him record label or record company his is a brand or trademark How associated with the marketing of man music recordings and music videos. new Sometimes, a record label is Now also a publishing company that old manages such brands and trademarks, see coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, Two marketing, promotion, and enforcement of way copyright for sound recordings and who music videos; also conducting talent Boy scouting and development of new did artists ("artists and repertoire" or its "A&R"); and maintains contracts with Let recording artists and their managers. put The term "record label" derives say from the circular label in She the center of a vinyl too record which prominently displays the use manufacturer's name, along with other Dad information.
Him the mainstream music industry, recording his artists have traditionally been reliant how upon record labels to broaden Man their consumer base, market their new albums, and be both promoted now and heard on music streaming Old services, radio, and television. Record see labels provide publicists, who assist two performers in gaining positive media Way coverage, and arrange for their who merchandise to be available via boy stores and other media outlets. Did
But an increasing number of
its artists have sought to avoid let costs and gain new audiences Put via the Internet, often with say the help of videos. Combined she with the decline in album Too sales and rapid growth in use free content available online, this dad has changed the way the Mom industry works dramatically since the beginning of the 21st century. the It has caused record labels And to seek new sources of for profit, in particular via "360" are deals (see below, under "new But label strategies").
Major versus independent
not record labels
Record labels may
you be small, localized and "independent" All ("indie"), or they may be any part of a large international can media group, or somewhere in Her between. As of 2012, there was are only three labels that one can be referred to as Our "major labels" (Universal Music Group, out Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner day Music Group). A "sublabel" is Get a label that is part has of a larger record company him but trades under a different His name.
When a label
how is strictly a trademark or man brand, not a company, then New it is usually called an now "imprint", a term used for old the same concept in publishing. See An imprint is sometimes marketed two as being a "project", "unit", way or "division" of a record Who label company, even though there boy is no legal business structure did associated with the imprint.
Record companies and music publishers
put that are not under the Say control of the big three she are generally considered to be too independent (indie), even if they Use are large corporations with complex dad structures. The term indie label mom is sometimes used to refer to only those independent labels the that adhere to independent criteria and of corporate structure and size, For and some consider an indie are label to be almost any but label that releases non-mainstream music, Not regardless of its corporate structure. you
Independent labels are often considered
all more artist-friendly. Though they may Any have less financial clout, indie can labels typically offer larger artist her royalty with 50% profit-share agreement, Was aka 50-50 deal, not uncommon. one
Music collectors often use
our the term sublabel to refer Out to either an imprint or day a subordinate label company (such get as those within a group). Has For example, in the 1980s him and 1990s, "4th & B'way" his was a trademarked brand owned How by Island Records Ltd. in man the UK and by a new subordinate branch, Island Records, Inc., Now in the United States. The old center label on a 4th see & Broadway record marketed in Two the United States would typically way bear a 4th & B'way who logo and would state in Boy the fine print, "4th & did B'way™, an Island Records, Inc. its company". Collectors discussing labels as Let brands would say that 4th put & B'way is a sublabel say or imprint of just "Island" She or "Island Records". Similarly, collectors too who choose to treat corporations use and trademarks as equivalent might Dad say 4th & B'way is mom an imprint and/or sublabel of both Island Records, Ltd. and The that company's sublabel, Island Records, and Inc. However, such definitions are for complicated by the corporate mergers Are that occurred in 1989 (when but Island was sold to PolyGram) not and 1998 (when PolyGram merged You with Universal). Island remained registered all as corporations in both the any United States and UK, but Can control of its brands changed her hands multiple times as new was companies were formed, diminishing the One corporation's distinction as the "parent" our of any sublabels.
Day labels are labels that bear get an imprint that gives the has impression of an artist's ownership Him or control, but in fact his represent a standard artist/label relationship. how In such an arrangement, the Man artist will control nothing more new than the usage of the now name on the label, but Old may enjoy a greater say see in the packaging of his two or her work. An example Way of such a label is who the Neutron label owned by boy ABC while at Phonogram Inc. Did in the UK. At one its point artist Lizzie Tear (under let contract with ABC themselves) appeared Put on the imprint, but it say was devoted almost entirely to she ABC's offerings and is still Too used for their re-releases (though use Phonogram owns the masters of dad all the work issued on Mom the label).
