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A record Our label, or record company, is out a brand or trademark of day music recordings and music videos, Get or the company that owns has it. Sometimes, a record label him is also a publishing company His that manages such brands and how trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, man distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement New of copyright for sound recordings now and music videos, while also old conducting talent scouting and development See of new artists ("artists and two repertoire" or "A&R"), and maintaining way contracts with recording artists and Who their managers. The term "record boy label", derives from the circular did label in the center of Its a vinyl record which prominently let displays the manufacturer's name, along put with other information. Within the Say mainstream music industry, recording artists she have traditionally been reliant upon too record labels to broaden their Use consumer base, market their albums, dad and promote their singles on mom streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels also provide publicists, the who assist performers in gaining and positive media coverage, and arrange For for their merchandise to be are available via stores and other but media outlets.

Major versus Has independent record labels

Record labels him may be small, localized and his "independent" ("indie"), or they may How be part of a large man international media group, or somewhere new in between. The Association of Now Independent Music (AIM) defines a old 'major' as "a multinational company see which (together with the companies Two in its group) has more way than 5% of the world who market(s) for the sale of Boy records or music videos." As did of 2012, there are only its three labels that can be Let referred to as "major labels" put (Universal Music Group, Sony Music say Entertainment, and Warner Music Group). She In 2014, AIM estimated that too the majors had a collective use global market share of some Dad 65–70%.

Major labels


mom not all was has
Major record label Year founded Headquarters The Divisions US/CA market and share (2019)
Universal for Music Group September 1934; 86 years ago (1934-09) Are 2220 Colorado Avenue, Santa but Monica, California, United States List of Universal Music Group You labels 54.5%
Sony Music 1929; 92 years ago (1929) any New York City, New Can York, United States List her of Sony Music labels 23.4%
Warner Music One Group (NasdaqWMG) 1958; 63 years ago (1958) our New York City, New out York, United States Atlantic Day Records Group
Alternative Distribution Alliance
Elektra Records
Rhino get Entertainment
Warner Records
Warner Chappell Music


PolyGramPolyGramUniversal Music GroupSony MusicWarner Music GroupPolyGramMCA RecordsSony BMGSony MusicColumbia RecordsWarner Music GroupBertelsmann Music GroupWarner RecordsBertelsmann Music GroupEMIPolyGramDecca RecordsRCA RecordsAmerican Record Corporation

Record labels are often under his the control of a corporate how umbrella organization called a "music Man group". A music group is new usually owned by an international now conglomerate "holding company", which often Old has non-music divisions as well. see A music group controls and two consists of music-publishing companies, record Way (sound recording) manufacturers, record distributors, who and record labels. Record companies boy (manufacturers, distributors, and labels) may Did also constitute a "record group" its which is, in turn, controlled let by a music group. The Put constituent companies in a music say group or record group are she sometimes marketed as being "divisions" Too of the group.

From 1988 use to 1998, there were six dad major record labels, known as Mom the Big Six:

  1. Warner Music Group
  2. EMI
  3. Sony Music the (Known as CBS Records until And January 1991)
  4. BMG (Formed in for 1984 as RCA/Ariola International)
  5. Universal are Music Group (Known as MCA But Music until 1996)
  6. PolyGram

PolyGram not was merged into Universal Music you Group in 1999, leaving the All rest to be known as any the Big Five.

In 2004, can Sony and BMG agreed to Her a joint venture to create was the Sony BMG label (which one would be renamed Sony Music Our Entertainment after a 2008 merger). out In 2007, the four remaining day companies—known as the Big Four—controlled Get about 70% of the world has music market, and about 80% him of the United States music His market.

In 2012, the major how divisions of EMI were sold man off separately by owner Citigroup: New most of EMI's recorded music now division was absorbed into UMG; old EMI Music Publishing was absorbed See into Sony/ATV Music Publishing; finally, two EMI's Parlophone and Virgin Classics way labels were absorbed into Warner Who Music Group in July 2013. boy This left the so-called Big did Three labels.


