SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT (known professionally as SONY MUSIC and abbreviated as SME) is an American music company owned by Sony that is incorporated as a general partnership of Sony Music Holdings Inc. through Sony Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America . The company was first founded in 1929 as American Record Corporation and renamed Columbia Recording Corporation in 1938, following its acquisition by the Columbia Broadcasting System . In 1966, the company was reorganized to become CBS Records. Sony Corporation bought the company in 1987 and renamed it Sony Music Entertainment in 1991.
In 2004, Sony and Bertelsmann established a 50-50 joint venture called Sony BMG Music Entertainment and transferred businesses of Sony Music Entertainment (former CBS Records) and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG; Ariola , Arista , RCA Records , etc.) into the joint venture, although later in 2008, Sony acquired Bertelsmann's stake and the company reverted to the SME name. The buyout led to the dissolution of BMG, which relaunched as BMG Rights Management . Sony Music Entertainment is one of the "Big Three " record companies, being the second largest after Universal Music Group (UMG) and ahead of Warner Music Group (WMG).
* 1 History
* 1.1 1929–1938: American Record Corporation * 1.2 1938–1990: Columbia/ CBS Records * 1.3 1991–2004: Birth of Sony Music Entertainment * 1.4 2004–2008: Sony BMG: Joint venture with Bertelsmann * 1.5 2008–present: Return to Sony Music Entertainment and restructuring
* 2 Controversy
* 2.1 CD price fixing * 2.2 Prosecution of copyright infringement * 2.3 2016 boycott
* 3 List of Sony Music Entertainment labels
* 3.1 Pre-eminent labels * 3.2 Limited Liability companies * 3.3 Genre-limited labels * 3.4 Previously affiliated labels
* 4 See also * 5 References * 6 External links
1929–1938: AMERICAN RECORD CORPORATION
Main article: American Record Corporation
In 1929, ARC was founded through a merger of several record companies. In 1934, in the midst of Great Depression , the Columbia Phonograph Company (founded in the U.S. in 1888), including its Okeh Records subsidiary, was acquired by ARC.
1938–1990: COLUMBIA/ CBS RECORDS
ARC was acquired in 1938 by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) , which, in turn, had been formed by the Columbia Phonograph Company, but then sold off. ARC was renamed Columbia Recording Corporation. The Columbia Phonograph Company had international subsidiaries and affiliates such as the Columbia Graphophone Company in the United Kingdom, but they were sold off prior to CBS acquiring American Columbia. RCA Victor Records executive Ted Wallerstein convinced CBS head William S. Paley to buy ARC and Paley made Wallerstein head of the newly acquired record company. The renamed company made Columbia its flagship label and Okeh its subsidiary label, while deemphasizing ARC's other labels. This allowed ARC's leased labels Brunswick Records and Vocalion Records to revert to their former owner Warner Bros. , which sold them to Decca Records . Columbia kept the Brunswick catalogue recorded from December 1931 onward on the Columbia label and around the same time the Vocalion label material was reissued on the Okeh label. Wallerstein, who was promoted at the end of 1947 from president to chairman of the record company, restored Columbia's status as a leading record company and spearheaded the successful introduction of the LP record before he retired as Columbia's chairman in 1951. He was succeeded by James Conkling as head of Columbia Records. In 1951, Columbia severed its ties with the EMI-owned record label of the same name and began a UK distribution deal with Philips Records . Okeh Records continued to be distributed by EMI on the Columbia label.
Columbia founded Epic Records in 1953 and in 1956, Conkling left Columbia. He would help establish the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences before eventually becoming the first president of the newly launched Warner Bros. Records . His successor, Goddard Lieberson began the first of two stints as head of the record company. and in 1958, Columbia founded another label, Date Records , which initially issued rockabilly music.
In 1960, Columbia/ CBS began negotiations with its main international distributor Philips Records with the goal of starting its own global record company . Philips' acquisition of US-based Mercury Records in 1961 paved the way for this. CBS only had the rights to the Columbia name in North America; thus, the international arm that was founded in 1961 and launched in 1962 used the name " CBS Records", with Philips Records distributing the label in Europe. Elsewhere, CBS's Mexican record company, Discos Columbia, was renamed Discos CBS by 1963.
By 1962, the Columbia Records productions unit was operating four plants around the United States located in Los Angeles, California ; Terre Haute, Indiana ; Bridgeport, Connecticut ; and Pitman, New Jersey , which also manufactured records for independent record labels.
In 1964, Columbia set out acquiring record companies in other countries for its CBS Records International Unit and established its own UK distribution outfit with the acquisition of Oriole Records . EMI continued to distribute Epic and Okeh label material on the Columbia label in the UK until the distribution deal with EMI expired in 1968 when CBS took over distribution.
With the record company a global operation by 1965, the Columbia Broadcasting System upper management started pondering changing the name of their record company subsidiary from Columbia Records to CBS Records.
In late 1965, the Date subsidiary label was revived. This label released the first string of hits for Peaches & Herb and scored a few minor hits from various other artists. Date's biggest success was "Time of the Season" by the Zombies , peaking at No. 2 in 1969. The label was discontinued in 1970.