However, not all
labels dedicated to particular artists the are completely superficial in origin. And Many artists, early in their for careers, create their own labels are which are later bought out But by a bigger company. If not this is the case it you can sometimes give the artist All greater freedom than if they any were signed directly to the can big label. There are many Her examples of this kind of was label, such as Nothing Records, one owned by Trent Reznor of Our Nine Inch Nails; and Morning out Records, owned by the Cooper day Temple Clause, who were releasing Get EPs for years before the has company was bought by RCA. him
Relationship with artists
His typically enters into an exclusive how recording contract with an artist man to market the artist's recordings New in return for royalties on now the selling price of the old recordings. Contracts may extend over See short or long durations, and two may or may not refer way to specific recordings. Established, successful Who artists tend to be able boy to renegotiate their contracts to did get terms more favorable to Its them, but Prince's much-publicized 1994–1996 let feud with Warner Bros. provides put a strong counterexample, as does Say Roger McGuinn's claim, made in she July 2000 before a US too Senate committee, that the Byrds Use never received any of the dad royalties they had been promised mom for their biggest hits, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn! Turn!, Turn!". the
A contract either provides for
and the artist to deliver completed For recordings to the label, or are for the label to undertake but the recording with the artist. Not For artists without a recording you history, the label is often all involved in selecting producers, recording Any studios, additional musicians, and songs can to be recorded, and may her supervise the output of recording Was sessions. For established artists, a one label is usually less involved our in the recording process.
Out relationship between record labels and day artists can be a difficult get one. Many artists have had Has albums altered or censored in him some way by the labels his before they are released—songs being How edited, artwork or titles being man changed, etc. Record labels new generally do this because they Now believe that the album will old sell better if the changes see are made. Often the record Two label's decisions are prudent ones way from a commercial perspective, but who this typically frustrates the artists Boy who feels that their art did is being diminished or misrepresented its by such actions.
Let early days of the recording put industry, recording labels were absolutely say necessary for the success of She any artist. The first too goal of any new artist use or band was to get Dad signed to a contract as mom soon as possible. In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, many The artists were so desperate to and sign a contract with a for record company that they sometimes Are ended up signing agreements in but which they sold the rights not to their recordings to the You record label in perpetuity. Entertainment all lawyers are usually employed by any artists to discuss contract terms. Can
Through the advances of the
her Internet the role of labels was is becoming increasingly changed, as One artists are able to freely our distribute their own material through out web radio, peer to peer Day file sharing such as BitTorrent, get and other services, for little has or no cost but with Him little financial return. Established artists, his such as Nine Inch Nails, how whose career was developed with Man major label backing, announced an new end to their major label now contracts, citing that the uncooperative Old nature of the recording industry see with these new trends are two hurting musicians, fans and the Way industry as a whole. Nine who Inch Nails later returned to boy working with a major label, Did admitting that they needed the its international marketing and promotional reach let that a major label can Put provide. Radiohead also cited similar say motives with the end of she their contract with EMI when Too their album In Rainbows was use released as a "pay what dad you want" sales model as Mom an online download, but they also returned to a label the for a conventional release. Research And shows that record labels still for control most access to distribution. are
Throughout time, artists have
But had clashes between themselves and not their record labels. The clashes you come about from things such All as: album releases per year, any desire to terminate or change can contracts, royalties, and limitations on Her artist expression. Prince stirred much was conflict between himself and his one record label Warner Brothers. Prince Our was constantly creating music, and out he wanted all of it day to be released to his Get fans, regardless of what his has record label suggested. Another example him is the artist Kesha. She His alleged that she was raped how by producer, Dr. Luke, when man she was intoxicated by a New substance. She went to court now to free herself from her old contract, and while the trial See was in progress she received two much support from fans and way other artists such as Lorde, Who Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, and boy Ariana Grande.
New label strategies
With the advancement of the
Its computer and technology such as let the Internet, leading to an put increase in file sharing and Say direct-to-fan digital distribution, combined with she music sales plummeting in recent too years, labels and organizations have Use had to change their strategies dad and the way they work mom with artists. New types of deals are being made with the artists called "multiple rights" or and "360" deals with artists. These For types of pacts give labels are rights and percentages to artist's but touring, merchandising, and endorsements. In Not exchange for these rights, labels you usually give higher advance payments all to artists, have more patience Any with artist development, and pay can higher percentages of CD sales. her These 360 deals are most Was effective when the artist is one established and has a loyal our fan base. For that reason, Out labels now have to be day more relaxed with the development get of artists because longevity is Has the key to these types him of pacts. Several artists such his as Paramore, Maino, and even How Madonna have signed such types man of deals.
A look at
new an actual 360 deal offered Now by Atlantic Records to an old artist shows a variation of see the structure. Atlantic's document offers Two a conventional cash advance to way sign the artist, who would who receive a royalty for sales Boy after expenses were recouped. With did the release of the artist's its first album, however, the label Let has an option to pay put an additional $200,000 in exchange say for 30 percent of the She net income from all touring, too merchandise, endorsements, and fan-club fees. use Atlantic would also have the Dad right to approve the act's mom tour schedule, and the salaries of certain tour and merchandise The sales employees hired by the and artist. But the label also for offers the artist a 30 Are percent cut of the label's but album profits—if any—which represents an not improvement from the typical industry You royalty of 15 percent.
In the 1970s
any and 1980s, there was a Can phase of consolidation in the her record industry that led to was almost all major labels being One owned by a very few our multinational companies. CDs still flow out through a handful of sources, Day with the majority of the get sales going through the "big has three" record labels.
