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MCA gets groovier

Label takes over Geffen's black music arm

HOLLYWOOD — MCA Records has pacted to take over Geffen Records’ black music arm and will release, market and promote the latter’s artist roster.

The move, billed as a joint venture, as both labels will share in the profits derived from album sales, adds heft to MCA’s growing — but thin — black music division, which has had a number of recent successes in the genre.

It has also put a new management team in place to raise the arm’s profile and profitability.

A handful of Geffen staffers will be furloughed as a result of the shift, and two of the 10 acts on the roster — which boasts the Roots, Soft Money, Genius and the Flip Squad All-Stars — will be dropped.

Geffen exec Wendy Goldstein, who championed many of the urban arm’s signings, will become part of the MCA family.

The pact, orchestrated quietly by Geffen Records chairman Eddie Rosenblatt and MCA prexy Jay Boberg (many execs at Geffen and MCA did not know it was in the works until the deal was finalized late Thursday) is being designed to trade off MCA Records’ successes in the genre with acts like Mary J. Blige and K-Ci & Jo Jo.

“We feel our artists will be best served by MCA, which has a long tradition of dominance in urban music and is better equipped to build on the success of artists like the Roots and Genius,” Rosenblatt said in a statement.

The transfer of Geffen’s hip-hop roster to the MCA Records domain is the latest example of the confidence that execs at parent Universal Music Group, who gave their approval for the deal, have in Boberg’s MCA Records.

Universal owns both MCA Records and Geffen Records.