Universal Music Group announced the relaunch of its iconic EMI label, with 20-year UMG veteran Rebecca Allen appointed president. The relaunch rebrands the company from its most recent iteration as Virgin EMI, and features a roster of artists including Elton John, Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler, Florence + The Machine, Bastille and the Queen catalog, as well as international repertoire from Justin Bieber, Lewis Capaldi, The Killers, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Taylor Swift, among others. The Virgin Records imprint will continue under the new EMI Records banner.
The announcement comes eight years after UMG acquired EMI’s recorded-music division, which was founded in 1931.
UMG chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge, said, “Growing up in London, EMI was the most iconic brand in British music. When we acquired the company, we committed to new investment, innovation, creativity and, of course, leadership. Not only have we delivered on that promise, but we continue to position EMI for the future.
“The appointment of Becky Allen [pictured above] is a testament to our long-term commitment, and our adamance that the EMI name will mean as much to a new generation of artists and fans as it did for mine. Becky is such a strong leader – creatively and commercially – and has the values, dedication and acumen to keep EMI as the unquestioned home for some of the UK’s greatest talent.”
Allen, who will report to Universal Music UK chairman/CEO David Joseph, was most recently president of Decca Records, a post she held for three years; she began her career at the BBC before joining UMG in 1999. At Decca, where she was named GM in 2012, she worked closely with Gregory Porter, Ludovico Einaudi, Imelda May, the Lumineers and Andrea Bocelli, whose livestreamed performance at the Milan Duomo on Easter Sunday drew nearly 3 million live viewers and currently has more than 40 million viewers on YouTube alone.
Joseph said, “Rebecca’s track record at Decca speaks for itself but her string of successes don’t tell the full story: quite simply she is an inspirational leader and no-one has a greater understanding of what it takes to bring artists and music to new audiences. She is an extraordinarily dynamic and creative executive with the vision and ambition to restore EMI Records to its position as a powerhouse of culture and music discovery.”
Allen said, “Being asked to reimagine one of the UK’s most important record labels is an incredible opportunity, as is the chance to work with some of the world’s biggest and most innovative artists. Working with artists, and finding and developing the talent of the future, is what drives me and I can’t wait to get started with building on what the brilliant Virgin EMI team have already achieved.”