Ethiopia Habtemariam promoted to Chairman & CEO of Motown Records

Photo credit: Bonnie Nichoalds

Ethiopia Habtemariam has been promoted to Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group‘s Motown Records, reporting directly to UMG Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge.

In connection with Habtemariam’s promotion, UMG says that Motown will now have “greater creative and commercial independence to advance its groundbreaking mission of artistic, social and entrepreneurial empowerment”.

Habtemariam was appointed President of Motown Records and Executive Vice President of Capitol Music Group in 2014.

She oversaw Motown’s relocation to Los Angeles from New York in 2014 and the storied label has since been revitalized under her leadership.

Today, Motown is home to partners including Blacksmith Records (Ted When, Vince Staples), QC (Bankroll Freddie, City Girls, Duke Deuce, Layton Greene, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty and Migos) and Since the 80s (Asiahn, Njomza), along with artists Erykah Badu, Kem and Tiana Major9, among many others.

Tiana Major9, who joined Motown’s roster in the beginning of 2019, is currently nominated for a Grammy (Best R&B Song) for Collide with EARTHGANG, which was featured on the Queen & Slim soundtrack.

Elsewhere, the QC partnership has resulted in global superstars including City Girls, Migos, Lil Baby and Lil Yachty.

In 2020, Lil Baby’s My Turn was the highest selling album of the year with his single The Bigger Picture earning two Grammy nominations for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.

Prior to joining Motown, Habtemariam was President of Urban Music & Co-Head of Creative at Universal Music Publishing Group.

Founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy, Motown Records introduced the world to artists including Another Bad Creation, Ashanti, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, DeBarge, India Arie, Queen Latifah, Michael Jackson, Michael McDonald, Marvin Gaye, Rick James, The Commodores, The Jackson Five, The Supremes, The Temptations and Zhané.

“Motown’s resurgence and powerful partnerships under Ethiopia’s leadership has advanced the label’s legacy as home to some of today’s biggest hitmakers and most meaningful voices in music.”

Sir Lucian Grainge

Sir Lucian Grainge said: “Motown is such an important voice and, just as when it was founded by Berry Gordy, its impact continues to be felt around the world.

“Motown’s resurgence and powerful partnerships under Ethiopia’s leadership has advanced the label’s legacy as home to some of today’s biggest hitmakers and most meaningful voices in music.”

“I’ve always understood the power of music and the responsibility I have, not only to continue to be an advocate for artists and creators, but to forge new paths for entrepreneurs and to lift up our next generation of executives around the world.”

Ethiopia Habtemariam

Habtemariam added: “It’s an incredible honor to represent and define what Motown is today.

“I’ve always understood the power of music and the responsibility I have, not only to continue to be an advocate for artists and creators, but to forge new paths for entrepreneurs and to lift up our next generation of executives around the world.

“I’d like to thank Lucian for his constant support and guidance over the years; my Motown team for all they have done and continue to do; the Capitol team for their help in building Motown over these past six years; Clarence Avant who has always taught me about the power of responsibility; and to Mr. Berry Gordy, for his faith in me to carry on his legacy.”Music Business Worldwide

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