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Jay-Z and Roc Nation Sign With Universal Music Group

Jay-Z, Rihanna albums will now be issued through UMG

Universal Music Group has entered a multi-year, worldwide partnership with superstar rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, under which the firm’s eponymous label will operate as a standalone unit within UMG.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Upcoming albums by Jay-Z, Rihanna and others will now be issued through UMG worldwide. The company’s roster includes Shakira, J Cole, M.I.A., deadmau5 and Wale. UMG will handle global distribution, sales and marketing.

Sony Music Entertainment had been distributing Roc Nation, while Rihanna, who is managed by Roc Nation, had previously been a Def Jam artist.

Deal marks the superstar rapper’s return to the Universal family. From 2004-09, Jay-Z – whose Roc-A-Fella imprint was distributed by UMG — was president of Def Jam Records. In 2009, he signed a multi-faceted deal with Live Nation Entertainment that resulted in the creation of Roc Nation.

UMG chairman-CEO Lucian Grainge said in a statement, “In just five years, Roc Nation has established itself as one of the most successful brands in music with a reputation for developing some of today¹s most influential and popular talent.  Not only does this agreement provide a dynamic platform for Roc Nation’s exciting emerging artists, it extends our relationship with the extraordinary Rihanna and represents a homecoming for Jay-Z — a brilliant artist and entrepreneur, who has been a creative cornerstone of our company.”

Jay-Z (né Shawn Carter) has been diversifying recently. Last week he announced he was opening the Roc Nation Sports agency, with New York Yankees’ star Robinson Cano as its first client.

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