In 1966, CBS reorganized its corporate structure and promoted Leiberson to head the new "CBS-Columbia Group" which made the now renamed CBS Records a separate unit of this new group run by Clive Davis .
Epic distributed Ode Records between 1967 and 1969 and between 1976 and 1979.
In March 1968, CBS and Sony formed CBS/ Sony Records, a Japanese business joint venture. With Sony being one of the developers behind the compact disc digital music media, a compact disc production plant was constructed in Japan under the joint venture, allowing CBS to begin supplying some of the first compact disc releases for the American market in 1983.
In 1970, CBS Records revived the Embassy Records imprint in UK and Europe, which had been defunct since CBS had taken control of Embassy's parent company, Oriole, in 1964. The purpose of the revived Embassy imprint was to release budget reissues of albums that had originally been released in the United States on Columbia Records (or its subsidiaries). Many albums, by artists as diverse as Andy Williams , Johnny Cash , Barbra Streisand , The Byrds , Tammy Wynette , Laura Nyro and Sly & the Family Stone were issued on Embassy, before the label was once again discontinued in 1980. In 1971, CBS Records was expanded into its own " CBS Records Group" headed by Davis.
The CBS Records Group was led very successfully by Clive Davis until his dismissal in 1972, after it was discovered that Davis had used CBS funds to finance his personal life, including an expensive bar mitzvah party for his son. He was replaced first by former head Goddard Lieberson , and then in 1975 by the colourful and controversial lawyer Walter Yetnikoff , who led the company until 1990.
In the 1980s to the early 1990s, there was a CBS imprint label in the US known as CBS Associated Records. Tony Martell , veteran CBS and Epic Records A he was joined by L.A. Reid , who became the chairman and CEO of Epic Records . Under Reid, several artists from the Jive half of the former RCA/Jive Label Group moved to Epic. Peter Edge became the new CEO of the RCA Records unit. The RCA Music Group closed down Arista , J Records and Jive Records in October 2011, and the artists from those labels were transferred to RCA Records.
On the night of August 8, 2011, the Sony music distribution centre in Enfield , London, UK, was destroyed in an arson attack during the 2011 England riots .
On October 11, 2011, Doug Morris announced that Mel Lewinter had been named Executive Vice President of Label Strategy. Lewinter previously served as chairman and CEO of Universal Motown Republic Group . In January 2012, Dennis Kooker was named President of Global Digital Business and US Sales.
In June 2012, a consortium led by Sony/ATV acquired EMI Music Publishing , making Sony/ATV the world's largest music publisher.
In 2016, it was reported that Sony Music (thanks to its recent mergers with The Orchard and RED) gathered 27.5% of the total corporate market share worldwide. On April 18, 2016, SME and Legacy Recordings joined Genius Brands International to launch GBI's kids music label, Genius Brands Music.
In June 2017, Sony announced that by March 2018 it would be producing vinyl records in-house for the first time since ceasing their production in 1989. Reporting the decision, the BBC noted that, "Sony's move comes a few months after it equipped its Tokyo studio with a cutting lathe, used to produce the master discs needed for manufacturing vinyl records" but added that " Sony is even struggling to find older engineers who know how to make records".
CD PRICE FIXING
Main article: CD price fixing
Between 1995 and 2000, music companies were found to have used illegal marketing agreements such as minimum advertised pricing to artificially inflate prices of compact discs . This was done in order to end price wars of the early 1990s among discounters such as Best Buy and Target . A settlement was reached in 2002 that included music publishers and distributors Sony Music, Warner Music , Bertelsmann Music Group , EMI Music and Universal Music . In restitution for price fixing , they agreed to pay a $67.4 million fine and distribute $75.7 million in CDs to public and non-profit groups but admitted no wrongdoing. It is estimated that customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million overall and up to $5 per album.
PROSECUTION OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
In May 2012, Sony Music filed charges against the website IsoHunt . The plaintiff's claims in the court document filed at the Supreme Court of British Columbia read: "The IsoHunt Websites have been designed and are operated by the defendants with the sole purpose of profiting from rampant copyright infringement which defendants actively encourage, promote, authorize, induce, aid, abet, materially contribute to and commercially profit from." On February 2016, in a lawsuit filed at a California federal court, Sony Music Entertainment and its associated brands ( Arista Records and LaFace Records ) accused Belgian radio aggregator Radionomy (owned by Universal Music Group's parent Vivendi ) of copyright infringement.
In February 2016, 100,000 people signed an online petition in less than 24 hours, calling for a boycott of Sony Music and all other Sony-affiliated businesses after rape allegations against music producer Dr. Luke were made by musical artist Kesha . Kesha asked a New York City Supreme Court to free her from her contract with Sony Music but the court denied the request, prompting a widespread public and media response.
LIST OF SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT LABELS
For a complete list of SME record labels, see List of Sony Music Entertainment labels .
LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES
* Sony Music Latin
* Sony Masterworks
PREVIOUSLY AFFILIATED LABELS
* Music portal * Companies portal
* List of Sony Music artists * Sony/ATV Music Publishing * Sony BMG * Sony BMG CD copy protection scandal * Sony Music Entertainment Japan * Sony Music Australia * Sony Music UK * List of record labels
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* Official site * Yahoo! – Sony Music Entertainment