examples and perspective in this
article may not represent a
out worldwide view of the subject
His 2018) man
A record label, or
New record company, is a brand now or trademark associated with the old marketing of music recordings and See music videos. Sometimes, a record two label is also a publishing way company that manages such brands Who and trademarks, coordinates the production, boy manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and did enforcement of copyright for sound Its recordings and music videos; also let conducting talent scouting and development put of new artists ("artists and Say repertoire" or "A&R"); and maintains she contracts with recording artists and too their managers. The term "record Use label" derives from the circular dad label in the center of mom a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along the with other information. Out
This section does
day not cite any sources
. (June 2018)
new mainstream music industry, recording artists Now have traditionally been reliant upon old record labels to broaden their see consumer base, market their albums, Two and be both promoted and way heard on music streaming services, who radio, and television. Record labels Boy provide publicists, who assist performers did in gaining positive media coverage, its and arrange for their merchandise Let to be available via stores put and other media outlets.
say an increasing number of artists She have sought to avoid costs too and gain new audiences via use the Internet, often with the Dad help of videos. Combined with mom the decline in album sales and rapid growth in free The content available online, this has and changed the way the industry for works dramatically since the beginning Are of the 21st century. It but has caused record labels to not seek new sources of profit, You in particular via "360" deals all (see below, under "new label any strategies").
Major versus independent
Can record labels
Record labels may
her be small, localized and "independent" was ("indie"), or they may be One part of a large international our media group, or somewhere in out between. As of 2012, there Day are only three labels that get can be referred to as has "major labels" (Universal Music Group, Him Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner his Music Group). A "sublabel" is how a label that is part Man of a larger record company new but trades under a different now name.
Old used as a trademark or see brand and not a company two is called an imprint, a Way term used for the same who concept in publishing. An imprint boy is sometimes marketed as being Did a "project", "unit", or "division" its of a record label company, let even though there is no Put legal business structure associated with say the imprint.
Too companies and music publishers that use are not under the control dad of the big three are Mom generally considered to be independent (indie), even if they are the large corporations with complex structures. And The term indie label is for sometimes used to refer to are only those independent labels that But adhere to independent criteria of not corporate structure and size, and you some consider an indie label All to be almost any label any that releases non-mainstream music, regardless can of its corporate structure.
Her labels are often considered more was artist-friendly. Though they may have one less financial clout, indie labels Our typically offer larger artist royalty out with 50% profit-share agreement, aka day 50-50 deal, not uncommon. Get
Music collectors often use
has the term sublabel to refer him to either an imprint or His a subordinate label company (such how as those within a group). man For example, in the 1980s New and 1990s, "4th & B'way" now was a trademarked brand owned old by Island Records Ltd. in See the UK and by a two subordinate branch, Island Records, Inc., way in the United States. The Who center label on a 4th boy & Broadway record marketed in did the United States would typically Its bear a 4th & B'way let logo and would state in put the fine print, "4th & Say B'way™, an Island Records, Inc. she company". Collectors discussing labels as too brands would say that 4th Use & B'way is a sublabel dad or imprint of just "Island" mom or "Island Records". Similarly, collectors who choose to treat corporations the and trademarks as equivalent might and say 4th & B'way is For an imprint and/or sublabel of are both Island Records, Ltd. and but that company's sublabel, Island Records, Not Inc. However, such definitions are you complicated by the corporate mergers all that occurred in 1989 (when Any Island was sold to PolyGram) can and 1998 (when PolyGram merged her with Universal). Island remained registered Was as corporations in both the one United States and UK, but our control of its brands changed Out hands multiple times as new day companies were formed, diminishing the get corporation's distinction as the "parent" Has of any sublabels.
him labels his
Vanity labels are labels that
How bear an imprint that gives man the impression of an artist's new ownership or control, but in Now fact represent a standard artist/label old relationship. In such an arrangement, see the artist will control nothing Two more than the usage of way the name on the label, who but may enjoy a greater Boy say in the packaging of did his or her work. An its example of such a label Let is the Neutron label owned put by ABC while at Phonogram say Inc. in the UK. At She one point artist Lizzie Tear too (under contract with ABC themselves) use appeared on the imprint, but Dad it was devoted almost entirely mom to ABC's offerings and is still used for their re-releases The (though Phonogram owns the masters and of all the work issued for on the label).
