Sony's Barry Weiss To Universal Music Group
RCA/Jive Label Group chairman and chief executive Barry Weiss is leaving his longtime home at Sony Music for competitor Universal Music Group, according to a New York Times report. The move was long rumored among music industry insiders, particularly after Weiss showed interest in succeeding outgoing Sony CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz.
Weiss rose up the Sony ranks in the late 90s through Jive Records, the label he ran for more than a decade which saw a string of hits by the likes of Britney Spears and 'N Sync, who hold the record for the biggest sales debut in modern pop history.
In his new position at Universal, Weiss will be tasked with overseeing the music group's East Coast operations in a senior creative role. According to a THR source, a title has yet to be determined but the appointment is part of a larger, overall plan to increase the company's creative investment. It is not expected to affect the corporate hierarchy of Universal's labels, which include Island Def Jam, Universal Republic, and Universal Motown.
New UMG CEO Lucian Grainge, who officially starts on the job January 1, is believed to be behind the hiring, although it's worth noting that Weiss is under contract to remain at Sony through the end of April, 2011.
Reps for Universal and Sony Music would not comment on the move.
Update: Sony Music has released a statement which reads, "Barry Weiss has informed the company that he will be leaving Sony Music Entertainment at the end of his contract term, April 30, 2011. Barry will continue to run the RCA/JIVE Label Group, which was several exciting album releases in the upcoming months. The company will not comment further."