Doug Morris is taking his talents to Sony Music Entertaining. Beginning July 1, the recording industry veteran will be taking over chief executive duties, replacing Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, who will be leaving March 31, reports the New York Times.
Initial talk of Morris’ move raised many eyebrows considering he spent over a decade making the Universal Music Group (UMG) a record industry juggernaut as its chairman. To put it in perspective, when Jay-Z landed his gig at Def Jam or when Baby and Slim took their Cash Money Records show to Universal Records, it was Doug Morris who had the final say. So the list of hip-hop artists the now 72 year-old had a hand in breaking is extensive; including Nelly, Lil Wayne, Erykah Badu and Kanye West.
While chatter about Morris sliding over to Sony began late last year, there was speculation a non-compete clause in his contract with the UMG slowed down the process. Morris left his chief executive post at UMG in January, but remained under contract for the rest of 2011. The New York Times reports that UMG has agreed to release him from the contract earlier, clearing the way for his new office at Sony.
Sony’s roster of hip-hop artists isn’t nearly as prolific as UMG’s, but expect that to change sooner than later. Labels like RCA/Jive Records, J Records and Columbia/Epic are all under the Sony umbrella. Therefore making Morris the new boss of hip-hop acts like J. Cole, Three 6 Mafia, Wyclef Jean and OutKast. Considering the heavyweight rep Morris brings with him thanks to over four decades in the music business, this is probably the first of many major moves and shuffles to occur.
The Sony Entertainment Group is the second largest of the “big four” record companies that include the Universal Music Group (which is currently #1), the Warner Music Group and EMI Group.