Record put labels and music publishers that Say are not under the control she of the big three are too generally considered to be independent Use (indie), even if they are dad large corporations with complex structures. mom The term indie label is sometimes used to refer to the only those independent labels that and adhere to independent criteria of For corporate structure and size, and are some consider an indie label but to be almost any label Not that releases non-mainstream music, regardless you of its corporate structure.

Independent all labels are often considered more Any artist-friendly. Though they may have can less financial clout, indie labels her typically offer larger artist royalty Was with a 50% profit-share agreement, one aka 50-50 deal, not uncommon. our In addition, independent labels are Out often artist-owned (although not always), day with a stated intent often get being to control the quality Has of the artist's output. Independent him labels usually do not enjoy his the resources available to the How "big three" and as such man will often lag behind them new in market shares. However, frequently Now independent artists manage a return old by recording for a much see smaller production cost of a Two typical big label release. Sometimes way they are able to recoup who their initial advance even with Boy much lower sales numbers.

On did occasion, established artists, once their its record contract has finished, move Let to an independent label. This put often gives the combined advantage say of name recognition and more She control over one's music along too with a larger portion of use royalty profits. Artists such as Dad Dolly Parton, Aimee Mann, Prince, mom Public Enemy, BKBravo (Kua and Rafi), among others, have done The this. Historically, companies started in and this manner have been re-absorbed for into the major labels (two Are examples are American singer Frank but Sinatra's Reprise Records, which has not been owned by Warner Music You Group for some time now, all and musician Herb Alpert's A&M any Records, now owned by Universal Can Music Group). Similarly, Madonna's Maverick her Records (started by Madonna with was her manager and another partner) One was to come under control our of Warner Music when Madonna out divested herself of controlling shares Day in the company.

Some independent get labels become successful enough that has major record companies negotiate contracts Him to either distribute music for his the label or in some how cases, purchase the label completely, Man to the point where it new functions as an imprint or now sublabel.


A label 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. A record company she may use an imprint to Too market a particular genre of use music, such as jazz, blues, dad country music, or indie rock. Mom


Music collectors often use the term sublabel to the refer to either an imprint And or a subordinate label company for (such as those within a are group). For example, in the But 1980s and 1990s, "4th & not B'way" was a trademarked brand you owned by Island Records Ltd. All in the UK and by any a subordinate branch, Island Records, can Inc., in the United States. Her The center label on a was 4th & Broadway record marketed one in the United States would Our typically bear a 4th & out B'way logo and would state day in the fine print, "4th Get & B'way™, an Island Records, has Inc. company". Collectors discussing labels him as brands would say that His 4th & B'way is a how sublabel or imprint of just man "Island" or "Island Records". Similarly, New collectors who choose to treat now corporations and trademarks as equivalent old might say 4th & B'way See is an imprint and/or sublabel two of both Island Records, Ltd. way and that company's sublabel, Island Who Records, Inc. However, such definitions boy are complicated by the corporate did mergers that occurred in 1989 Its (when Island was sold to let PolyGram) and 1998 (when PolyGram put merged with Universal). Island remained Say registered as corporations in both she the United States and UK, too but control of its brands Use changed hands multiple times as dad new companies were formed, diminishing mom the corporation's distinction as the "parent" of any sublabels. My the Ami is the early imprint and of Columbia records.

Vanity For labels


Vanity labels are labels that but bear an imprint that gives Not the impression of an artist's you ownership or control, but in all fact represent a standard artist/label Any relationship. In such an arrangement, can the artist will control nothing her more than the usage of Was the name on the label, one but may enjoy a greater our say in the packaging of Out his or her work. An day example of such a label get is the Neutron label owned Has by ABC while at Phonogram him Inc. in the UK. At his one point artist Lizzie Tear How (under contract with ABC themselves) man appeared on the imprint, but new it was devoted almost entirely Now to ABC's offerings and is old still used for their re-releases see (though Phonogram owns the masters Two of all the work issued way on the label).

However, not who all labels dedicated to particular Boy artists are completely superficial in did origin. Many artists, early in its their careers, create their own Let labels which are later bought put out by a bigger company. say If this is the case She it can sometimes give the too artist greater freedom than if use they were signed directly to Dad the big label. There are mom many examples of this kind of label, such as Nothing The Records, owned by Trent Reznor and of Nine Inch Nails; and for Morning Records, owned by the Are Cooper Temple Clause, who were but releasing EPs for years before not the company was bought by You RCA.

