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Music exec Nelson exits Universal

Tune's over for U Pix president of film music

Kathy Nelson has ankled as Universal Pictures’ president of film music.

“Kathy has been an invaluable member of the Universal team for many years lending tremendous creativity to films such as ‘American Gangster,’ ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and key Universal franchises such as ‘Fast & Furious’ and ‘Bourne,’” Universal said in a statement. “We support her endeavors and look forward to working with her on projects in the future.”

It appears that Nelson, whose contract was due to expire, will continue to work with the studio on a picture-by-picture basis, based on a statement she issued.

Referring to the “rapidly changing” nature of music and entertainment, Nelson said that her “coming venture will enable me to be at the forefront of that evolution to explore and initiate viable and emerging opportunities in film, music and home entertainment. I look forward to maximizing these entrepreneurial talents as an independent music supervisor on behalf of Universal, other studios and the creative entertainment community.

What led to the parting of ways was not addressed by Nelson nor the company, although according to one source close to the situation, the decision, which took place Wednesday, was the result of a budgetary crunch at the studio. Universal has suffered a series of box office disappointments over the course of the year, with such films as “Duplicity,” “State of Play,” “Funny People” and “Public Enemies” falling short of expectations.

Nelson was hired by U in December 2000 as president of film music for the Universal Music Group and Universal Pictures, thus becoming the first executive to head both the label and studio areas of music at a major entertainment company. At the time, Doug Morris, chairman-CEO of UMG, hailed the Nelson hire as playing a “pivotal role in building a creative bridge to more effectively capitalize on the vast opportunities between film and music.”

But when General Electric acquired Universal in 2004, her label duties were split off as Nelson focused solely on her role overseeing film music for Universal Pictures.

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