Atlantic Records & VP Records sign Woldwide deal

Date: Tue Oct 15, 2002 1:07:56 AM Canada/Eastern


NEW YORK, October 14, 2002 -- Atlantic Records and VP Records have announced a long-term strategic partnership that brings VP's vast resources in contemporary reggae and dancehall music to the major label marketing, promotion, and worldwide distribution of Atlantic.  VP Records, established in 1979 as a retail store, is the largest independent label for new Jamaican music in the United States, and holds a predominant position in the influential hip-hop-flavored dancehall niche.  This new agreement excludes certain selected territories where VP currently has distribution arrangements in place.

Atlantic immediately assumes responsibility for the international marketing of the upcoming album by Sean Paul, Dutty Rock, scheduled for release on November 12.  Its first single, "Gimme the Light," is already a multi-format breakout hit on radio and in clubs.  It has charted for 27 weeks on Billboard's "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles" chart, where it is now #5 with a bullet, and leaps sixteen spots this week to #18 with a bullet on Billboard's pop "Hot 100," in its 25th charting week.  The "Gimme the Light" video clip is in heavy rotation on BET, MTV, and MTV2.  Sean Paul was also recently awarded the British MOBO Award for Best Reggae Artist of the Year.

The new Atlantic/VP pipeline brings a much-needed breath of fresh air to hip-hop and R&B, said Atlantic Co-President Craig Kallman.  "Reggae has been mistaken for an underground phenomenon for much too long, despite Bob Marley's place among the most influential figures in contemporary music since the 1970s, and even though Jamaican DJ culture spawned American rap," he said.  "Reggae, and specifically dancehall, have been the most prolific sources of musical advances in R&B, hip-hop, club music, and even pop in the last twenty years."

Kallman added: "This agreement brings to Atlantic a slate of world-class VP reggae artists, including Sean Paul, Lady Saw, Tanto Metro & Devonte, Beres Hammond, Capleton, and T.O.K.  It also puts us in the leadership position of catching Jamaica's most innovative sounds as soon as they happen in the studio.  I'm so proud that Atlantic's unparalleled heritage in jazz, rhythm and blues, soul, and urban music will now be extended to the most vitally creative force in global popular music today."

VP President Christopher Chin said, "We look forward to a long and successful relationship with Atlantic."  VP Vice President of Marketing Randy Chin added, "We have every confidence in Atlantic's ability to bring our artists and producers to the international stage from our company's strong creative and commercial base in the community."

Under the agreement, Atlantic will also distribute VP's Reggae Gold multi-artist compilations, which have been for the past ten years the best-selling reggae anthology series on the market.  The newest Reggae Gold package, the best seller in the series' history, includes "Gimme the Light," and also features "Give It to Her," by Tanto Metro & Devonte, another major crossover record, which spent 20 weeks on the Billboard "Hot 100" pop chart earlier this year.

Only a few times in music industry history has a label with such a pre-eminent position in a core urban style aligned itself entirely with one major label.  The signings of Def Jam Records to Columbia in 1985, and Philadelphia International to CBS in 1972, are on the short list of such instances.  "History shows that the success of any kind of urban music through a major label is predicated on the right framework, with creative development remaining in the hands of the producers and artists who address the core audience.  Our partnership has all the earmarks of a Def Jam for the new millennium," said Murray Elias, VP's Senior Director, Artist and Repertoire for Sean Paul, Tanto Metro & Devonte, and Lady Saw.

Other VP artists who have also crossed over to the mainstream audience in recent years, through a combination of  club play and exposure on hip-hop, R&B, and pop radio, are Tanto Metro and Devonte, with "Give It to Her" and "Everyone Falls In Love," and Beenie Man, who posted the first of three top 40 pop singles, "Who Am I," independently through VP Records.  
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Posted: Sat - February 15, 2003 at 12:00 AM