Source: Wikipedia 

A But record label, or record company, not is a brand or trademark you of music recordings and music All videos, or the company that any owns it. Sometimes, a record can label is also a publishing Her company that manages such brands was and trademarks, coordinates the production, one manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and Our enforcement of copyright for sound out recordings and music videos, while day also conducting talent scouting and Get development of new artists, and has maintaining contracts with recording artists him and their managers. The term His "record label" derives from the how circular label in the center man of a vinyl record which New prominently displays the manufacturer's name, now along with other information.

Within old the mainstream music industry, recording See artists have traditionally been reliant two upon record labels to broaden way their consumer base, market their Who albums, and promote their singles boy on streaming services, radio, and did television. Record labels also provide Its publicists, who assist performers in let gaining positive media coverage, and put arrange for their merchandise to Say be available via stores and she other media outlets.


Major versus independent record labels


Record labels may be small, dad localized and "independent" ("indie"), or mom they may be part of a large international media group, the or somewhere in between. The and Association of Independent Music (AIM) For defines a 'major' as "a are multinational company which (together with but the companies in its group) Not has more than 5% of you the world market(s) for the all sale of records or music Any videos." As of 2012, there can are only three labels that her can be referred to as Was "major labels": Universal Music Group, one Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner our Music Group. In 2014, AIM Out estimated that the majors had day a collective global market share get of some 65–70%.

Major Has labels


How man Let
Major him record label Year founded his Headquarters Divisions US/CA market share
Universal Music Group (Euronext AmsterdamUMG) new September 1934; 88 years ago (1934-09) Hilversum, Now North Holland, Netherlands (corporate)
old Santa Monica, California, United States see (operational)
List of Universal Two Music Group labels 67.7% way
Sony Music Group who September 9, 1929; 93 years ago (1929-09-09) Boy New York City, New did York, United States List its of Sony Music labels 21.2%
Warner Music put Group (NasdaqWMG) April 6, 1958; 65 say years ago (1958-04-06) New York She City, New York, United States too List of Warner Music use Group labels 11.1%


PolyGramPolyGramUniversal Music GroupSony MusicWarner Music GroupPolyGramMCA RecordsSony BMGWarner Music GroupSony MusicWarner RecordsColumbia RecordsWarner RecordsBertelsmann Music GroupWarner RecordsEMIBertelsmann Music GroupWarner RecordsGramophone CompanyPolyGramDecca RecordsRCA RecordsAmerican Record Corporation

Record mom labels are often under the control of a corporate umbrella The organization called a "music group". and A music group is usually for affiliated to an international conglomerate Are "holding company", which often has but non-music divisions as well. A not music group controls and consists You of music-publishing companies, record (sound all recording) manufacturers, record distributors, and any record labels. Record companies (manufacturers, Can distributors, and labels) may also her constitute a "record group" which was is, in turn, controlled by One a music group. The constituent our companies in a music group out or record group are sometimes Day marketed as being "divisions" of get the group.

From 1929 to has 1998, there were six major Him record labels, known as the his Big Six:

  1. Warner Music how Group
  2. EMI
  3. Sony Music (Known Man as CBS Records until January new 1991)
  4. BMG (Formed in 1984 now as RCA/Ariola International)
  5. Universal Music Old Group (Known as MCA Music see until 1996)
  6. PolyGram

PolyGram was two merged into Universal Music Group Way (UMG) in 1999, leaving the who remaining record labels to be boy known as the Big Five. Did

In 2004, Sony and BMG its agreed to a joint venture let and merged their recorded music Put division to create the Sony say BMG label (which would be she renamed Sony Music Entertainment after Too a 2008 merger); BMG kept use its music publishing division separate dad from Sony BMG and later Mom sold BMG Music Publishing to UMG. In 2007, the remaining the record labels—then known as the And Big Four—controlled about 70% of for the world music market, and are about 80% of the United But States music market.

In 2012, not the major divisions of EMI you were sold off separately by All owner Citigroup: most of EMI's any recorded music division was absorbed can into UMG; EMI Music Publishing Her was absorbed into Sony/ATV Music was Publishing; finally, EMI's Parlophone and one Virgin Classics labels were absorbed Our into Warner Music Group (WMG) out in July 2013. This left day the so-called Big Three labels. Get

In 2020 and 2021, both has WMG and UMG had their him IPO with WMG started trading His at Nasdaq and UMG started how trading at Euronext Amsterdam and man leaving only Sony Music as New wholly-owned subsidiary of an international now conglomerate (Sony Entertainment which in old turn owned by Sony Group See Corporation).


