Universal Music Group

Location: New York, NY

Founded: 1998

Website: http://www.universalmusic.com/

Universal Music Group was so dubbed during an acquisition in 1998, but the collection of record labels and sole music publisher trace their lineage as UMG to 1898 when the National Grammophon Company established the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellchaft. It wasn’t until 1912 that filmmaker Carl Laemmle first introduced the name Universal, setting the film studio on a collision course with the music company. However, in 2004, UMG and Universal Pictures parted ways for good, allowing the music company to stand on its own as a separate entity.

Notable Products

  • Record labels
  • Music catalogue management
  • Music Publishing
  • Bravado merchandise company
  • VEVO online music service
  • Music distribution

What to Expect

Acquisitions, mergers, and sales are frequent in the entertainment industry, and the music business is no different. As such, record labels come and go very quickly. In 2010, Universal Music Group had on its roster the largest number of record labels in the world, including Interscope/Geffen/A&M, UMG Nashville, Decca, Universal Motown, MCA Nashville, and international labels. Artists include will.i.am, Rihanna, Dr. Dre, Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga, among others. The company, its subsidiaries, joint ventures, and licensees reach across 77 countries in their distribution of recorded music, and comprise 98 percent of the music market. In 2008, UMG collaborated with MySpace to create MySpace Music.

Universal Music Group operates offices in 72 countries, including North American headquarters in Santa Monica and New York. There are literally hundreds of departments and divisions operated under the umbrella of UMG, and all applications for employment can be submitted at the company’s job website. Job listings on the site include those for UMG record labels, the film music division, international operations, universal publishing group, and others. Internships are also advertised on the employment website, and semester-long programs are offered as the need exists. Internships are for college credit, and most require the candidate to be of sophomore standing or higher. Programs include internships in film and television, production, licensing, marketing, A&R, radio promotions, and other business and creative departments. Excellent computer skills in standard office applications are required, and proficiency with QuarkXpress, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Final Cut Pro is preferred.

The largest need within Universal Music Group is for qualified entry-level and mid-level music business professionals with expertise in marketing, licensing, copyright, finance, and sales. Positions within creative departments are more rare and often go to internal hires or veteran professionals making a move from a competitor. Again, internships are an excellent way to get a foot in the door to have first dibs on new job vacancies. Artist development representatives, marketing coordinators, and public relations specialists make in the range of $35,000 to $50,000 per year, with director and senior-level positions making upwards of $80,000 to more than $130,000 annually. The music industry is in a state of flux now, and UMG is feeling the squeeze, like all other music companies. Turnover rate among entry-level and mid-level employees is high in some business segments, and reshuffling of departments and job responsibilities is a constant reality. The office atmosphere will differ greatly depending on your specific branch, running the gamut from casual to formal business attire.


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