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Neil Jacobson, the president of Geffen Records, is leaving the Universal Music Group company to start his own venture. Called Crescent Drive Productions, it will operate as an independent music management firm, publishing company and record label. Jacobson had been with UMG for 17 years. He also manages the careers of producer and songwriters Jeff Bhasker (Bruno Mars, Harry Styles), Emile Haynie (Lana Del Rey, Eminem) and Brendan O’Brien (Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam). Jacobson is also a key architect in bridging music rights owners and Wall Street. Earlier today, it was announced that the Hipgnosis Songs fund acquired Bhasker’s catalog.

Said Jacobson in announcing his exit: “For the past 17 years, I have been fortunate to work here at Interscope. I’ve made lifelong friends and have had the privilege of working with many of the world’s most talented artists. Being the President of Geffen Records over the last three years has been the greatest honor of my career.  There is no way to put into words how much my time here has meant to me, but after much reflection, I’ve decided to start my own venture, Crescent Drive Productions, an independent music management, publishing and record label. As our industry continues to grow and evolve through technology, music consumption, and artists’ direct relationships with their fans, I am excited about my new venture’s contributions to serve artists and fans worldwide.”

In a letter to staff, Interscope Geffen A&M chairman John Janick praised Jacobson as “driven, smart, insightful and incredibly passionate about the music industry.” Read it in its entirety below.

To all IGA,

Nearly 10 years ago, while running Fueled By Ramen, I struck up a friendship with Neil Jacobson. He struck me as driven, smart and insightful and incredibly passionate about the music industry.  He told me he was setting out to learn every aspect of the music business and that’s exactly what he did.  At Interscope alone, over the past 17 years he has worked in international publicity and marketing, management and A&R.

When Neil agreed to take on the role of President of Geffen Records, he shared my vision of continuing the storied legacy of the Geffen brand.  His vast knowledge of the business and keen eye for talent were essential as he moved the label forward. Neil did all of this buoyed by an intense entrepreneurial spirit, something we both share.

Recently, Neil came to me expressing his desire to leave Geffen to follow his entrepreneurial passions. Given my history, I feel compelled to support his decision and not stand in his way.  Neil will remain at the company until the end of the year and will continue to assist through the transition.

We have an incredible team at Geffen who will be integral to the company moving forward.  Over the next several months we will be announcing exciting new things for Geffen, a label which remains vital to the continued success of IGA.

John