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Encyclopedia > Record label

In the music industry, a record label can be a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. It is more commonly the company that manages such brands and trademarks; coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, promotion, and enforcement of copyright protection of sound recordings and music videos; conducts A&R; and maintains contracts with recording artists and their managers. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... The music industry is the industry that creates, performs, promotes, and preserves music. ... For other uses, see Brand (disambiguation). ... “(TM)” redirects here. ... Next big thing redirects here. ... Methods and media for sound recording are varied and have undergone significant changes between the first time sound was actually recorded for later playback until now. ... A music video is a short film or video that accompanies a complete piece of music, most commonly a song. ... Look up company in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Manufacturing (from Latin manu factura, making by hand) is the use of tools and labor to make things for use or sale. ... Wikibooks [[wikibooks:|]] has more about this subject: Marketing Distribution is one of the 4 aspects of marketing. ... Wikibooks has more about this subject: Marketing Scale model of a Wheaties cereal box at a pep rally Promotion is one of the four key aspects of the marketing mix. ... Not to be confused with copywriting. ... In the music industry, Artists and Repertoire (A&R) is the division of a record label company that is responsible for scouting and artist development. ... A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties that the law will enforce. ...


Generally, recorded music needs a record label in order to be widely known, reviewed, heard on media outlets such as radio or television, and in order to be available to buy in stores, although the Internet has changed this to some extent.


Record labels may be small, localized, and "independent", or they may be part of a large international media group, or somewhere in between. The largest 4 record labels are called major labels.[1] A sublabel is a label that is part of, but trades under a different name from, a larger record company. multinational corporation (or transnational corporation) (MNC/TNC) is a corporation or enterprise that manages production establishments or delivers services in at least two countries. ...


The term "record label" originally referred to the circular label in the center of a vinyl record that prominently displayed the manufacturer's name, along with other information. A 12-inch record (left), a 7-inch record (right), and a CD (above) Two 7 singles (left), two colored 7 singles (middle), and two 7 singles with large spindle holes (right). ...

Contents

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 the publishing industry. 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. This article is about imprints in publishing. ...


Major labels (music groups)

  1. Warner Music Group
  2. EMI
  3. Sony BMG
  4. Universal Music Group

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 2005, the "big four" music groups control about 70% of the world music market, and about 80% of the United States music market. 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. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see EMI (disambiguation). ... Bertelsmann is a transnational media corporation founded in 1835, based in G tersloh, Germany. ... Universal Music Group (UMG) is the largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Conglomerate is the term used to describe a large company which consists of divisions of often seemingly unrelated businesses. ... For the band, see Big Brother and the Holding Company. ... The world music market, or global music market consists of record companies, labels and publishers that distribute recorded music products internationally and that often control the rights to those products. ...


Independent

Record companies and music publishers that are not under the control of the big four are generally considered to be independent (indie), even if they are large corporations with complex structures. Some prefer to use the term indie label to refer to only those independent labels that adhere to an arbitrary, ill-defined 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. In popular music, indie music (from independent) is any of a number of genres, scenes, subcultures and stylistic and cultural attributes, characterised by perceived independence from commercial pop music and mainstream culture and an autonomous, do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. ...


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, in the 1980s and 1990s, "4th & B'way" was a trademarked brand owned by Island Records Ltd. in the UK and by a subordinate branch, Island Records, Inc., in the United States. The center label on a 4th & Broadway record marketed in the U.S. would typically bear a 4th & B'way logo and would state in the fine print, "4th & B'way™, an Island Records, Inc. company". Collectors discussing labels as brands would say that 4th & B'way is a sublabel or imprint of just "Island" or "Island Records". Similarly, collectors who choose to treat corporations and trademarks as equivalent might say 4th & B'way is an imprint and/or sublabel of both Island Records, Ltd. and that company's sublabel, Island Records, Inc. However, such definitions are complicated by the corporate mergers that occurred in 1989 (when Island was sold to PolyGram) and 1998 (when PolyGram merged with Universal). Island remained registered as corporations in both the U.S. and UK, but control of its brands changed hands multiple times as new companies were formed, diminishing the corporation's distinction as the "parent" of any sublabels. Island Records is a record label that was founded by British record producers in Jamaica. ...


Vanity labels

Main article: Vanity label

Vanity labels are labels that bear an imprint that gives the impression of an artist's ownership or control, but in fact represent a standard artist/label relationship. In such an arrangement, the artist will control nothing more than the usage of the name on the label, but may enjoy a greater say in the packaging of his or her work. An example of such a label is the Neutron label owned by ABC while at Phonogram in Great Britain. At one point artist Lizzie Tear (under contract with ABC themselves) appeared on the imprint, but it was devoted almost entirely to ABC's offerings and is still used for their re-releases (though Phonogram owns the masters of all the work issued on the label). A vanity label is a term given to a situation where a famous recording artist is allowed to run a label within a label and release music by other artists he or she admires. ...


