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Universal Music Group Nashville
Parent company Universal Music Group
Founded MCA Nashville (1945)
Mercury Nashville (1945)
Lost Highway (2000)
Genre Country
Country of origin United States
Location Nashville, Tennessee
Official Website http://www.umgnashville.com/

Universal Music Group Nashville is Universal Music Group's country music subsidiary. Some of the labels in this group include MCA Nashville Records, Mercury Nashville Records, and Lost Highway Records. UMG Nashville not only handles these imprints, but also manages the country music catalogues of record labels Universal Music and predecessor companies acquired over the years including ABC Records, Decca Records, Dot Records, DreamWorks Records, Kapp Records, MGM Records and Polydor Records.[1]

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MCA Nashville

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MCA Nashville started out as the country music division of Decca Records in 1945, founded by Paul Cohen[2] in New York. In 1947, Cohen hired Owen Bradley as his assistant working in Nashville. The country music division moved to Nashville in 1955 as much of the country music recording business was locating there.[3] Bradley succeeded Cohen as head of Decca's Nashville division in 1958 and developed Decca into a country music powerhouse. Decca Nashville was renamed MCA Nashville in 1973.

In 1979, MCA Nashville absorbed the country music roster (including Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell and The Oak Ridge Boys) and back catalogue of ABC Records including the Dot Records catalogue. In the early 1980s, MCA Nashville signed Reba McEntire (who departed the label in late 2008) and George Strait, two of the greatest selling artists of all time and the mega stars on the record label.

In the 1990s MCA Nashville briefly revived the Decca label for country music releases, but it was shut down after Universal Music absorbed PolyGram and chose to reserve the Decca name for classical music releases. While Decca resumed issuing country music in February 2008, the current Decca country music department has no connection with UMG Nashville.

With the absorption of MCA Records into Geffen Records in 2003, MCA Nashville is now, along with UMG's unit in the Philippines, the only units of Universal Music to still use the MCA name.

Mercury Nashville

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The still active Mercury Records was founded in Chicago in 1945 issuing recordings in a variety of genres including country music.[4] The Nashville office of Mercury began as a joint venture between Mercury and "Pappy" Daily's established country music record label Starday Records in January 1957. On July 1958, the Mercury/Starday joint venture was dissolved and Starday record producer Shelby Singleton stayed on with Mercury in Nashville, becoming head of Mercury's Nashville office by 1961. Singleton left Mercury in 1966 to form his own company which bought Sun Records in 1969.[5] When Mercury owner PolyGram was purchased by Universal Music Group in 1998, the resulting record label consolidations left Mercury under the The Island Def Jam Music Group umbrella making Mercury in the USA dormant until recently, but still active internationally. The consolidations in Nashville which created UMG Nashville kept the Mercury Nashville imprint active. Reissues of country music recordings first issued on the MGM and Polydor labels bear the Mercury Nashville imprint.

Lost Highway Records

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Lost Highway Records was formed by Luke Lewis in 2000, Lost Highway Records operates as a country music label, based out of Nashville, but the label also issues music by alternative rock and alternative country artists such as Morrissey and Ryan Adams. The company's name was inspired by a Hank Williams song. Today the label operates in conjunction with The Island Def Jam Music Group and Universal Music Group Nashville. Lost Highway has distributed the soundtracks for O' Brother, Where Art Thou?, Deadwood, and Open Season by Paul Westerberg. They have also acted as distributor for albums from Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.

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