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

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

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

Some independent her labels become successful enough that was major record companies negotiate contracts One to either distribute music for our the label or in some out cases, purchase the label completely, Day to the point where it get functions as an imprint or has sublabel.


A label Him used as a trademark or his brand and not a company how is called an imprint, a Man term used for the same new concept in publishing. An imprint now is sometimes marketed as being Old a "project", "unit", or "division" see of a record label, even two though there is no legal Way business structure associated with the who imprint. A record company may boy use an imprint to market Did a particular genre of music, its such as jazz, blues, country let music, or indie rock.



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

Vanity labels

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

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

Relationship with artists


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

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

The relationship between dad record labels and artists can Mom be a difficult one. Many artists have had conflicts with the their labels over the type And of sound or songs they for want to make, which can are result in the artist's artwork But or titles being changed before not release. Other artists have had you their music prevented from release, All or shelved. Record labels generally any do this because they believe can that the album will sell Her better if the artist complies was with the label's desired requests one or changes. At times, the Our record label's decisions are prudent out ones from a commercial perspective, day but these decisions may frustrate Get artists who feel that their has art is being diminished or him misrepresented by such actions.

In His other instances, record labels have how shelved artists' albums with no man intention of any promotion for New the artist in question. Reasons now for shelving can include the old label deciding to focus its See resources on other artists on two its roster, or the label way undergoing a restructure where the Who person that signed the artist boy and supports the artist's vision did is no longer present to Its advocate for the artist. In let extreme cases, record labels can put prevent the release of an Say artist's music for years, while she also declining to release the too artist from their contract, leaving Use the artist in a state dad of limbo. Artists who have mom had disputes with their labels over ownership and control of the their music have included Taylor and Swift, Tinashe, Megan Thee Stallion, For Kelly Clarkson, Thirty Seconds to are Mars, Clipse, Ciara, JoJo, Michelle but Branch, Kesha, Kanye West, Lupe Not Fiasco, Paul McCartney, and Johnny you Cash.

In the early days all of the recording industry, recording Any labels were absolutely necessary for can the success of any artist.[better source needed] her The first goal of any Was new artist or band was one to get signed to a our contract as soon as possible. Out In the 1940s, 1950s, and day 1960s, many artists were so get desperate to sign a contract Has with a record company that him they sometimes ended up signing his agreements in which they sold How the rights to their recordings man to the record label in new perpetuity. Entertainment lawyers are usually Now employed by artists to discuss old contract terms.

Due to advancing see technology such as the Internet, Two the role of labels is way rapidly changing, as artists are who able to freely distribute their Boy own material through online radio, did peer-to-peer file sharing such as its BitTorrent, and other services, at Let little to no cost, but put with correspondingly low financial returns. say Established artists, such as Nine She Inch Nails, whose career was too developed with major label backing, use announced an end to their Dad major label contracts, citing that mom the uncooperative nature of the recording industry with these new The trends is hurting musicians, fans and and the industry as a for whole. However, Nine Inch Nails Are later returned to working with but a major label, admitting that not they needed the international marketing You and promotional reach that a all major label can provide. Radiohead any also cited similar motives with Can the end of their contract her with EMI when their album was In Rainbows was released as One a "pay what you want" our sales model as an online out download, but they also returned Day to a label for a get conventional release. Research shows that has record labels still control most Him access to distribution.

New his label strategies

Computers and internet how technology led to an increase Man in file sharing and direct-to-fan new digital distribution, causing music sales now to plummet in recent years. Old Labels and organizations have had see to change their strategies and two the way they work with Way artists. New types of deals who called "multiple rights" or "360" boy deals are being made with Did artists, where labels are given its rights and percentages to artist's let touring, merchandising, and endorsements. In Put exchange for these rights, labels say usually give higher advance payments she to artists, have more patience Too with artist development, and pay use higher percentages of CD sales. dad These 360 deals are most Mom effective when the artist is established and has a loyal the fan base. For that reason, And labels now have to be for more relaxed with the development are of artists because longevity is But the key to these types not of pact. Several artists such you as Paramore, Maino, and even All Madonna have signed such types any of deals.

