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Record label


A record label is a brand created by companies that specialize in manufacturing, distributing and promoting audio and video recordings, on various formats including compact discs, LPs, DVD-Audio, SACDs, and cassettes. The name derives from the paper label at the center of an analog disc record.

Most major record labels are owned by a few large multinational companies that make up the almost all of the global recording industry, although there is a recent resurgence in independent record labels. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Record_label [Jul 2004]

Some record labels

Studio One!

  • Turbo records label that issued Wood Brass and Steel's underground hit Funkanova
  • Salsoul records Salsoul is a must hear for any serious disco fan
  • Gold Mind records Walter Gibbons disco mixes.
  • Strata East other good jazz/kozmigroov labels are Tribe records, Black Jazz records, Perception records, Inner City records, ...
  • Prelude records Francois Kevorkian and disco.
  • West End records Re-opened in the late nineties, run with love by Mel Cheren.
  • Wackies New York eighties reggae label.
  • Trax Chicago had an independent pressing plant and it put out the first underground hits of house music on Trax records.
  • Kult
  • 99 Records New York minimalistic funk label (home of ESG and Liquid Liquid)
  • Nite Grooves records go for anything by Joe Clausell, Mondo Grosso, ...
  • Nuphonic records Dave Hill, Faze Action, ... UK
  • Sleeping Bag Records proto house
  • Black Ark records
  • Mericana salsa
  • Nuphonic house
  • Jump Street records proto house
  • Easy Street Records proto house

    The big four record labels

    They are commonly referred to as the 'majors'. The "Big Four" record companies which hold over 75% of the market share ($25 billion market). (Compare with the "Big Six" film companies.) These are:
    • Universal Music Group ($7 billion revenue), which includes A&M, Decca/London, Deutsche Grammophon, Island/Def Jam, MCA, Motown, Philips, Rampagge, and others;
    • Sony BMG Music Entertainment ($5 billion), which includes American Columbia, Epic, Arista, Jive, Ravenous, J, RCA and others;
    • EMI Group ($4 billion), which includes Angel, Blue Note, Capitol, European Columbia, Elektrola, Odeon, Parlophone, Pathé Marconi, Virgin, Positiva and others;
    • Warner Music Group (a.k.a. WEA) ($2.5 billion), which includes Asylum, Elektra, Erato, Atlantic, Sire, Sub Pop (49% Warner ownership), Reprise, Rhino and others.
    These are global giants in the music and entertainment industry, who as of 2003 control 70-80% of the worldwide music output. They have bought, merged, absorbed, or operated many labels. [Mar 2006]

    See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_record_labels

    Independent record label

    The concept of an independent record label is a record label perceived as operating outside the sphere of the 'major' record labels, which is to say the few record companies which dominate the recorded music industry in the West. The boundaries are often blurred however, not only because some independent record labels - particularly when they are successful - have often been co-opted as subsidiaries of major labels; additionally, successfully functioning independent record labels also rely in part on international licensing deals, and other deals, with major record labels.

    Not surprisingly, once independent labels gained some cachet in the late 1970s, major labels also created apparently 'independent' labels which were typically simply facades. Such labels - which would sometimes operate away from the parent company - might be created for one artist, or for the purposes of signing artists under different contractual arrangements to those who were signed to the parent label. Boutique (aka vanity) labels will also be created for bands or for particular record industry identities. In all cases, 'independence' is in the eye of the beholder.

    In the new century, independent record labels are changing into a new form with the emergence of open source record labels. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_record_label

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