V2 Records

V2 Records
Parent company PIAS
Founded 1996
Founder Richard Branson
Distributor(s) Fontana Distribution
Hostess Entertainment (Japan)
Genre various
Country of origin United Kingdom
Official website www.v2music.com

V2 Records (or V2 Music) is a record label that was purchased by Universal Music Group in 2007,[1] and then by PIAS Entertainment Group in 2013.[2]


The label was founded in 1996 by Richard Branson, five years after he sold Virgin Records to EMI. The label was owned 95% by Morgan Stanley, the chief financier of the company, and 5% by Branson. Over the years V2 acquired Gee Street Records, Junior Boy's Own, Blue Dog Records, and Big Cat Records. The label also distributed many labels, such as WichitaWichita, Luaka Bop, City Slang and Modular.

Stereophonics were the first band to sign to the label.[3]

V2 now operates in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States. It was distributed in the US by BMG; however it left for WEA shortly after the formation of Sony BMG. Its headquarters were located at 14 East 4th Street in Manhattan, the former US home of Island Records, which was in the same building as the former Greenwich Village branch of Tower Records.

In April 2005, Cooperative Music was set up by the V2 Music Group as a transnational marketing and distribution operation which licenses independent labels, as opposed to individual artist companies which is the standard industry practice, for release in Europe, Australia and Japan. This in-house licensing division has an exclusive international marketing team with representation in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Australia and Japan.

In 2006 Branson sold V2 North America to Sheridan Square Entertainment LLC (SSE)[4] for $15 million. SSE then merged its label Artemis Records into V2 North America. The new label was effectively divested from the Virgin Group.

In May 2006, much of V2's catalogue, including multi-platinum artists Moby and The White Stripes, was added to eMusic, making the label one of the most high-profile featured on the online music site, which mostly sells DRM-free independent music at a cost considerably lower than many of its competitors.

On 12 January 2007, V2 North America announced that it was undergoing restructuring to focus on its back catalogue and digital distribution.[5] As a result, their employees were let go and their roster of artists left as free agents.

V2 Benelux was founded by Richard Branson in 1997 as part of the V2 International group with affiliates in USA, UK, Scandinavia, Germany, France, Italy and Benelux. In February 2007 the directors of V2 Benelux, Chris Boog and Tom Willinck, rounded off a successful management buy out together with their distributor, Bertus Distribution.[6]

In August 2007, V2 Music Group was sold for £7 million to Universal Music Group.[7] Subsequently, in October 2007, UMG partnered the US operations of its independent distribution arm Fontana Distribution, known as Fontana International, with London-based Cooperative Music of V2 Music. The intent was to enhance expansion through international agreements, and so independent labels from Europe under Cooperative Music would gain access to the independent American marketplace through Fontana International's diverse connections in independent marketing, promotion and distribution support. Cooperative Music has had significant success with various acts such as Fleet Foxes, Phoenix and The Black Keys.

In 2009, the newly formed IndieBlu Music Holdings LLC acquired SSE's business, including V2 North America, in a UCC foreclosure auction. IndieBlu was acquired by Entertainment One in 2010.[8][9][10] In early 2013, PIAS acquired Cooperative Music from Universal Music Group, as part of Universal's acquisition of EMI's recorded music business. Cooperative's labels, catalogue and staff were integrated into PIAS's business, forming the new PIAS Cooperative division, which is led globally by Jason Rackham, former General Manager of Cooperative Music UK. Since its formation, PIAS Cooperative has had success with albums from Factory Floor, Temples, Maximo Park, John Grant, The Eels, and Midlake.

Current & past artists

See also


  1. "Universal Music Group: History". www.universalmusic.com. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  2. "PIAS]'s Co-op acquisition approved". Complete Music Update. 2013-03-26. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
  3. "Kelly Jones on the history of Stereophonics". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
  4. "V2 North America and Sheridan Square Entertainment Form New Company". PR Newswire. 23 November 2005. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  5. "V2 Restructured, White Stripes, Moby Become Free Agents". www.billboard.com. 12 January 2007. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  6. "V2 Benelux, a short introduction". V2 Benelux. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  7. "Universal Music Group announces intent to acquire V2 Music Group, Ltd". London, England: Universal Music. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  8. Chris Walsh (29 April 2010). "E1 Acquires IndieBlu". Billboard. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  9. "Light Records". MyMusicWay.com. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  10. "Company Overview of IndieBlu Music Holdings LLC". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
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