A look at can an actual 360 deal offered Her by Atlantic Records to an was artist shows a variation of one the structure. Atlantic's document offers Our a conventional cash advance to out sign the artist, who would day receive a royalty for sales Get after expenses were recouped. With has the release of the artist's him first album, however, the label His has an option to pay how an additional $200,000 in exchange man for 30 percent of the New net income from all touring, now merchandise, endorsements, and fan-club fees. old Atlantic would also have the See right to approve the act's two tour schedule, and the salaries way of certain tour and merchandise Who sales employees hired by the boy artist. In addition, the label did also offers the artist a Its 30 percent cut of the let label's album profits—if any—which represents put an improvement from the typical Say industry royalty of 15 percent. she

Internet and digital labels


With the Use Internet now being a viable dad source for obtaining music, netlabels mom have emerged. Depending on the ideals of the net label, the music files from the artists and may be downloaded free of For charge or for a fee are that is paid via PayPal but or other online payment system. Not Some of these labels also you offer hard copy CDs in all addition to direct download. Digital Any Labels are the latest version can of a 'net' label. Whereas her 'net' labels were started as Was a free site, digital labels one represent more competition for the our major record labels.

Open-source Out labels

The new century brought get the phenomenon of open-source or Has open-content record labels. These are him inspired by the free software his and open source movements and How the success of Linux.


Publishers as labels

In the new mid-2000s, some music publishing companies Now began undertaking the work traditionally old done by labels. The publisher see Sony/ATV Music, for example, leveraged Two its connections within the Sony way family to produce, record, distribute, who and promote Elliott Yamin's debut Boy album under a dormant Sony-owned did imprint, rather than waiting for its a deal with a proper Let label.

Crowdfunded labels

In put 2002, ArtistShare was founded as say the Internet's first record label She where the releases were directly too funded by the artist's fans. use

