Universal Music Group has beefed up its production arm, forming a new studio to develop narrative content with music at its core.
Mercury Studios, announced Thursday, will house the Group’s long-established Eagle Rock Entertainment film and TV banner, which has a library of almost 2,000 hours of programming and more than 800 documentary titles, including the Grammy-nominated documentary Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool and current Grammy Award nominee That Little Ol’ Band From Texas, the story of ZZ Top.
Mercury Studios is set to produce music-based content for projects across performance/live, factual/reality, scripted, artist and filmmaker partnerships and remastering and audio originals via film and television content, podcasts and short form content. It will also leverage Eagle Rock’s global sales division alongside home video and digital media division.
Alice Webb, the former BBC veteran who was appointed CEO of Eagle Rock in 2019, will lead the new studio, reporting to UMG’s chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge.
“Mercury Studios will bring together the very best in the business under the exceptional leadership of Alice, who has already proved herself as a dynamic creative innovator, not least during her time at the BBC,” said David Joseph, chairman and CEO of Universal Music U.K. “Mercury will be about bold ideas, exciting new talent but above all compelling visual storytelling, all of which will be demonstrated with the exciting projects we will be announcing over the coming weeks. Music is a world full of the most extraordinary stories, with so many yet to be told.”
Mercury Studios will carry on Eagle Rock’s history of filming live performances, most recently in the form of live-streamed concerts for artists including Sam Smith, Glass Animals and The Streets, the last of which won the UKMVA’s best music film award for 2020.
“Music is a passion – it touches every part of our lives, which is why Mercury Studios is such an exciting proposition,” said Webb. “We are unique – bringing together expertise from across music, film and television in factual, scripted, premium audio, performance and so much more. We can offer creators a vibrant space to realize the projects they are truly passionate about, tapping into the wealth of expertise we have access to. We are also keen to welcome new blood: talented, ambitious people who want to make distinctive, relevant content with music at its heart.”
UMG is majority owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi, with Chinese tech giant Tencent owning a minority stake.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.