Universal Music Group has announced the launch of Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, a new global network delivering premium and flexible artist and label services to the industry’s most dynamic entrepreneurs and independent talent worldwide.

Inspired and influenced by the spirit and ethos of the iconic Virgin Records label, the service is being launched initially in the six biggest music markets in the world, with more to come in the following months.

The global relaunch of the iconic Virgin Music brand comes 50 years after the first Virgin independent record shop opened its doors in London.

READ: Universal Music Group owner Vivendi climbs as IPO potentially moved to this year

Founded in 1972 in the UK by Richard Branson, Virgin Records helped redefine music culture for almost half a century. Independent music distribution and disruption have been a key catalyst in Virgin’s global success throughout its history: from its pioneering roots in prog, reggae, punk and new wave; with distributed labels, including Frontline, Stiff, Charisma and Circa; to the creation of Caroline and Astralwerks, both now successful divisions within the UMG label family.

Virgin Records also served as home to some of the most influential and reverential artists of the past century, including David Bowie; The Sex Pistols; Aaliyah; The Rolling Stones; George Michael; Janet Jackson; Lenny Kravitz; Culture Club; Massive Attack; and the Spice Girls. 

In a statement, Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG said, “Virgin has long been a name synonymous with disruptive innovation, musical creativity and entrepreneurialism. We are thrilled to announce the reinvigoration of this iconic music brand as a new model for global distribution and label services – combining UMG’s unrivalled regional executive teams with dedicated resources and best-in-class services and technology, to help foster long-term partnerships and deliver global success for the next generation of independent labels and artist talent. 

“In total, this global launch represents an important evolution of our industry-leading strategy to be an accelerator and vital partner for the music’s best independent artists and entrepreneurs.” 

Branson, Virgin’s founder, said: “I’m proud that half a century after we opened our first independent record shop in London, the Virgin Music name continues to represent the very best entrepreneurs, innovators, and artists from the world of music today.”

Universal Music Group is an American global music corporation that is majority-owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi, with Chinese tech company Tencent owning a minority stake.

On Monday this week, Vivendi shares recorded their highest daily jump after announcing it may spin off Universal Music by the end of 2021. The media conglomerate had initially earmarked an IPO for 2023 but said on Saturday the date could be brought forward to this year.

That was because it completed the sale of a further 10% stake to a consortium led by Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent, which now owns 20% of Universal Music.