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Universal Music Group (UMG) is, along with Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, one of the largest music labels in the world.

The group can trace its origins back to 1934, with the foundation of Decca Records' American branch. Decca purchased Universal in 1952, before merging with MCA a decade later.

After MCA was purchased by Matsushita Electronics and then Seagram in 1996, it was renamed Universal Studios Inc., while its music division was reorganized as Universal Music Group, after merging with PolyGram.

In 2004, UMG's relationship with the larger Universal ended after the latter was acquired by General Electric and merged with NBC. In 2006, ownership of the label passed to Vivendi. With the demise of EMI in 2011, UMG absorbed the defunct company's recording division and American roster.note 

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In 2008, a fire broke out at Universal Studios Hollywood that lasted 12 hours, damaging much of the area in the process— including the warehouse where Universal Music Group kept a good chunk of their artists' master recordings. While the damage was heavily downplayed in official press releases from Universal, a 2019 article from the New York Times revealed that the fire had actually destroyed up to 175,000 master recordings from UMG-owned artists throughout the history of recorded music itself, from classic acts such as Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly to newer stars like R.E.M. and Nirvana. A full list of artists whose masters were lost can be found on the Wikipedia article for the 2008 fire. While a good deal of the lost recordings were digitized beforehand, many others are most likely lost forever, and even in the digitized tapes' cases, the loss of the master recordings themselves has nixed any hopes for new remasters.

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Universal also owns a major publisher, Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), which was built from PolyGram, Criterion, MCA, Zomba (outside Europe), Rondor (Almo/Irving), and the old BMG publishers.


Labels owned by UMG:

Artists and songwriters whose copyrights are with Universal Music Publishing Group:


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