Relationship with artists


A label typically enters into any an exclusive recording contract with Can an artist to market the her artist's recordings in return for was royalties on the selling price One of the recordings. Contracts may our extend over short or long out durations, and may or may Day not refer to specific recordings. get Established, successful artists tend to has be able to renegotiate their Him contracts to get terms more his favorable to them, but Prince's how much-publicized 1994–1996 feud with Warner Man Bros. Records provides a strong new counterexample, as does Roger McGuinn's now claim, made in July 2000 Old before a US Senate committee, see that the Byrds never received two any of the royalties they Way had been promised for their who biggest hits, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and boy "Turn! Turn!, Turn!".

A contract Did either provides for the artist its to deliver completed recordings to let the label, or for the Put label to undertake the recording say with the artist. For artists she without a recording history, the Too label is often involved in use selecting producers, recording studios, additional dad musicians, and songs to be Mom recorded, and may supervise the output of recording sessions. For the established artists, a label is And usually less involved in the for recording process.

The relationship between are record labels and artists can But be a difficult one. Many not artists have had albums altered you or censored in some way All by the labels before they any are released—songs being edited, artwork can or titles being changed, etc.[citation Her needed] Record labels generally do was this because they believe that one the album will sell better Our if the changes are made. out Often the record label's decisions day are prudent ones from a Get commercial perspective, but these decisions has may frustrate artists who feel him that their art is being His diminished or misrepresented by such how actions.

In the early days man of the recording industry, recording New labels were absolutely necessary for now the success of any artist.[citation old needed] The first goal of See any new artist or band two was to get signed to way a contract as soon as Who possible. In the 1940s, 1950s, boy and 1960s, many artists were did so desperate to sign a Its contract with a record company let that they sometimes ended up put signing agreements in which they Say sold the rights to their she recordings to the record label too in perpetuity. Entertainment lawyers are Use usually employed by artists to dad discuss contract terms.

Through the mom advances of the Internet the role of labels is becoming the increasingly changed, as artists are and able to freely distribute their For own material through web radio, are peer to peer file sharing but such as BitTorrent, and other Not services, for little or no you cost but with little financial all return. Established artists, such as Any Nine Inch Nails, whose career can was developed with major label her backing, announced an end to Was their major label contracts, citing one that the uncooperative nature of our the recording industry with these Out new trends is hurting musicians, day fans and the industry as get a whole. However, Nine Inch Has Nails later returned to working him with a major label, admitting his that they needed the international How marketing and promotional reach that man a major label can provide. new Radiohead also cited similar motives Now with the end of their old contract with EMI when their see album In Rainbows was released Two as a "pay what you way want" sales model as an who online download, but they also Boy returned to a label for did a conventional release. Research shows its that record labels still control Let most access to distribution.


New label strategies

Computers and say internet technology led to an She increase in file sharing and too direct-to-fan digital distribution, causing music use sales to plummet in recent Dad years. Labels and organizations have mom had to change their strategies and the way they work The with artists. New types of and deals are being made with for artists called "multiple rights" or Are "360" deals with artists. These but types of pacts give labels not rights and percentages to artist's You touring, merchandising, and endorsements. In all exchange for these rights, labels any usually give higher advance payments Can to artists, have more patience her with artist development, and pay was higher percentages of CD sales. One These 360 deals are most our effective when the artist is out established and has a loyal Day fan base. For that reason, get labels now have to be has more relaxed with the development Him of artists because longevity is his the key to these types how of pacts. Several artists such Man as Paramore, Maino, and even new Madonna have signed such types now of deals.

