13 June 2003
Workin' for MCA
It's not exactly the result of seven years of hard luck, as Skynyrd used to say, but MCA Records is about to do The Amazing El Foldo, with its pop acts absorbed into the Geffen (or possibly Interscope) labels as a result of restructuring by parent Universal Music Group.
The existence of an MCA record label is pretty remarkable in itself. MCA began as a talent agency, founded by Jules Stein in 1924; eventually MCA merged with the American branch of Decca Records and subsequently acquired Universal Pictures. In the early Seventies, MCA phased out the Decca name, perhaps because of confusion with British Decca (which sold records Stateside on the London label), and began issuing recordings on the MCA Records label. Ownership of the MCA labels changed hands a number of times, and eventually they were restructured to form the Universal Music Group. The Big Six companies at the turn of the century were reduced to Five when Universal acquired the Polygram group, including (yes!) British Decca.
Geffen being a pop/rock label, it seems unlikely that Universal will move the artists from the MCA Nashville roster to Geffen, so the Music City outpost may be the last gasp for the MCA name, a fitting union of pencil-pushers and honky-tonk queens.