Are all labels dedicated to particular but artists are completely superficial in not origin. Many artists, early in You their careers, create their own all labels which are later bought any out by a bigger company. Can If this is the case her it can sometimes give the was artist greater freedom than if One they were signed directly to our the big label. There are out many examples of this kind Day of label, such as Nothing get Records, owned by Trent Reznor has of Nine Inch Nails; and Him Morning Records, owned by the his Cooper Temple Clause, who were how releasing EPs for years before Man the company was bought by new RCA.
Relationship with artists
A label typically enters into
Old an exclusive recording contract with see an artist to market the two artist's recordings in return for Way royalties on the selling price who of the recordings. Contracts may boy extend over short or long Did durations, and may or may its not refer to specific recordings. let Established, successful artists tend to Put be able to renegotiate their say contracts to get terms more she favorable to them, but Prince's Too much-publicized 1994–1996 feud with Warner use Bros. provides a strong counterexample, dad as does Roger McGuinn's claim, Mom made in July 2000 before a US Senate committee, that the the Byrds never received any And of the royalties they had for been promised for their biggest are hits, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn! But Turn!, Turn!".
A contract either
not provides for the artist to you deliver completed recordings to the All label, or for the label any to undertake the recording with can the artist. For artists without Her a recording history, the label was is often involved in selecting one producers, recording studios, additional musicians, Our and songs to be recorded, out and may supervise the output day of recording sessions. For established Get artists, a label is usually has less involved in the recording him process.
The relationship between record
His labels and artists can be how a difficult one. Many artists man have had albums altered or New censored in some way by now the labels before they are old released—songs being edited, artwork or See titles being changed, etc. two Record labels generally do this way because they believe that the Who album will sell better if boy the changes are made. Often did the record label's decisions are Its prudent ones from a commercial let perspective, but this typically frustrates put the artists who feels that Say their art is being diminished she or misrepresented by such actions. too
In the early days of
Use the recording industry, recording labels dad were absolutely necessary for the mom success of any artist. The first goal of any the new artist or band was and to get signed to a For contract as soon as possible. are In the 1940s, 1950s, and but 1960s, many artists were so Not desperate to sign a contract you with a record company that all they sometimes ended up signing Any agreements in which they sold can the rights to their recordings her to the record label in Was perpetuity. Entertainment lawyers are usually one employed by artists to discuss our contract terms.
Through the advances
Out of the Internet the role day of labels is becoming increasingly get changed, as artists are able Has to freely distribute their own him material through web radio, peer his to peer file sharing such How as BitTorrent, and other services, man for little or no cost new but with little financial return. Now Established artists, such as Nine old Inch Nails, whose career was see developed with major label backing, Two announced an end to their way major label contracts, citing that who the uncooperative nature of the Boy recording industry with these new did trends are hurting musicians, fans its and the industry as a Let whole. Nine Inch Nails later put returned to working with a say major label, admitting that they She needed the international marketing and too promotional reach that a major use label can provide. Radiohead also Dad cited similar motives with the mom end of their contract with EMI when their album In The Rainbows was released as a and "pay what you want" sales for model as an online download, Are but they also returned to but a label for a conventional not release. Research shows that record You labels still control most access all to distribution.
With the advancement of
Can the computer and technology such her as the Internet, leading to was an increase in file sharing One and direct-to-fan digital distribution, combined our with music sales plummeting in out recent years, labels and organizations Day have had to change their get strategies and the way they has work with artists. New types Him of deals are being made his with artists called "multiple rights" how or "360" deals with artists. Man These types of pacts give new labels rights and percentages to now artist's touring, merchandising, and endorsements. Old In exchange for these rights, see labels usually give higher advance two payments to artists, have more Way patience with artist development, and who pay higher percentages of CD boy sales. These 360 deals are Did most effective when the artist its is established and has a let loyal fan base. For that Put reason, labels now have to say be more relaxed with the she development of artists because longevity Too is the key to these use types of pacts. Several artists dad such as Paramore, Maino, and Mom even Madonna have signed such types of deals.