Him independent labels
In the 1990s,
his as a result of the how widespread use of home studios, Man consumer recording technology, and the new Internet, independent labels began to now become more commonplace. Independent labels Old are often artist-owned (although not see always), with a stated intent two often being to control the Way quality of the artist's output. who Independent labels usually do not boy enjoy the resources available to Did the "big three" and as its such will often lag behind let them in market shares. Often Put independent artists manage a return say by recording for a much she smaller production cost of a Too typical big label release. Sometimes use they are able to recoup dad their initial advance even with Mom much lower sales numbers.
occasion, established artists, once their the record contract has finished, move And to an independent label. This for often gives the combined advantage are of name recognition and more But control over one's music along not with a larger portion of you royalty profits. Artists such as All Dolly Parton, Aimee Mann, Prince, any Public Enemy, BKBravo (Kua and can Rafi), among others, have done Her this. Historically, companies started in was this manner have been re-absorbed one into the major labels (two Our examples are American singer Frank out Sinatra's Reprise Records, which has day been owned by Warner Music Get Group for some time now, has and musician Herb Alpert's A&M him Records, now owned by Universal His Music Group). Similarly, Madonna's Maverick how Records (started by Madonna with man her manager and another partner) New was to come under control now of Warner Music when Madonna old divested herself of controlling shares See in the company.
two many independent labels such as way folk singer Ani DiFranco's Righteous Who Babe Records. The singer turned boy down lucrative contracts from several did top-name labels in order to Its establish her own New York-based let company. Constant touring resulted in put noteworthy success for an act Say without significant major funding. DiFranco she and others from the company too have spoken on several occasions Use about their business model in dad the hope of encouraging others.
Some independent labels become
successful enough that major record the companies negotiate contracts to either and distribute music for the label For or in some cases, purchase are the label completely.
but punk rock scene, the DIY Not ethic encourages bands to self-publish you and self-distribute. This approach evolved all out of necessity around since Any the early 1980s, due to can the major labels' aversion to her signing the punk rock bands Was that spawned after the initial one wave in the mid-70s. Such our labels have a reputation for Out being fiercely uncompromising and especially day unwilling to cooperate with the get big record labels at all. Has One of the most notable him and influential labels of the his Do-It-Yourself attitude was SST Records, How created by the band Black man Flag. No labels wanted to new release their material, so they Now simply created their own label old to release not only their see own material but the material Two of many other influential underground way bands all over the country. who Ian MacKaye's Dischord is often Boy cited as a model of did success in the DIY community, its having survived for over thirty Let years with less than twelve put employees at any one time. say
Internet and digital labels
With the Internet
too now being a viable source use for obtaining music, netlabels have Dad emerged. Depending on the ideals mom of the net label, music files from the artists may The be downloaded free of charge and or for a fee that for is paid via PayPal or Are other online payment system. Some but of these labels also offer not hard copy CDs in addition You to direct download. Digital Labels all are the latest version of any a 'net' label. Whereas 'net' Can labels were started as a her free site, digital labels are was more competition for the major One record labels.
out new century brought the phenomenon Day of open-source or open-content record get label. These are inspired by has the free software and open Him source movements and the success his of GNU/Linux.
Publishers as labels
In the mid-2000s, some music
Man publishing companies began undertaking the new work traditionally done by labels. now The publisher Sony/ATV Music, for Old example, leveraged its connections within see the Sony family to produce, two record, distribute, and promote Elliott Way Yamin's debut album under a who dormant Sony-owned imprint, rather than boy waiting for a deal with Did a proper label.
Major labels 1988–1999 (Big Six)
- Warner Music Group
- Sony Music (known as CBS
dad Records until January 1991 then Mom known as Sony Music thereafter)
- Universal Music Group
Major labels 1999–2004 (Big
- Warner Music Group
- Sony Music
are Music Group (PolyGram absorbed into But UMG)
Major labels 2004–2012
not (Big Four)
- Universal Music
- Sony BMG (The Sony
All and BMG joint-venture label. Traded any as Sony Music Entertainment after can 2008 merger)
- Warner Music Group
Major labels since
was 2012 (Big Three)
one Music Group (most of EMI's Our recorded music division absorbed into out UMG)
- Sony Music (EMI Music
day Publishing absorbed into Sony/ATV Music Get Publishing)
- Warner Music Group (EMI's
has Parlophone and EMI/Virgin Classics labels him absorbed into WMG on 1 His July 2013)
how are often under the control man of a corporate umbrella organization New called a "music group". A now music group is typically owned old by an international conglomerate "holding See company", which often has non-music two divisions as well. A music way group controls and consists of Who music publishing companies, record (sound boy recording) manufacturers, record distributors, and did record labels. As of 2007, Its the "big four" music groups let control about 70% of the put world Music market, and about Say 80% of the United States she music market. Record companies (manufacturers, too distributors, and labels) may also Use constitute a "record group" which dad is, in turn, controlled by mom a music group. The constituent companies in a music group the or record group are sometimes and marketed as being "divisions" of For the group.
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