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Universal International launches new label services business under Caroline brand

By | Published on Friday 9 August 2013

Caroline International

Universal Music has announced the launch of Caroline International, a new division offering sales, distribution and marketing services to independent labels, which utilises the brand of EMI’s long-term indie label distribution company in the US, Virgin Records affiliate Caroline.

In some ways the new company replaces the former Europe-based label services operations of Universal and EMI, both of which were offloaded by the mega-major as part of its commitment to European regulators to get approval of its acquisition of the EMI record company (Universal’s Co-op going to [PIAS], and the EMI label services unit in the UK to Warner via the Parlophone Label Group).

The new unit will be co-led by Michael Roe, who founded EMI’s international label services unit in 2008, though Universal insists that Caroline International will operate differently in some ways to both Co-op and EMI Label Services. The official statement about the new venture also notes that Caroline will “operate on an arms-length basis” from its parent company “allowing Caroline to deliver a bespoke service to independent labels and artists in every market and region of the world”.

Roe will be supported by co-MD Jim Chancellor, he of Universal’s Fiction Records. Chancellor will help oversee the new company as well as continuing to head up the Fiction label.

Confirming the launch of Caroline International, Roe told CMU: “Being an old Virgin boy, Caroline was a label I always admired, so to be offered the opportunity to be involved with the name and its rich heritage is a great honour. Jim and I aim to bring together the culture and spirit of independents with the support and resources of a major music company to deliver a truly global solution. Having a label base in all major markets staffed with dedicated Caroline people supported by a significant and dedicated international marketing team and our colleagues at Caroline in the US gives us a unique global reach”.

Meanwhile Chancellor added: “I’m really proud to be a part of Caroline. Artists and managers are looking for solid labels to work with and people they can trust. In Michael I have a partner who is proven to be THE best at label services and I am honoured to working with him. We can offer A&R input, if required, but most importantly, we can be a great independently minded label partner. The heritage within Caroline is awesome and we hope we can continue to do the name proud”.