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UMG Finally Obtains Def Jam

Universal Music Group complete their merger process with the acquisition of the final hold-out, Def Jam Records

March 2, 1999 12:00 AM ET

Universal Music Group has completed the process of assembling the record industry's| largest music conglomerate by finally closing their deal to buy Def Jam Records.

Def Jam had been holding out, demanding the hefty sum of $100 million for the remaining forty percent of the company they didn't already own, which is a great deal higher than the $33 million Polygram (now owned by UMG) paid for the original sixty percent in 1993.

Russell "Rush" Simmons is expected to stay on as Def Jam's chairman, with his CEO, Lyor Cohen, running Universal's urban music dept. As a show of just how important an acquisition this is to UMG, it's been decided that Universal's recently merged Island-Mercury group will now be known as the Island-Def Jam group.

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Song Stories

“Don't Dream It's Over”

Crowded House | 1986

Early in the sessions for Crowded House's debut album, the band and producer Mitchell Froom were still feeling each other out, and at one point Froom substituted session musicians for the band's Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. "At the time it was a quite threatening thing," Neil Finn told Rolling Stone. "The next day we recorded 'Don't Dream It's Over,' and it had a particularly sad groove to it — I think because Paul and Nick had faced their own mortality." As for the song itself, "It was just about on the one hand feeling kind of lost, and on the other hand sort of urging myself on — don't dream it's over," Finn explained.

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