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The Island Def Jam Music Group

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The Island Def Jam Music Group
Parent companyUniversal Music Group
(In the US)
EMI Records
(In the UK)
Universal Music Group
Country of originUnited States
LocationNew York City

The Island Def Jam Music Group (IDJMG) was an American record label group formed in 1998 by combining the operations of 14+ record labels including Island Records, Def Jam Recordings, and Mercury Records. In 2011, Motown Records was split from The Universal/Motown Records Group and subsequently became a division of The Island Def Jam Music Group.[1][2] On April 1, 2014, Universal Music announced that Island Def Jam's operations would be split between three entities: Island Records, Motown Records, and Def Jam Recordings.


In 1998, The Seagram Company acquired the PolyGram Group Distribution, Inc. family of labels and merged them with the Seagram owned MCA Music Entertainment family of labels, forming what is now known as Universal Music.

Following the formation of Universal Music Group was the creation of The Island Def Jam Music Group, a company founded through the integration of more than 14 record labels, including former PolyGram flagship labels: Island Records, Mercury Records, and Def Jam Recordings.

Despite being a new organization, Island Def Jam quickly made a name for itself in the music industry. The label gained notoriety for its untraditional and innovative approach when it came to breaking new artists, creating joint ventures, acquisitions, internet marketing, etc. IDJ had a great A&R team that oversaw chart-topping talent such as Jay-Z, Bon Jovi, DMX, Elton John, & Ashanti (among others). These savvy business moves are the reason IDJ prospered.

In 2000, IDJMG announced that they would be launching Def Jam Germany, the first international Def Jam brand/label. This move expanded urban music into a global phenomenon.

In 2001, Island Def Jam created a country label, Lost Highway Records. The label operated as an imprint of IDJ's Mercury Records division.

In Summer 2001, Island Def Jam acquired a controlling interest in the legendary rock label, Roadrunner Records.

In December 2004, Island Def Jam acquired the remaining 50% interest in Roc-A-Fella Records, the other 50% had been purchased by former Def Jam parent company, PolyGram, in 1997.

In 2011, Motown Records became an imprint of The Island Def Jam Music Group.

In April 2014, UMG announced that Island Def Jam would cease to exist. IDJ's operations were split up/separated between its flagship labels: Island Records, Def Jam Recordings, and Motown Records.

Today, The Island Def Jam Music Group continues to possess one of the most impressive music catalogues in history.

Awards and accolades

According to the 2012 radio airplay analysis of music industry service Mediabase, IDJMG became the number-one rhythmic label with seven number one songs played on Rhythmic radio stations from Rihanna, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Ne-Yo, and Justin Bieber.[3]


American Recordings (now distributed by Republic Records)

Capricorn Records

Casablanca Records (pre-2000 recording catalogue)

Def Con II

Def Jam Recordings

Def Jamaica

Def Jam Germany

Def Jam Japan

Def Jam UK

Def Jam South

Def Soul Records

  • Def Soul Classics

Island Records

Lost Highway Records

Mercury Records

Motown Records (now a part of Capitol Music Group and Virgin EMI)

  • Motown Gospel

Roadrunner Records (now a part of the Atlantic Records Group for the U.S. and WEA International Inc. for the world outside the U.S.)

Roc-A-Fella Records

Rounder Records

Rush Associated Labels

Vertigo Records

Notable artists


  1. ^ "Ethiopia Habtemariam Named Senior Vice President of Motown Records | Billboard". 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
  2. ^ Sisario, Ben (2011-08-10). "A Young Music Executive Takes Over at Motown". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Mediabase Year-end Edition 2012" (PDF). Mediabase. Clear Communications, Inc. 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2014.

External links