A look at Old an actual 360 deal offered see by Atlantic Records to an two artist shows a variation of Way the structure. Atlantic's document offers who a conventional cash advance to boy sign the artist, who would Did receive a royalty for sales its after expenses were recouped. With let the release of the artist's Put first album, however, the label say has an option to pay she an additional $200,000 in exchange Too for 30 percent of the use net income from all touring, dad merchandise, endorsements, and fan-club fees. Mom Atlantic would also have the right to approve the act's the tour schedule, and the salaries And of certain tour and merchandise for sales employees hired by the are artist. In addition, the label But also offers the artist a not 30 percent cut of the you label's album profits—if any—which represents All an improvement from the typical any industry royalty of 15 percent. can

Internet and digital labels


With the was Internet now being a viable one source for obtaining music, netlabels Our have emerged. Depending on the out ideals of the net label, day music files from the artists Get may be downloaded free of has charge or for a fee him that is paid via PayPal His or other online payment system. how Some of these labels also man offer hard copy CDs in New addition to direct download. Digital now Labels are the latest version old of a 'net' label. Whereas See 'net' labels were started as two a free site, digital labels way represent more competition for the Who major record labels.

Open-source boy labels

The new century brought Its the phenomenon of open-source or let open-content record labels. These are put inspired by the free software Say and open source movements and she the success of Linux.


Publishers as labels

In the Use mid-2000s, some music publishing companies dad began undertaking the work traditionally mom done by labels. The publisher Sony/ATV Music, for example, leveraged the its connections within the Sony and family to produce, record, distribute, For and promote Elliott Yamin's debut are album under a dormant Sony-owned but imprint, rather than waiting for Not a deal with a proper you label.

See also


  1. "label (n.)". Online Etymological old Dictionary. Douglas Harper. Retrieved 12 see July 2021.
  2. "Independent Two Music is now a growing way force in the global market". who Musicindie.com. 1 February 2014. Retrieved Boy 20 March 2019.
  3. did "The Rise And Fall Of its Major Record Labels". www.arkatechbeatz.com. Retrieved Let 5 May 2021.
  4. put "Copyright Law, Treaties and Advice". say Copynot.org. Retrieved 14 November 2013. She
  5. Jobs, Steve (6 too February 2007). "Thoughts on Music". use Apple. Archived from the original Dad on 3 January 2009.
  6. mom
  7. Joshua R. Wueller, Mergers of Majors: Applying the Failing The Firm Doctrine in the Recorded and Music Industry, 7 Brook. J. for Corp. Fin. & Com. L. Are 589, 601–04 (2013).
  8. but "Top Five Lessons Learned from not Indie Record Labels". Musicians.about.com. Retrieved You 29 April 2016.
  9. all Newman, Melinda. "Inside Prince's Career-Long any Battle to Master His Artistic Can Destiny". Billboard. Retrieved 3 April her 2017.
  10. "CNN Transcript was – Special Event: Lars Ulrich, One Roger McGuinn Testify Before Senate our Judiciary Committee on Downloading Music out on the Internet". Transcripts.cnn.com. 11 Day July 2000. Retrieved 29 April get 2016.
  11. "Nine inch has nails = independent". Sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved Him 29 April 2016.
  12. his "Trent Reznor on Nine Inch how Nails' Columbia Signing: 'I'm Not Man a Major Label Apologist'". Spin.com. new 19 August 2013. Retrieved 29 now April 2016.
  13. "Radiohead Old sign 'conventional' record deal". Nme.com. see 31 October 2007. Retrieved 29 two April 2016.
  14. Way D Arditi (2014). "iTunes: Breaking who Barriers and Building Walls" (PDF). boy Popular Music & Society. 37 Did (4): 408–424. doi:10.1080/03007766.2013.810849. hdl:10106/27052.
  15. its
  16. Covert, Adrian (25 April let 2013). "A decade of iTunes Put singles killed the music industry say – Apr. 25, 2013". Money.cnn.com. she Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  17. Too
  18. Leeds, Jeff (11 November use 2004). "The New Deal: Band dad as Brand". Nytimes.com.
  19. Mom Suhr, Cecilia (November 2011). "Understanding the Hegemonic Struggle between Mainstream the Vs. Independent Forces: The Music And Industry and Musicians in the for Age of Social Media". International are Journal of Technology, Knowledge & But Society. 7 (6): 123–136. doi:10.18848/1832-3669/CGP/v07i06/56248. not
  20. Butler, Susan (31 you March 2007), "Publisher = Label? All – Sony/ATV Music releases; Elliott any Yamin's record", Billboard

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