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Virgin Music Elevates Cindy James to General Manager in North America

Cindy James has been promoted to general manager of Virgin Music Group‘s operations in North America, the company announced on Tuesday (April 16).

The former executive of the week — and regular entry on Billboard’s Indie Power Players lists — joined the UMG-owned indie music distributor and label services company in 2019 as head of commercial marketing and most recently served as svp and head of commercial marketing.

“Cindy has been instrumental in providing leadership and insights across the ever-evolving landscape of our business,” said Jacqueline Saturn, president of Virgin Music Group North America and evp of global artist relations. “Having worked in offices in Australia, London, NY, and LA, she has amassed incredible global knowledge, commercial expertise, and invaluable relationships that will help take our artist and label partners to the next level.”

Prior to joining Virgin, James was vp of streaming and playlist strategy at Island Records. That move to the Universal family followed more than nine years at Sony Music Entertainment, where James rose to senior director of streaming and playlisting strategy and held other senior roles in New York, London and Sydney.

She is currently based out of VMG’s global headquarters in Los Angeles.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be part of the independent music community than right now,” James said. “I’m looking forward to working alongside Jacqueline to continue building upon our important work as a key partner to the visionary entrepreneurs on our roster.”

James spoke with Billboard in 2023 on how the role of a distributor has changed in recent years, and how Virgin has managed to set itself apart from a crowded pack.

“People traditionally think of ‘distribution’ or ‘label services’ as one step removed from the process, but at Virgin Music Group, we look at ourselves as partners in this space and are entirely in the game of breaking artists, driving hits and label development,” she said. “We are globally connected and coordinated with the thoughtful strategy behind every move we make while always asking ourselves what’s right for the artist, the project and the label.”

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