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Steve Rifkind, Loud Music and SRC Records Founder, Leaves Universal

Steve Rifkind Headshot - P 2012
Getty Images

The music industry veteran, whose label is home to Melanie Fiona, Ray J, Akon and Asher Roth, exits with more than a year left on his contract. Will his roster follow?

Steve Rifkind, Chairman and CEO of SRC Records, is leaving SRC Records/Universal as of Sept. 1, 2012.

In an email with Billboard.biz, Rifkind confirmed the news saying that he "Will say something in a few weeks but yes I'm leaving had a great run at Universal wish everybody the best."

The news broke yesterday (July 30) after Rifkind tweeted the following: "All great things come to a end. Yes it's true I'm leaving SRC Universal as of Sept 1. Want to thank all the artist 4 a great run"

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A subsequent tweet by the music exec and former Loud Music CEO, who has helped guide the careers of many hip-hop and R&B artists, including Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Three 6 Mafia, David Banner and Akon, gave no clear indication of what happened or what his next move would be tweeting only that "I appreciate all the support I will stay in Music just give me a few weeks to spend time with my family thanks."

An unconfirmed report on XXLmag.com cited an anonymous source who claimed Rifkind is "taking SRC Records off of Universal."  Artists currently signed to SRC include: Melanie Fiona, Ray J, Akon and Asher Roth.

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The news comes as something of a surprise as Rifkind and SRC signed a three-year contract with Universal in January 2011 that still has roughly a year-and-a-half to go.

Rifkind started SRC (Street Records Corporation), which is distributed by Universal Motown, in 2002, the same year Sony shuttered Loud Records, the label he founded in 1992, which was home to Wu Tang Clan, Three 6 Mafia and Xzibit. SRC saw a string of successes, including Akon's 2006 album Konvicted, which has sold over three million copies, and Asher Roth's 2009 single, "I Love College," which reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over a million downloads.

Reps from Universal could not be reached at press time.

Twitter: @billboardbiz