Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry. With a 25.5% market share, it is one of the Big Four record labels. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vivendi. Despite often being overlooked by its smaller competitor, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group has well over 100 labels.

UMG's record labels have many of the world's biggest artists including The Killers, Enrique Iglesias, Tupac Shakur, Oasis, Bon Jovi, Falco, Elton John, Eminem, Guns N' Roses, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Reba McEntire, Diana Ross, Luciano Pavarotti, Rammstein, U2, the Black Eyed Peas, Nelly Furtado, Wu-Tang Clan, George Strait, Gwen Stefani, and Grace Jones. UMG now owns the largest music publishing business in the world, the Universal Music Publishing Group, (after their acquisition of BMG Music Publishing in June 2007).

In the United States, UMG is located in Santa Monica, California, and New York City, New York along with Universal Music Group Nashville; in the UK the group has a number of offices in London and Romford. Vivendi's headquarters are in Paris, France.


"Universal Music" was once the music company attached to film studio Universal Pictures. Its origins go back to the formation of the American branch of Decca Records in 1934. MCA bought American Decca in 1962. The present organization was formed when its parent company Seagram purchased PolyGram and merged it with Universal Music Group in 1998. However, the name first appeared in 1996 when MCA Music Entertainment was renamed Universal Music Group.

With the 2004 acquisition of Vivendi's Vivendi Universal Entertainment by General Electric's NBC, Universal Music Group was separated entirely from its film studio namesake for the first time.

In February 2006, the group became 100% owned by French media conglomerate Vivendi SA when Vivendi purchased the last 20% from Matsushita, the group's sole owner from 1990 to 1995 and co-owner from 1995 to 2006.

On September 6, 2006 it was announced that Universal Music will purchase BMG Music Publishing (to become Universal Music Publishing Group), for €1.63 billion ($2.1 billion), subject to regulatory approval.

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