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[citation needed].

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[edit]

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]


  • Def Jamaica
  • Def Jam Germany
  • Def Jam Japan
  • Def Jam UK
  • Def Jam South
  • Motown Gospel
In 2001, Island Def Jam purchased a majority stake in the heavy metal label Roadrunner Records.[4]
On December 18, 2006, Warner Music Group acquired Island Def Jam's stake in Roadrunner.[5] As of 2010, Roadrunner is fully owned by WMG, as an imprint of Elektra Music Group.

Notable artists[edit]


  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.
  4. ^ "Roadrunner lands at Island Def Jam".
  5. ^ Warner Music Group (2006-12-18). "Warner Music Group to Acquire Majority Stake in Roadrunner Music Group". Warner Music Group. Retrieved 2007-02-12.

External links[edit]