EMI Recorded Music has tapped Scott Hendricks as prexy/CEO of the newly established Virgin Records Nashville.
The nod follows Hendricks’ ouster by EMI brass last year as chief of Capitol Records in the wake of a power struggle with the label’s biggest artist, Garth Brooks.
The deal to give Hendricks the new label began last year when EMI brass gave the Capitol reins to longtime Brooks ally Pat Quigley. (Daily Variety Nov. 5, 1997).
“We are delighted to have someone of Scott’s caliber, background and acumen heading up our new Nashville label,” said Roy Lott, deputy prexy of EMI Recorded Music, North America. “His ability to identify great artistry is matched by his proven talents at completing the artistic process.”
Lott said the opening of a new label signals EMI’s deep commitment to country music and its confidence “that it will continue to grow and flourish.”
Hendricks, a widely respected producer among numerous top artists in the genre with credits that include albums from Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson, surprised the industry when he took the reins of Capitol Nashville, which was then dubbed Liberty Records, after label chief Jimmy Bowen ankled for health reasons. Bowen had also been clashing with Brooks.
“It’s appealing to start with a record company that has a clean slate,” Hendricks said. “Virgin is a unique company … there is a great sense of creative independence.”
Hendricks, who reunites with Lott (the pair worked at Arista Records before joining EMI), said he’ll endeavor to create “a haven for artists, a place they can feel real security and make great music.”