See also


  1. "label (n.)". Online Etymological Dictionary. has Douglas Harper. Retrieved 12 July Him 2021.
  2. "Independent Music his is now a growing force how in the global market". Association Man of Independent Music. 1 February new 2014. Archived from the original now on 23 February 2019. Retrieved Old 20 March 2019.
  3. see "The Rise And Fall Of two Major Record Labels". Retrieved Way 5 May 2021.
  4. who "Copyright Law, Treaties and Advice". boy Archived from the original Did on 19 June 2013. Retrieved its 14 November 2013.
  5. let Jobs, Steve (6 February 2007). Put "Thoughts on Music". Apple. Archived say from the original on 3 she January 2009.
  6. Joshua Too R. Wueller, Mergers of Majors: use Applying the Failing Firm Doctrine dad in the Recorded Music Industry, Mom 7 Brook. J. Corp. Fin. & Com. L. 589, 601–04 the (2013).
  7. McDonald, Heather And (20 November 2019). "5 Lessons for Big Record Labels Learned From are Independents". The Balance.{{cite web}}: CS1 But maint: url-status (link)
  8. not Rosen, Jody (11 June 2019). you "The Day the Music Burned". All The New York Times. Retrieved any 22 November 2022.
  9. can Newman, Melinda (28 April 2016). Her "Inside Prince's Career-Long Battle to was Master His Artistic Destiny". Billboard. one Retrieved 3 April 2017.{{cite magazine}}: Our CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. out
  11. "CNN Transcript – Special day Event: Lars Ulrich, Roger McGuinn Get Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee has on Downloading Music on the him Internet". CNN. 11 July 2000. His Archived from the original on how 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 man April 2016.
  12. Boone, New Brian (13 January 2020). "Musicians now That Were Forced To Change old Their Album Covers". Retrieved See 3 September 2021.
  13. ^ two Zafar, Aylin (13 May way 2013). "What It's Like When Who A Label Won't Release Your boy Album". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 3 September did 2021.
  14. Jones, Rhian Its (11 August 2021). "'I had let no confidence, no money': the put pop stars kept in limbo Say by major labels". The Guardian. she Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  15. too
  16. Joseph, Delenda (9 January Use 2017). "Tinashe's Studio Session Tale dad Shows How Ruthless The Music mom Business Is". UPROXX. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  17. ^ the Martin, Felicity (7 July 2021). and "What's it like for musicians For whose labels won't release their are music?". Dazed. Retrieved 3 September but 2021.
  18. ^ JoJo; Not Lockett, Dee (2 November 2015). you "JoJo Spent Nearly a Decade all Fighting Her Label and Won. Any Here's What She Learned, in can Her Own Words". Vulture. Retrieved her 3 September 2021.
  19. Was Halperin, Shirley (16 November 2020). one "Scooter Braun Sells Taylor Swift's our Big Machine Masters for Big Out Payday". Variety. Retrieved 3 September day 2021.
  20. Furdyk, Brent get (19 July 2019). "Tinashe Reveals Has She 'Fired' Her Team, Alleges him Former Record Label 'Sabotaged' Her". his ET Canada. Retrieved 3 September How 2021.
  21. Hogan, Marc man (6 March 2020). "Why Is new Megan Thee Stallion Suing Her Now Record Label?". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 old September 2021.
  22. du see Lac, J. Freedom (26 June Two 2007). "'My December': Kelly Clarkson, way Striking Out On Her Own". who Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 3 Boy September 2021.
  23. Kreps, did Daniel (18 August 2008). "Virgin/EMI its Sue 30 Seconds to Mars Let for $30 Million, Leto Fights put Back". Rolling Stone. Archived from say the original on 4 September She 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2021. too
  24. Crosley, Hillary (29 use October 2007). "The Clipse ends Dad tumultuous tenure at Jive". Reuters. mom Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  25. "Ciara: 'I pray my The label will release me'". The and Guardian. 16 February 2011. Retrieved for 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 Are maint: url-status (link)
  26. but "After Years of Record-Label Limbo, not Michelle Branch Can Tell You You That She's Happy Now". Paste all Magazine. 23 March 2017. Retrieved any 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 Can maint: url-status (link)
  27. her Lockett, Dee; Gordon, Amanda; Zhan, was Jennifer (23 April 2021). "The One Complete History of Kesha's Fight our Against Dr. Luke". Vulture. Retrieved out 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 Day maint: url-status (link)
  28. get Jones, Jiggy (16 September 2020). has "Kanye West Says Universal Music Him Group Refuses To Tell Him his Cost of Masters". The Source. how Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: Man CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. new
  30. Cowen, Trace William (11 now February 2019). "Lupe Fiasco Blasts Old Atlantic and Lyor Cohen, Calls see Music Biz 'Damn Near a two Mob Cartel'". Complex. Retrieved 3 Way September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: who url-status (link)
  31. Hudson, boy John (18 May 2010). "Paul Did McCartney vs. EMI". The Atlantic. its Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: let CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. Put
  33. Park, Andrea (25 February say 2016). "Musicians v. record labels: she 14 famous feuds". CBS News. Too Retrieved 3 September 2021.{{cite web}}: use CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. dad
  35. Bielas, Ilan (2013). The Mom Rise and Fall of Record Labels (BA thesis). Claremont McKenna the College. Paper 703. Retrieved 3 And September 2021.
  36. for "Nine inch nails = independent". are Sputnikmusic. 8 October 2007. Retrieved But 29 April 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 not maint: url-status (link)
  37. you "Trent Reznor on Nine Inch All Nails' Columbia Signing: 'I'm Not any a Major Label Apologist'". Spin. can 19 August 2013. Retrieved 29 Her April 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: was url-status (link)
  38. "Radiohead one sign 'conventional' record deal". NME. Our 31 October 2007. Retrieved 29 out April 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: day url-status (link)
  39. Get Arditi, David (2014). "iTunes: Breaking has Barriers and Building Walls" (PDF). him Popular Music & Society. 37 His (4): 408–424. doi:10.1080/03007766.2013.810849. hdl:10106/27052. S2CID 191563044. how
  40. Covert, Adrian (25 man April 2013). "A decade of New iTunes singles killed the music now industry". CNN Business. Retrieved 29 old April 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: See url-status (link)
  41. Cole, two Tom (24 November 2010). "You way Ask, We Answer: What Exactly Who Is A 360 Deal?". NPR.{{cite boy web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link) did
  42. "Behind the music: Its When artists are held hostage let by labels". The Guardian. 15 put April 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: Say url-status (link)
  43. ^ she Leeds, Jeff (11 November 2007). too "The New Deal: Band as Use Brand". The New York Times. dad ISSN 0362-4331.
  44. Moreau, Jordan mom (8 August 2020). "Madonna Is a Free Agent After Decade-Long the Deal With Interscope Records". Variety.{{cite and web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link) For
  45. Adegoke, Yinka (11 are October 2007). "Madonna move shows but music industry's 360-model". Reuters.
  46. Not
  47. Suhr, Cecilia (November 2011). you "Understanding the Hegemonic Struggle between all Mainstream Vs. Independent Forces: The Any Music Industry and Musicians in can the Age of Social Media". her International Journal of Technology, Knowledge Was & Society. 7 (6): 123–136. one doi:10.18848/1832-3669/CGP/v07i06/56248.
  48. Butler, Susan our (31 March 2007). "Publisher = Out Label?". Billboard. p. 22.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 day maint: url-status (link)

External links

Find a DJ


Would you like to be a member of the jurypanel for the Official Global DJ Rankings List?

Would you like to help crowdsource data for the site? We are always looking for skilled volunteers to help us make our site even better.

Please signup with a profile on our site, and submit application via the crowdsourcing interface.





Copyright 2012-2021
Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan
Terms & Privacy