Universal Music Group forms Verve Label Group. Veteran industry executive Danny Bennett named president & CEO. New structure reflects deepened commitment to jazz and classical music

SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 19, 2016 — Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced the formation of the Verve Label Group and appointed veteran industry executive Danny Bennett, a Grammy and Emmy Award-winning music, film and television producer, and long-time manager of his father, legendary singer Tony Bennett, as the label group’s President & CEO, effective immediately.

The Verve Label Group will be comprised of Verve and UMG’s U.S. classical music labels including Deutsche Grammophon, Decca Records, Decca Classics, Mercury Classics, and distributed label ECM. The new structure marks UMG’s continued investment in jazz and classical music and the company’s unwavering commitment to building upon its rich history in both genres, while also opening up new opportunities, developing global cross-over artists and delivering innovative jazz and classical experiences to fans. The jazz and classical labels will maintain distinct A&R, marketing and promotions teams, while also leveraging UMG’s global reach to provide artists with deep resources and expertise to develop their careers.

Under Bennett’s leadership, Verve will relocate to New York, where the label was originally founded 60 years ago as home to jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Stan Getz and Billie Holiday. With his proven strategic marketing skills, Bennett will expand the awareness and reach of UMG’s historic jazz and classical catalogue, and develop and promote emerging artists on a global scale.

Bennett will report to Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President of UMG. Bennett and Dickon Stainer, President and CEO of Global Classics for Universal Music Group, will announce shortly a President of Verve Label Group’s classical music labels.

David Foster, one of the most successful record producers in history, who led the Verve label since 2012, has decided to return full-time to producing, and will continue to work closely with UMG’s labels and artists. Foster is currently producing albums for UMG artists Carla Bruni and Jordan Smith.

In making the announcement, Michele Anthony said, „By forming the Verve Label Group and attracting an industry veteran of Danny’s stature and expertise, Universal Music is making a strong statement about the high value we place on building on our robust jazz and classical repertoire. We are committed to growing our presence in these genres even further and creating crossover successes that deliver artists to new audiences around the world. I want to thank David for the immense creative impact he had at Verve. On behalf of everyone here at UMG, we look forward to recording many more hit records with David for years to come.”

Bennett said, „Universal Music is home to the largest and most historically relevant jazz and classical recordings. It’s a tremendous honor, and I am humbled to be chosen to lead the newly formed Verve Label Group. I’m indebted to David Foster for leading the iconic Verve label and I look forward to working with him on many future productions. Additionally, I offer my profound appreciation to Lucian Grange and Michele Anthony for this amazing opportunity.”

Foster said, „I have loved every minute working with Verve’s incredibly talented roster of artists and staff. At the same time, during the last few months, as I thought about where I’m happiest, it’s in the recording studio working closely with artists on developing new material. I’m thrilled Danny is now at the helm of the Verve. The label couldn’t be in better hands and I’m looking forward to working on many more projects together.”

Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Verve is Universal Music Group’s American contemporary label with an active artist roster that includes Andrea Bocelli, Diana Krall, Mark Knopfler, Sarah McLachlan and Barry Manilow. The label was founded in 1956 and quickly made a name as the home of jazz legends. Verve also oversees the catalog of the legendary Impulse! Records with an artist roster that includes John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and many more.

About Danny Bennett:

Danny Bennett is a veteran manager and a Grammy and Emmy Award-winning music, film and television producer.

Bennett founded RPM Productions in 1979, an artist management and strategic marketing company. He is most known for using progressive marketing skills to redefine the career of his father, Tony Bennett, prompting Advertising Age to name him one of the Top 100 Marketers. Bennett has been profiled in a variety of publications including Time Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes and Billboard. Bennett has also represented recording artists from diverse musical genres including Elvis Costello and Jamiroquai and spearheaded innovative and multi-faceted strategic marketing campaigns for Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, and John Legend to name a few.

Bennett has managed his father’s career for over 35 years, a period that includes 17 Grammy awards; the release of Duets: An American Classic, Tony’s best-selling album of performances with artists including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Barbra Streisand and Bono; the Rob Marshall-directed television special Tony Bennett: An American Classic, which won seven Emmys and was the most-honored program at the 2007 Emmy Awards; the release of Duets II featuring performances with Amy Winehouse, Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, Lady Gaga and John Mayer; as well as the #1, Grammy-award winning album Cheek To Cheek with Lady Gaga.

In addition to his management and strategic marketing endeavors, Bennett has produced a variety of feature documentary and broadcast productions, including Tony Bennett: An American Classic, the Emmy Award-winning PBS American Masters documentary in association with Clint Eastwood, Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends, and the Emmy Award-winning live music series Live By Request, 36 shows that ran for 9 seasons on the A&E Network showcasing such artists as David Bowie, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Don Henley and the Bee Gees. Live By Request’s unique interactive concept was developed by Tony and Danny Bennett and went on to become the longest-running live music performance special on U.S. television. Bennett also collaborated with Academy Award-winner T-Bone Burnett on The Words and Music of Cold Mountain, a live multimedia event and DVD for Miramax Films. Most recently, Danny created, produced and directed in partnership with Netflix, the critically acclaimed documentary film, The Zen Of Bennett, which was theatrically released and is available on Netflix.

About Universal Music Group:

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans.