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