable devices) are employed.

Heather Myers, formerly senior VP/operations for eCAT, will serve as Global e’s exec VP/general manager. The Global e division will report to UMG vice chairman Bruce Hack.

In addition, UMG exec VP Norman Epstein will assume additional responsibilities regarding e-commerce services for UMG artists, developing consumer databases and updating business systems. Universal Music Intl. exec VP Tim Bowen, who has been working closely with eCAT on e-commerce issues for the international marketplace, will take on an active role in these areas, as well.

Horowitz and Hack will report on all e-commerce activities to Seagram Co. Ltd. president and chief executive officer Edgar Bronfman Jr. and UMG chairman/CEO Doug Morris. This now gives Bronfman direct accountability for the company’s global e-commerce development.

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