However, not all labels dedicated to particular artists are completely superficial in origin. Many artists, early in their careers, create their own labels which are later bought out by a bigger company. If this is the case it can sometimes give the artist greater freedom than if they were signed directly to the big label. There are many examples of this kind of label, such as nothing, owned by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails; Nitro, owned by Dexter Holland of The Offspring; and Morning Records, owned by The Cooper Temple Clause, who were releasing EPs for years before the company was bought by RCA. Nine Inch Nails (abbreviated as NIN) is an American industrial rock band, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio. ... For other uses, see Offspring (disambiguation). ... The Cooper Temple Clause is a six piece rock band originating from Reading, UK. Their debut album See this through and leave was released to great critical acclaim in 2002 and their follow up Kick up the fire and let the flames break loose was released in 2003. ... This article is about the former RCA Corporation. ...


Relationship with artists

A label typically enters into an exclusive recording contract with an artist to market the artist's recordings in return for royalties on the selling price of the recordings. Contracts may extend over short or long durations, and may or may not refer to specific recordings. Established, successful artists tend to be able to renegotiate their contracts to get terms more favorable to them, but Prince's much-publicized 1994–1996 feud with Warner Bros. provides a strong counterexample, as does Roger McGuinn's claim, made in July 2000 before a U.S. Senate committee, that The Byrds never received any of the royalties they had been promised for their biggest hits, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn".[1] A recording contract (commonly called a record deal) is a legal agreement between a record label and a recording artist (or group), where the artist makes a record (or series of records) for the label to sell and promote. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... James Roger McGuinn (known professionally as Roger McGuinn and born James Joseph McGuinn III on July 13, 1942) is a popular rock American singer-songwriter and guitarist of the 1960s and 1970s. ... The Byrds (formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1964) were an American rock band. ... Mr. ... Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


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


Although both parties allegedly need each other to survive, the relationship between record labels and artists can be a difficult one. Many artists have had albums altered or censored in some way by the labels before they are released—songs being edited, artwork or titles being changed, etc. Record labels generally do this because they believe that the album will sell better if the changes are made. Often the record label's decisions are prudent ones from a commercial perspective, but this typically frustrates the artist who feels that their artwork is being diminished or misrepresented by such actions.


In the early days of the recording industry, record labels were absolutely necessary for the success of any artist. The first goal of any new artist or band was to get signed to a contract as soon as possible. In the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, many artists were so desperate to sign a contract with a record company that they usually ended up signing a bad contract, sometimes giving away the rights to their music in the process. Entertainment lawyers are used by some to look over any contract before it is signed.[citation needed]


History

Industry consolidation

In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a phase of consolidation in the record industry that led to almost all major labels being owned by a very few multinational companies. CDs still flow through a handful of sources, with the majority of the sales going through the "big four" record labels. The online digital distribution of music shows some potential in breaking up the number of avenues for artists to find markets but the exact outcome is impossible to predict.[citation needed]


Resurgence of independent labels

In the 1990s, due to the widespread use of home studios, consumer recording technology, and the Internet, independent labels began to become more commonplace. Independent labels are often artist-owned (although not always), with a stated intent often being to control the quality of the artist's output. Independent labels usually do not enjoy the resources available to the "big four" and as such will often lag behind them in market shares. Often independent artists manage a return by recording for a much smaller production cost of a typical big label release. Sometimes they are able to recoup their initial advance even with much lower sales numbers.


On occasion, established artists, once their record contract has finished, move to an independent label. This often gives the combined advantage of name recognition and more control over one's music along with a larger portion of royalty profits. Singers Dolly Parton, Aimee Mann and Prince, among others, have gone this route. Historically, companies started in this manner have been re-absorbed into the major labels (two examples are Frank Sinatra's Reprise Records, which has been owned by Warner Music for some time now, and Herb Alpert's A&M Records, now owned by Universal Music Group). Similarly, Madonna's Maverick Records (started by Madonna with her manager and another partner) was to come under control of Warner Music when Madonna divested herself of controlling shares in the company. Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is a Grammy Award-winning country music singer/songwriter, author, actress and philanthropist. ... Aimee Mann (born September 8, 1960) is an American rock guitarist, bassist, singer, and noted songwriter. ... Princes look, circa 1983 Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958), known as from 1993 to 2000, is a popular and influential singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. ... Sinatra redirects here. ... Reprise Records is an American record label, owned by Warner Music Group, operated through Warner Bros. ... Warner Music Group is one of the Big Four record labels. ... Herbert Herb Alpert (born March 31, 1935) is an American musician most associated with the group variously known as Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass or as Herb Alperts Tijuana Brass or just TJB for short. ... A&M redirects here. ... This article is about the American entertainer. ... Maverick Recording Company, is an American record label owned and operated by Warner Music Group, and distributed through Warner Bros. ... In finance and economics, divestment or divestiture is the reduction of some kind of asset, for either financial or social goals. ...