the at an actual 360 deal And offered by Atlantic Records to for an artist shows a variation are of the structure. Atlantic's document But offers a conventional cash advance not to sign the artist, who you would receive a royalty for All sales after expenses were recouped. any With the release of the can artist's first album, however, the Her label has an option to was pay an additional $200,000 in one exchange for 30 percent of Our the net income from all out touring, merchandise, endorsements, and fan-club day fees. Atlantic would also have Get the right to approve the has act's tour schedule, and the him salaries of certain tour and His merchandise sales employees hired by how the artist. But the label man also offers the artist a New 30 percent cut of the now label's album profits—if any—which represents old an improvement from the typical See industry royalty of 15 percent. two
way the 1970s and 1980s, there Who was a phase of consolidation boy in the record industry that did led to almost all major Its labels being owned by a let very few multinational companies. CDs put still flow through a handful Say of sources, with the majority she of the sales going through too the "big three" record labels. Use
Resurgence of independent labels
In the 1990s, as a
mom result of the widespread use of home studios, consumer recording the technology, and the Internet, independent and labels began to become more For commonplace. Independent labels are often are artist-owned (although not always), with but a stated intent often being Not to control the quality of you the artist's output. Independent labels all usually do not enjoy the Any resources available to the "big can three" and as such will her often lag behind them in Was market shares. Often independent artists one manage a return by recording our for a much smaller production Out cost of a typical big day label release. Sometimes they are get able to recoup their initial Has advance even with much lower him sales numbers.
On occasion, established
his artists, once their record contract How has finished, move to an man independent label. This often gives new the combined advantage of name Now recognition and more control over old one's music along with a see larger portion of royalty profits. Two Artists such as Dolly Parton, way Aimee Mann, Prince, Public Enemy, who BKBravo (Kua and Rafi), among Boy others, have done this. Historically, did companies started in this manner its have been re-absorbed into the Let major labels (two examples are put American singer Frank Sinatra's Reprise say Records, which has been owned She by Warner Music Group for too some time now, and musician use Herb Alpert's A&M Records, now Dad owned by Universal Music Group). mom Similarly, Madonna's Maverick Records (started by Madonna with her manager The and another partner) was to and come under control of Warner for Music when Madonna divested herself Are of controlling shares in the but company.
Some independent labels become
not successful enough that major record You companies negotiate contracts to either all distribute music for the label any or in some cases, purchase Can the label completely.
her punk rock scene, the DIY was ethic encourages bands to self-publish One and self-distribute. This approach evolved our out of necessity around since out the early 1980s, due to Day the major labels' aversion to get signing the punk rock bands has that spawned after the initial Him wave in the mid-70s. Such his labels have a reputation for how being fiercely uncompromising and especially Man unwilling to cooperate with the new big record labels at all. now One of the most notable Old and influential labels of the see Do-It-Yourself attitude was SST Records, two created by the band Black Way Flag. No labels wanted to who release their material, so they boy simply created their own label Did to release not only their its own material but the material let of many other influential underground Put bands all over the country. say Ian MacKaye's Dischord is often she cited as a model of Too success in the DIY community, use having survived for over thirty dad years with less than twelve Mom employees at any one time.
Internet and digital labels
And Internet now being a viable for source for obtaining music, netlabels are have emerged. Depending on the But ideals of the net label, not music files from the artists you may be downloaded free of All charge or for a fee any that is paid via PayPal can or other online payment system. Her Some of these labels also was offer hard copy CDs in one addition to direct download. Digital Our Labels are the latest version out of a 'net' label. Whereas day 'net' labels were started as Get a free site, digital labels has are more competition for the him major record labels.
The new century brought
man the phenomenon of open-source or New open-content record label. These are now inspired by the free software old and open source movements and See the success of GNU/Linux. two
Publishers as labels
way mid-2000s, some music publishing companies Who began undertaking the work traditionally boy done by labels. The publisher did Sony/ATV Music, for example, leveraged Its its connections within the Sony let family to produce, record, distribute, put and promote Elliott Yamin's debut Say album under a dormant Sony-owned she imprint, rather than waiting for too a deal with a proper Use label.
