In April, Ulf Zick exited his role as Managing Director, International at Universal Music Germany to join Utopia, the acquisitive Switzerland-headquartered fintech firm headed up by Markku Mäkeläinen.
Zick had spent around four years at Universal, after joining the major in February 2018 from Spotify, where the exec had spent the prior five years within the streamer’s Artist & Label Services division.
Now, just six months after joining Utopia as Chief Marketing Officer, Zick’s announced he’s leaving the Swiss company for a job back at Universal.
According to Germany-based music trade publication, Musikwoche, Universal confirmed on Wednesday (November 16) that Zick will be returning to its global team in early 2023.
The publication reports that Berlin-based Zick has been re-hired as President of International Repertoire at Universal Music Germany, effective from the beginning of January 2023.
He’ll also be heading up Universal’s Virgin Music Label & Artist Services division in Germany.
As of January 2023, Zick will be reporting directly to Frank Briegmann, Chairman & CEO of Central Europe at Universal Music Group (UMG).
Briegmann is quoted by Musikwoche (translated from German) as saying that Zick’s return is “a compliment to [Universal’s] artists and our team. Anyone who wants to make a difference in our industry is in good hands with us.”
Briegmann added: “I was and am convinced that he has excellent qualifications to advance the careers of our international artists in Germany on the one hand and to sharpen the structures at Virgin Music Label & Artist Services on the other.”
“To be able to return to Universal Music is just amazing.”
Ulf Zick said: “To be able to return to Universal Music is just amazing.”
He added: “It became more and more clear to me that – with all my love for Tech & Innovation – I am above all a Music & People person.
“Working for and with artists gives me the greatest pleasure and that’s where I make the biggest difference. I thank Frank very much for his trust and I’m really looking forward to seeing the whole UMG family again.”
Prior to Universal, at Spotify, Zick worked for Gibson Guitar Corp as Director, Entertainment Relations and served as an Executive Consultant for Apogee Electronics in Santa Monica.
In addition, Zick is an experienced artist manager, with prior music industry experience running his own record label, PR and booking agencies.
Utopia said back in February that in this role as Chief Marketing Officer, he would be “responsible for the overall strategic vision and direction of Utopia’s marketing, positioning, communications, content strategy, and execution of the brand direction”.
He reported directly to Utopia’s CEO Markku Mäkeläinen.
Utopia has acquired multiple companies since it launched in 2016.
That acquisition spree has included UK warehouse, fulfillment, distribution firm Cinram Novum, UK-based physical and digital music distributor Proper Music Group and Absolute Label Services, another UK-based distribution and services provider for independent artists and record labels.
In addition, earlier this year Utopia acquired Liverpool-based music publisher and publishing administration company Sentric Music Group.
In December 2021 it acquired US-based music industry directory ROSTR and Austria-based music data analytics platform, ForTunes.
In October 2021, the firm bought Nashville-based financial services company, Lyric Financial and in September, Utopia bought Quincy Jones-backed emotional data enrichment company Musimap.
In August, MBW reported that Utopia was attempting to raise €300 million in a Series C round that would value its company at €2.5 billion.Music Business Worldwide