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Universal Music Logo with parent companies logos (past & present)

Universal Music Group is one of the worlds largest record companies and as of 2012 is one of the big three global record companies along with Sony Music Entertainment and the Warner Music Group.

Its considerable business size and share of market is the result of a series of takeovers and mergers from the 90's to the 2000's when two of the biggest record companies of the world namely MCA and Polygram were acquired (over a period of two years) by Seagrams (the former alchoholic beverages company) along with Universal Film Studios. Seagrams named the results of this merger of these two major record companies as Universal Music to streamline the branding of its new music division to be in harmony with Universal Film studios. Although we say merger(in hindsight), it was technically a takeover first of MCA by Seagrams who then renamed MCA as the Universal Music Group and then as the Universal Music Group (formerly MCA) they took over Polygram to expand its business scope and catalogue. Essentially though the essence and power of the Universal Music Group is the combination of the considerable legacy of former heavy weights MCA and Polygram (and their employees) whose work and power as major record companies over many decades has given the Universal Music Group its market presence today.

Within a few years of acquiring MCA and Polygram (including the Deutsche Grammophon label within the Polygram stable) and calling it the Universal Music Group, Seagrams found itself in trouble and sold Universal Music Group and Universal Film studios to French conglomerate Vivendi. Vivendi then renamed itself Vivendi Universal. Vivendi Universal itself then got into trouble and renamed itself Vivendi SA after it sold its Universal Film studio assets to General Electric and retained the music group. General Electric has since merged Universal Film studios with its existing NBC television assets to become NBC Universal. So although Universal Film and Music were once under the same roof after the Seagrams acquisitions of the mid 90's, they are now separate entities and Vivendi SA own 100% equity in the Universal Music Group since 2009.

In a further development Universal Music group acquired another major record company, that being the EMI Music Group in 2011 which now makes it the largest record company in the world.

There were earlier smaller labels with the name Universal Music (as a subsiiary of Decca records), but nothing in comparison to vast industry size of the Universal Music Group.

Parent Catagory Page Links: Music Businesses - USA / America Record Companies & Labels - USA / America

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