Christopher “Chris” Roberts is a music-industry pioneer who served as president of Universal Music Group’s classics and jazz division and kept the company positioned competitively during an era of protracted market contraction. Christopher Roberts’ responsibilities at the head of Universal Music Group included oversight of premier labels such as Philips, Deutsche Grammophon, Verve, and Decca.
Established in 1929 in the United Kingdom, Decca Records quickly catapulted to prominence with the addition of major stars such as Al Jolson and Bing Crosby. With a U.S. imprint of the label launched in 1934, the roster continuously expanded through the 1940s and included Jimmy Dorsey, the Andrews Sisters, and Louis Armstrong. The label’s high-water mark came with the 1942 release of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, which has stood the test of time as the world’s best-selling single.
With the name Decca giving way in the United States to MCA Records in the early 1970s, Polydor Records acquired the label’s British pop catalogue in 1980. The Decca name was briefly revived in the early 1990s as part of MCA Nashville Records, and it subsequently became part of Universal Music Group in the late 1990s, with a focus on classical music. Today, Decca stands as a leading classical and Broadway label that encompasses the U.S.-based Decca Label Group and the UK-based Decca Music Group. Among the acts that have been part of the recent Decca roster are Andrea Bocelli, Boyz II Men, and Clay Aiken.