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