MCA gets relabeled

Talent, staff folded into Geffen; others cut

NEW YORK — The long-awaited folding of MCA Records into the Interscope Geffen A&M family began in earnest this week, with the bulk of MCA talent and staffers moved over to the newly reconstituted Geffen Records division and others shown the door.

Sources inside the Universal Music unit said IGA’s brass congregated in the company’s Santa Monica headquarters to hammer out the details of the plan, which had been anticipated since MCA topper Jay Boberg ankled in January.

Management of MCA’s remaining acts and assets will likely fall to Geffen prexy Jordan Schur — the former Flip Records founder who is renegotiating his contract with UMG — and IGA chairman Jimmy Iovine, who has overseen MCA since Boberg’s departure.

Meanwhile, sources said that from a third to a half of MCA’s workforce will be let go in the consolidation. Among the hardest hit will be the label’s back-office services, which will be handled by IGA’s centralized operations.

Inside sources say vice president of sales Mike Regan is among the higher-level staffers departing, while others, including promotion chief Craig Lambert and head of press Lillian Matulic, will take up spots in the new Geffen hierarchy.

IGA declined to comment on the specifics of the transition, but said in a statement: “We have begun a restructuring process at MCA Records. Further details about the structure and staffing of the label will be announced shortly. We are grateful for the contributions made by the employees affected by these changes.”

MCA, which has been a prominent name in entertainment for the past eight decades, suffered from an acute hit shortage over the past year. Neither of its biggest performers — Mary J. Blige and Blink 182 — have put out studio albums in two years. And sales of the second album from dancehall giant Shaggy, 2002’s “Lucky Day,” fell far short of his multiplatinum blockbuster “Hotshot.”

Both Blink and Blige will make their new home at Geffen, but others may not be so fortunate. Iovine and Schur are expected to evaluate MCA’s stable of talent over the next several days with an eye toward trimming the roster.

Geffen effectively fell dormant over the past few years — a victim of the aggressive consolidation that came after Seagram’s purchase of Polygram in 1998.

Schur made his name in the business as one of the key architects of the “nu-metal” explosion of the late ’90s. His label Flip Records was home to such giants of the genre as Korn, Staind and Limp Bizkit.