Record label a record label



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Record label

record label is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Often, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks; coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos; conducts talent scouting and development of new artists ("artists and repertoire" or "A&R"); and maintains contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information.

Music industry

Within the music industry, most recording artists have become increasingly reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on MP3, radio, and television, with publicists that assist performers in positive media reports to market their merchandise, and make it available via stores and other media outlets. The Internet has increasingly been a way that some artists avoid costs and gain new audiences, as well as the use of videos in some cases, to sell their products.

Major versus independent record labels

Record labels may be small, localized, and "independent" ("indie"), or they may be part of a large international media group, or somewhere in between. As of 2012 there are only three labels that can be referred to as "major labelsA "sublabel" is a label that is part of a larger record company but trades under a different name.



Imprint

When a label is strictly a trademark or brand, not a company, then it is usually called an "imprint", a term used for the same concept in publishing. An imprint is sometimes marketed as being a "project", "unit", or "division" of a record label company, even though there is no legal business structure associated with the imprint.



Major label



Major labels 1988–1999 (Big Six)

  1. Warner Music Group

  2. EMI

  3. Sony (known as CBS Records until January 1991 then known as Sony Music thereafter)

  4. BMG

  5. Universal Music Group

  6. PolyGram

Major labels 1999–2004 (Big Five)

  1. Warner Music Group

  2. EMI

  3. Sony

  4. BMG

  5. Universal Music Group (PolyGram absorbed into UMG)

Major labels 2004–2008 (Big Four)

  1. Universal Music Group

  2. Sony BMG (Sony and BMG joint-venture)

  3. Warner Music Group

  4. EMI

Major labels 2008–2012 (Big Four)

  1. Universal Music Group

  2. Sony Music Entertainment (BMG absorbed into Sony)

  3. Warner Music Group

  4. EMI

Major labels since 2012 (Big Three)

  1. Universal Music Group (part of EMI's recorded music division absorbed into UMG)

  2. Sony Music Entertainment (EMI Music Publishing absorbed into Sony/ATV Music Publishing)

  3. Warner Music Group (EMI's Parlophone and EMI/Virgin Classics labels absorbed into WMG on 1 July 2013)[2]

Record labels are often under the control of a corporate umbrella organization called a "music group". A music group is typically owned by an international conglomerate "holding company", which often has non-music divisions as well. A music group controls and consists of music publishing companies, record (sound recording) manufacturers, record distributors, and record labels. As of 2007, the "big four" music groups control about 70% of the world music market, and about 80% of the United States music market.[3][4]Record companies (manufacturers, distributors, and labels) may also comprise a "record group" which is, in turn, controlled by a music group. The constituent companies in a music group or record group are sometimes marketed as being "divisions" of the group.

Independent

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

Independent labels are often considered more artist-friendly. Though they may have less financial clout, indie labels typically offer larger artist royalty with 50% profit-share agreement, aka 50-50 deal, not uncommon.

Sublabel

Music collectors often use the term sublabel to refer to either an imprint or a subordinate label company (such as those within a group). For example Universal Music Group own or has a joint share in a number of other record labels such as Island Records – a sublabel of Island Records is 4th & B'way Records which specialises in Hip Hop music.



Vanity labels

A vanity label is an informal name given sometimes to a record label founded as a wholly or partially owned subsidiary of another, larger and better established (at least at the time of the vanity label's founding) record label, where the subsidiary label is (at least nominally) controlled by a successful recording artist, designed to allow this artist to release music by other artists they admire.

The parent label handles the production and distribution and funding of the vanity label, but the album is usually released with the vanity label brand name prominent. Usually, the artist/head of the vanity label is signed to the parent label, and this artist's own recordings will be released under the vanity label's brand name.

Creating a vanity label can be an attractive idea for the parent label primarily as a "perk" to keep a successful artist happy and a venue to bring fellow artists to the public's attention.

Examples of Vanity Labels:

N.E.E.T. Recordings

M.I.A.

2008

Nguzunguzu
Sleigh Bells
Rye Rye

XL Recordings, Interscope Records

active

Search & Destroy

Fightstar

2009

Fightstar

Gut Records

active (2009)

Roc Nation

Jay-Z

2009

Jay-Z
J. Cole
Wale
Melanie Fiona
Jay Electronica
Rita Ora

Sony Music Entertainment/Atlantic Recording Corporation

Active (since 2009)

Ticker Tape

Radiohead

2011

Radiohead

XL Recordings

active

222 Records

Adam Levine

2012

Matthew Morrison
Diego Boneta
Tony Lucca

Independent

active

Little Will-E Records

Ronnie Dunn

2013

Ronnie Dunn

Independent

active

Metamorphosis Records [4]

Katy Perry

2014

Ferras

Capitol Records

inactive

Nash Icon Music

Scott Borchetta

2014

Reba McEntire
Ronnie Dunn
Martina McBride

Big Machine Records

active


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