Renowned U.K. Music Executive to Join Universal Music Group’s U.S. Label Leadership
Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced that Darcus Beese OBE, a renowned and iconic British music executive, has been named President of Island Records, where he will join UMG’s U.S. label leadership team.
Beese, whose career includes working with Amy Winehouse, Florence Welch and breakout star Sigrid, among many others, as well as leading Island Records U.K. since 2013, will succeed David Massey as President of Island Records in New York. Beese’s appointment is effective July 1.
In making the announcement, Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, said, “Few in the music industry have Darcus’s track record of creative and commercial success. I’ve had the pleasure over the years of working closely with Darcus, who has impeccable creative instincts and takes a long-term view of artist development. I’m thrilled he is taking on this new role and I’m excited to support him in signing, developing and breaking many more artists.”
Beese said, “Island Records was founded nearly 60 years ago by Chris Blackwell to serve as the home for boundary-defying and maverick artists with the ability to move popular culture. To this day, that mission continues to define and drive Island, whether in the U.K. or U.S., and I couldn’t be more proud to play a role in carrying on that legacy. I’m grateful to Sir Lucian for this opportunity and I’d like to thank my U.K. boss and friend David Joseph for his generous support through the years. I’m looking forward to working closely with Michele Anthony, Monte Lipman as well as Eric Wong and the excellent team at Island.”
Island Records U.K. has been Beese’s home for nearly his entire music career. He started as an intern in Island’s promotion department in 1989, and worked his way up through the company, holding numerous jobs including A&R director, where his signings include Amy Winehouse, Sugababes and Taio Cruz. Winehouse went on to sell more than 30 million albums and won five Grammy awards in 2008 for Back to Black and its breakout single “Rehab,” including Best New Artist and Record of the Year.
In 2008, Beese was named co-president of the label with Ted Cockle, where artists they developed include Mumford & Sons, and Florence + the Machine, two groups that have gone on to global acclaim, selling millions of albums and selling out world tours.
Beese was named President of Island U.K. in 2013, overseeing the careers of established Island artists including Annie Lennox, PJ Harvey, Robbie Williams and U2, alongside breakthrough new acts including Ben Howard, Big Shaq, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Disclosure, Hozier, Jessie Ware, JP Cooper, and most recently, BBC Sound of 2018 winner Sigrid, as well as helping break U.S. artists in the U.K. including Ariana Grande, DNCE, Drake, Hailee Steinfeld, Nick Jonas, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone and The Weeknd, among many others.
Beese was honored as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2014 for services to the U.K. music industry.