Paul Rosenberg Stepping Down as Head of Def Jam

Paul Rosenberg, chairman and CEO of Def Jam Recordings since January of 2018, is leaving his post at the company, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety.

Rosenberg, who has managed Eminem since early in the rapper’s career and continued to do so throughout his Def Jam stint, will presumably return to management.

Reps for Def Jam and its parent company, Universal Music Group, either declined or did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.

While Rosenberg has been enormously effective as Eminem’s manager over the years, he was a surprise choice for the Def Jam role: He had never worked at a record label before taking the helm of the company, and it never really gained traction under his tenure. Several executives have left the company over the past few months — including marketing chief Scott Greer, radio exec Rick Sackheim and nearly the entire brand strategy and content team under Noah Callahan-Bever, which Rosenberg created late in 2017 and terminated less than two years later — and it has faced challenges in breaking new acts and sustaining the careers of several developing ones, particularly Alessia Cara, who won a Best New Artist Grammy and enjoyed several hits from her 2015 debut, “Know-It-All,” but whose two follow-up releases failed to match it commercially or critically. And while Kanye West has certainly made headlines in recent years, few would dispute that his recent releases pale next to his classic work.

However, the timing of the move is curious, given the release last week of the first album in nearly five years from Def Jam’s top-selling artist, Justin Bieber, although that album’s success seems relatively assured.

More to come …

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