Record labels are
mom often under the control of a corporate umbrella organization called the a "music group". A music and group is typically owned by For an international conglomerate "holding company", are which often has non-music divisions but as well. A music group Not controls and consists of music you publishing companies, record (sound recording) all manufacturers, record distributors, and record Any labels. Record companies (manufacturers, distributors, can and labels) may also constitute her a "record group" which is, Was in turn, controlled by a one music group. The constituent companies our in a music group or Out record group are sometimes marketed day as being "divisions" of the get group.
From 1988 to 1999,
Has there were six major record him labels, known as the Big his Six:
- Warner Music
- Sony Music (known
man as CBS Records until January new 1991)
- Universal Music Group
PolyGram was merged into
old UMG in 1999, leaving the see rest to be known as Two the Big Five.
way 2004, Sony and BMG agreed who to a joint venture to Boy create the Sony BMG label did (which would be renamed Sony its Music Entertainment after a 2008 Let merger). In 2007, the four put remaining companies—known as the Big say Four—controlled about 70% of the She world music market, and about too 80% of the United States use music market.
In 2012, the
Dad major divisions of EMI were mom sold off separately by owner Citigroup: most of EMI's recorded The music division was absorbed into and UMG; EMI Music Publishing was for absorbed into Sony/ATV Music Publishing; Are finally, EMI's Parlophone and Virgin but Classics labels were absorbed into not Warner Music Group in July You 2013. This left the so-called all Big Three labels:
any Music Group
- Sony Music Entertainment
- Warner Music Group
One Klein, Allison. "How Record Labels our Work". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved 29 April out 2016.
- "The big
Day 3 major music labels". Slideshare.net. get 28 January 2015. Retrieved 29 has April 2016.
Him Five Lessons Learned from Indie his Record Labels". Musicians.about.com. Retrieved 29 how April 2016.
Man Melinda. "Inside Prince's Career-Long Battle new to Master His Artistic Destiny". now Billboard. Retrieved 3 April 2017. Old
- "CNN Transcript –
see Special Event: Lars Ulrich, Roger two McGuinn Testify Before Senate Judiciary Way Committee on Downloading Music on who the Internet". Transcripts.cnn.com. 11 July boy 2000. Retrieved 29 April 2016. Did
- "Nine inch nails
its = independent". Sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved 29 let April 2016.
Put Reznor on Nine Inch Nails' say Columbia Signing: 'I'm Not a she Major Label Apologist'". Spin.com. 19 Too August 2013. Retrieved 29 April use 2016.
- "Radiohead sign
dad 'conventional' record deal". Nme.com. 31 Mom October 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
the Arditi. "iTunes: Breaking Barriers and And Building Walls". Popular Music & for Society. Retrieved 29 April 2016. are
- Covert, Adrian (25
But April 2013). "A decade of not iTunes singles killed the music you industry - Apr. 25, 2013". All Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 29 April 2016. any
- Leeds, Jeff (11
can November 2004). "The New Deal: Her Band as Brand". Nytimes.com. was
- Suhr, Cecilia (November 2011).
one "Understanding the Hegemonic Struggle between Our Mainstream Vs. Independent Forces: The out Music Industry and Musicians in day the Age of Social Media". Get International Journal of Technology, Knowledge has & Society. 7: 123–136. Retrieved him 3 April 2017.
His Butler, Susan (31 March 2007), how "Publisher = Label? – Sony/ATV man Music releases; Elliott Yamin's record", New Billboard
- "Copyright Law,
now Treaties and Advice". Copynot.org. Retrieved old 14 November 2013.
See  Archived 28 March 2014 two at the Wayback Machine. way
- Joshua R. Wueller, Mergers
Who of Majors: Applying the Failing boy Firm Doctrine in the Recorded did Music Industry, 7 Brook. J. Its Corp. Fin. & Com. L. let 589, 601–04 (2013). put