Universal Music Group Distribution brand closes, functions re-homed

Universal Music Group Distribution (UMGD) is no more – as Universal reorganises its central sales and distribution operation.

Previously UMGD acted at UMG’s sales and marketing division in the US, working with both internal labels and external partners including Glassnote Records.

However, in an internal memo to colleagues on Friday (April 24), Universal Music Group CFO Boyd Muir and EVP Michele Anthony explained to colleagues that UMGD will no longer exist as a brand, as the company attempts to “create even stronger ties between our centralised teams and labels”.

“Going forward, our centralized sales and distribution function will not be defined as ‘UMGD’ or limited to the role of ‘sales and distribution’ but rather will be reorganized into teams based on much broader areas of commercial expertise,” read the memo.

“The result will mean a whole new offering of services to our labels that will solidify our position as the industry’s most progressive and innovative home for artists for many years to come.”

The news follows the retirement of UMGD leader Jim Urie in October last year.

As a result of the new shuffle, key UMGD executives are being given new responsibilities at the core of UMG in the US, with the majority reporting into Michele Anthony:

  • Candace Berry, previously EVP and GM of UMGD, will remain as EVP of Sales, working with both digital and physical accounts. She will oversee Account Management, Account Analysis, Sales Admin, and Label Relations;
  • Mike Tunnifcliffe, who was named EVP, Business Development & Partnerships, US, earlier this year, will oversee new business activity for UMG related to brand partnerships, strategic marketing alliances and marketing programmes for advertisers. In this capacity, he will oversee brand partnership efforts that were previously within UMGD;
  • Cynthia Sexton, previously EVP of Brand Partnerships and Licensing for UMG’s East Coast labels, has been promoted to EVP of Partnership Content. She will ‘work with third parties and on special projects in maximizing opportunities for UMG artists and their content in partnership with all of our labels’.

Other changes include Angela Sanchez being named VP of Customer Relationship Management and Alisa Olander as VP of Insights – tasked with integrating consumer and artist data.

Meanwhile, Universal has announced three new key members of its central team:

  • Todd Goodwin has been appointed VP College & Lifestyle Marketing for UMG.  Effective April 27, Goodwin joins from Sony Music where he served as Associate Director of College & Alternative Marketing;
  • Christine Webby has been hired in the newly-created position of SVP, Artist & Label Integrated Rights. Webby will work with UMG’s US labels and artists to ‘help secure and maximize the value of ancillary rights (merchandising, touring, branding, etc.) and help coordinate non-recorded music operations with the company’s business units’.  Based in Santa Monica and reporting to Michele Anthony and Jason Gallien, Webby  joins from Warner Music Group, where she was most recently head of Artist Partnerships at Atlantic Records.
  • Peter Sinclair has been appointed in the new position of SVP, Consumer Engagement, where he will ‘significantly expand the company’s existing direct-to-consumer and ecommerce operations into a consumer engagement business focused on developing unique and compelling consumer-driven offerings, and building broader and deeper connections between artists and their fans’.  He will be based in Santa Monica and report to Michele Anthony and Tom Bennett, CEO of Bravado.  Sinclair joins UMG from his previous post as head of marketing at ScoreBig.com, a Los Angeles-based start-up.

Music Business Worldwide

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