Jim Carroll

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Irish acts ready to Duke it out as V2 closes

Irish acts Duke Special, Jape and Juno Falls are amongst those who may be affected by the closure of record label V2 by new owners Universal Music. This week’s move by Universal to close V2′s London offices, with the immediate …

Fri, Nov 2, 2007, 10:47

   

Irish acts Duke Special, Jape and Juno Falls are amongst those who may be affected by the closure of record label V2 by new owners Universal Music.

This week’s move by Universal to close V2′s London offices, with the immediate loss of 45 jobs, follows their purchase of the Richard Branson-founded label for a reported £7 million (€10 million) in August. Universal are expected to close all of V2′s international offices in the coming weeks.

The August deal saw Universal acquiring V2′s roster and control of Co-Operative Music, the licensing subsidiary which provides international marketing and distribution muscle to such independent labels as City Slang and Wichita.

V2 managing director David Steele told Music Week that Universal are “pretty much closing the whole operation down.

“Some of us hoped that they would try to re-energise the whole label, but that’s the way the whole industry is going. Labels get bought and they lose their identity and V2 is another one that’s gone.” During its 10 years in business, V2 had a total turnover of £367 million, but generated losses of £259 million.

There is little doubt that Universal will be happy to continue working with such commercial heavy hitters as Stereophonics (whose Pull the Pin album went straight to Number One in the UK charts with just under 50,000 sales, but limped into the Irish charts at Number 18) and Paul Weller.

While Universal have committed to continuing the V2 label, many industry observers anticipate that V2′s roster may be heavily culled in the coming weeks, especially given the amount of new acts already signed directly to various Universal labels.

There are currently three Irish acts signed to V2 and Duke Special is easily the most commercially successful of these. The Duke has seen his profile rocket since the release of second album Songs from The Deep Forest in 2006.

Weightless, the debut album from Juno Falls, was released in Ireland last Friday, with a UK release slated for March 2008.

The label changes will not alter plans for the November release in Ireland and the UK of the Jape Is Grape EP from Richie Egan’s Jape.

However, it remains to be seen whether all three acts will be part of the V2/Universal family in the future.

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