There are many independent labels; folk singer Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe Records is often cited as an ideal example. The singer turned down lucrative contracts from several top-name labels in order to establish her own New York-based company. Constant touring resulted in noteworthy success for an act without significant major funding. Ani and others from the company have spoken on several occasions about their business model in hopes of encouraging others. Ani DiFranco (IPA: ) (born Angela Maria Difranco on September 23, 1970) is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter. ... Righteous Babe Records is an independent record label created by progressive folksinger Ani DiFranco in 1990 to release her own songs in lieu of being beholden to the whims and constraints of any mainstream record company. ...


Some independent labels become successful enough that major record companies negotiate contracts to either distribute music for the label or in some cases, purchase the label completely.


On the punk rock scene, the DIY ethic encourages bands to self-publish and self-distribute. This approach has been around since the early 1980s, in an attempt to stay true to the punk ideals of doing it yourself and not selling out to corporate profits and control. Such labels have a reputation for being fiercely uncompromising and especially unwilling to cooperate with the big six (now big four) record labels at all. One of the most notable and influential labels of the Do-It-Yourself attitude was SST Records, created by the band Black Flag. No labels wanted to release their material, so they simply created their own label to release not only their own material but the material of many other influential underground bands all over the country. Ian MacKaye's Dischord is often cited as a model of success in the DIY community, having survived for over twenty years with less than twelve employees at any one time. Punk rock is an anti-establishment music movement beginning around 1976 (although precursors can be found several years earlier), exemplified and popularised by The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned. ... The DIY ethic (do it yourself ethic) refers to the ethic of being self-reliant and doing things yourself as opposed to paying others to do it. ... Selling out refers to the compromising of ones integrity, morality and principles in exchange for money, success or other personal gain. ... The world music market, or global music market consists of record companies, labels and publishers that distribute recorded music products internationally and that often control the rights to those products. ... SST Records is a Lawndale, California based independent record label formed in 1978 in Long Beach, California by Black Flag founder/guitarist Greg Ginn. ... Black Flag was a hardcore punk band formed in 1976 in southern California, largely as the brainchild of Greg Ginn: the guitarist, primary songwriter and sole continuous member through multiple personnel changes. ... Ian Thomas Garner MacKaye (pronounced ), born April 16, 1962), is an American singer and guitarist. ... Dischord Records is a Washington, D.C.-based independent record label specializing in D.C.-area independent punk, hardcore, and post-hardcore music. ...


Internet and digital labels

Main article: Netlabel

With the Internet now being a viable source for obtaining music, netlabels have emerged. Depending on the ideals of the net label, music files from the artists may be downloaded free of charge or for a fee that is paid via Paypal or an online payment system. Some of these labels also offer hard copy CDs in addition to direct download. Most net labels acknowledge the Creative Commons licensing system thus reserving certain rights for the artist. Digital Labels are the latest version of a 'net' label. Whereas 'net' labels were started as a free site or just a hobby point, digital labels seek to give the major record industry a real run for their money. A netlabel (also online label, web label or MP3 label) is a record label that distributes its music primarily through digital audio formats (mainly MP3 or Ogg Vorbis) over the Internet. ... A netlabel (also online label, web label or MP3 label) is a record label that distributes its music primarily through digital audio formats (mainly MP3 or Ogg Vorbis) over the Internet. ... eBays North First Street satellite office campus (home to PayPals corporate headquarters) PayPal is an e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. ... The Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative work available for others legally to build upon and share. ...


Open source labels

The new century brings the phenomenon of open-source or open-content record label. These are inspired by the free software and open source movements and the success of GNU/Linux. Open source record labels are a reaction against what some musicians see as corporate control of music via means of copyright. ... Free software is software that can be used, studied, and modified without restriction, and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified form either without restriction, or with minimal restrictions only to ensure that further recipients can also do these things. ... Open source refers to projects that are open to the public and which draw on other projects that are freely available to the general public. ... This article is about operating systems that use the Linux kernel. ...


See also

This is a list of record labels. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Promotional recording. ...

References

External links

MP3 Newswire is one of the earliest news sites focused on digital media technology. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Record label - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1018 words)
Most major record labels are owned by a few large multinational companies (Big Four record labels) that make up the almost all of the global recording industry, although there is a recent resurgence in independent record labels.
Often the record label's decisions are correct ones from a commercial perspective, but this typically frustrates the artist who feels that their artwork is being destroyed.
Such labels have a reputation for being fiercely uncompromising and especially unwilling to cooperate with the Big Four record labels at all.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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