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Universal UK boss David Joseph believes that Virgin Records has the potential to become the major’s No.1 label within just three years.
Joseph has told Music Week that Virgin UK, which was acquired as part of Universal’s £1.2bn buyout of EMI Music last year, will move offices as the first quarter of 2013 draws to a close.
Joseph and the recentlyannounced new president of Virgin Records UK, Ted Cockle, are currently evaluating new London premises for the label.
“The first thing we’re going to do is that by the end of March we’ll turn Virgin into a fullservice label, self-standing within Universal,” said Joseph.
“At the moment Virgin shares services within EMI and within Parlophone. The company will effectively double in terms of the number of people that are there.”
The Universal UK chairman and CEO clarified that all of the current Virgin A&R team including Nick Burgess and Glyn Aikins - will be re-homed at the label under Universal
Under EMI’s ownership, staff worked across both Virgin and Parlophone. However, at Universal, they will be given specific roles working for just one label.
“The majority of Virgin at Universal is going to be made up of ex-Virgin/EMI people, plus a couple of others we’ve identified,” added Joseph.
“I’m absolutely, incredibly heartened by the existing A&R team there and they are all signed up. Ted Cockle will be a management and leadership figure, and the A&R will be completely stable. We’ll be adding promotions, sales, marketing, radio, TV, and digital functions.”
Joseph would not be drawn on what lies ahead for respected EMI A&R chief Miles Leonard, but did confirm his expectations for the new Virgin label.
“What’s been great about
Virgin at EMI is that whilst there’s been change and rumour about its management, throughout the team has managed to become an exceptionally cohesive unit,” he said. “They’ve signed pretty much everything they wanted to and what they’ve done on Emeli [Sande] (pictured) is obviously amazing.
“They’ve managed to close competitive deals and find great talent off the radar, and in terms of what we have on the roster for 2013, I’m very happy.
“In terms of what it will become, both mine and Ted’s vision is that Virgin has to compete within that three-four year period - eventually heading towards the No.1 label within Universal. You have to have that internal drive. I’m looking at a plan that doubles the size of Virgin within a two-year period, both in terms of company size and hits, quite frankly.”
Reacting to Ted Cockle’s appointment as label president, Joseph said that after Universal acquired Virgin he’d spent two months “evaluating the company DNA” before making his decision.
Cockle’s former co-president at Island, Darcus Beese, will now step up to become sole president of that label. Joseph said that Beese - whom he attributed with “exceptional natural creative leadership skills” - was likely to announced senior team changes at Island in the coming weeks. ■ Turn to pages 12-13 to read an exclusive interview with UMGI CEO Max Hole on his plans for the legendary Virgin label worldwide
However, a number of leading radio stations only granted her moderate support during the year, especially compared with how much they had backed Adele in 2011.
Sande did have the year’s fifth top radio hit overall with Next To Me, but that compared to Adele having three of radio’s Top 10 hits the year before, including Rolling In The Deep - 2011’s airplay No 1.
Sande triumphs without 2012 radio love 2012’s top-selling album, Emeli Sande’s Our Version Of Events, shifted nearly 1.4 million copies by the end of December, according to Official Charts Company data.
Radio 2, in particular, was very enthusiastic with Next To Me and My Kind Of Love its second and fourth most-played songs of the year, while three Sande hits were in Heart’s year-end Top 100.
however, was far greater than some other UK breakthrough artists last year. Polydor’s Lana Del Rey had the year’s fourth biggest artist album Born To Die, but was totally missing from Capital, Heart and Radio 2’s 2012 Top 100s and the year’s overall airplay chart.
The XL artist also commanded backing across all the main music stations, while Sande’s radio profile last year was far less comprehensive.
However, Next To Me was her solitary entry in Radio 1 and Capital’s 2012 Top 100’s, ranking at 36 and 65 respectively.
Sande’s radio profile,
There were also no places in the countdown for Island’s Ben Howard, Mercury’s Maverick
Sabre and Jake Bugg and Polydor’s Michael Kiwanuka, despite their debut albums each selling more than 100,000 copies domestically.
New acts who were heavily backed by radio last year included Syco’s Labrinth, Warner Bros’ Stooshe and Columbia/Roc Nation’s Rita Ora. ■ Turn to pages 14-16 for Music Week’s full analysis of 2012’s airplay figures