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Warner Music Group Corp.

History

1950s and 1960s

The film studio Warner Bros. had no record label division at the time one of its contracted actors, Tab Hunter, scored a No. 1 hit song in 1957 for Dot Records, a division of rival Paramount Pictures. In order to prevent any repetition of its actors recording for rival companies, and to also capitalize on the music business, Warner Bros. Records was created in 1958.[9][10] In 1963, Warner purchased Reprise Records, which had been founded by Frank Sinatra three years earlier so that he could have more creative control over his recordings.[11] With the Reprise acquisition, Warner gained the services of Mo Ostin, who was mainly responsible for the success of Warner/Reprise.[12]

After Warner Bros. was sold to Seven Arts Productions in 1967 (forming Warner Bros.-Seven Arts), it purchased Atlantic Records, founded in 1947 and WMG's oldest label (until WMG completed its acquisition of Parlophone in 2013), as well as its subsidiary Atco Records. This acquisition brought Neil Young into the company fold, initially as a member of Buffalo Springfield. Young became one of Warner's longest-established artists, recording both as a solo artist and with groups under the Warner-owned Atlantic, Atco, and Reprise labels, as well as making five albums for Geffen Records during that label's period of Warner distribution. The Geffen catalogue, now owned by Universal Music Group, represents Young's only major recordings not under WMG ownership.

Atlantic, its subsidiary Atco Records, and its affiliate Stax Records paved the way for Warner's rise to industry prominence. The purchase brought in Atlantic's lucrative back-catalogue, which included classic recordings by Ray Charles, the Drifters, the Coasters, and many more. In the mid 1960s, Atlantic/Stax had released a string of landmark soul music recordings by artists including Booker T & the MGs, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Ben E. King, and Aretha Franklin. But the sale led to Stax leaving the Atlantic fold because the new Warner owners insisted on keeping the rights to Stax recordings. However, Atlantic also moved decisively into rock and pop in the late 1960s and 1970s, signing major British and American acts including Led Zeppelin, Cream, Crosby Stills & Nash, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Average White Band, Dr John, King Crimson, Bette Midler, Roxy Music, and Foreigner.

In 1969, two years after being purchased by Seven Arts, the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts company was sold to the Kinney National Company. In mid-1972, Kinney Music Of Canada, Ltd. was renamed as WEA Music of Canada, Ltd. a.k.a. WEA Musique du Canada, Ltée in French as the new Canadian branch of the WEA (Warner, Elektra, Atlantic) company - a division of Warner Communications Inc. The Founder and President Ken Middleton ran the Canadian Company until his retirement in 1982. The name remained until 1989, when in 1990, it became Warner Music Canada Ltd - a subsidiary of the US-based Warner Music International. Kinney CEO Steve Ross led the group through its most successful period until his death in 1992.

An earlier attempt by Warner Bros. Records to create an in-house distribution arm in 1958 didn't materialize. So in 1969, Elektra Records boss Jac Holzman approached Atlantic's Jerry Wexler with the idea of setting up a joint distribution network for Warner, Elektra, and Atlantic. An experimental branch

The company owns and operates some of the largest and most successful labels in the world, including Elektra Records, Warner Records, Parlophone Records, and Atlantic Records. WMG also owns Warner Chappell Music, one of the world's largest music publishers.

Since August 2, 2018, WMG has expanded its business to digital media operation through its acquisition of Uproxx.

The film studio Warner Bros. had no record label division at the time one of its contracted actors, Tab Hunter, scored a No. 1 hit song in 1957 for Dot Records, a division of rival Paramount Pictures. In order to prevent any repetition of its actors recording for rival companies, and to also capitalize on the music business, Warner Bros. Records was created in 1958.[9][10] In 1963, Warner purchased Reprise Records, which had been founded by Frank Sinatra three years earlier so that he could have more creative control over his recordings.[11] With the Reprise acquisition, Warner gained the services of Mo Ostin, who was mainly responsible for the success of Warner/Reprise.[12]

After Warner Bros. was sold to Seven Arts Productions in 1967 (forming Warner Bros.-Seven Arts), it purchased Atlantic Records, founded in 1947 and WMG's oldest label (until WMG completed its acquisition of Parlophone in 2013), as well as its subsidiary Atco Records. This acquisition brought Neil Young into the company fold, initially as a member of Buffalo Springfield. Young became one of Warner's longest-established artists, recording both as a solo artist and with groups under the Warner-owned Atlantic, Atco, and Reprise labels, as well as making five albums for Geffen Records during that label's period of Warner distribution. The Geffen catalogue, now owned by Universal Music Group, represents Young's only major recordings not under WMG ownership.

Atlantic, its subsidiary Atco Records, and its affiliate Stax Records paved the way for Warner's rise to industry prominence. The purchase brought in Atlantic's lucrative back-catalogue, which included classic recordings by Ray Charles, the Drifters, the Coasters, and many more. In the mid 1960s, Atlantic/Stax had released a string of landmark soul music recordings by artists including Booker T & the MGs, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Ben E. King, and Aretha Franklin. But the sale led to Stax leaving the Atlantic fold because the new Warner owners insisted on keeping the rights to Stax recordings. However, Atlantic also moved decisively into rock and pop in the late 1960s and 1970s, signing major British and American acts including Led Zeppelin, Cream, Crosby Stills & Nash, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Average White Band, Dr John, King Crimson, Bette Midler, Roxy Music, and Foreigner.

In 1969, two years after being purchased by Seven Arts, the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts company was sold to the Kinney National Company. In mid-1972, Kinney Music Of Canada, Ltd. was renamed as WEA Music of Canada, Ltd. a.k.a. WEA Musique du Canada, Ltée in French as the new Canadian branch of the WEA (Warner, Elektra, Atlantic) company - a division of Warner Communications Inc. The Founder and President Ken Middleton ran the Canadian Company until his retirement in 1982. The name remained until 1989, when in 1990, it became Warner Music Canada Ltd - a subsidiary of the US-based

After Warner Bros. was sold to Seven Arts Productions in 1967 (forming Warner Bros.-Seven Arts), it purchased Atlantic Records, founded in 1947 and WMG's oldest label (until WMG completed its acquisition of Parlophone in 2013), as well as its subsidiary Atco Records. This acquisition brought Neil Young into the company fold, initially as a member of Buffalo Springfield. Young became one of Warner's longest-established artists, recording both as a solo artist and with groups under the Warner-owned Atlantic, Atco, and Reprise labels, as well as making five albums for Geffen Records during that label's period of Warner distribution. The Geffen catalogue, now owned by Universal Music Group, represents Young's only major recordings not under WMG ownership.

Atlantic, its subsidiary Atco Records, and its affiliate Stax Records paved the way for Warner's rise to industry prominence. The purchase brought in Atlantic's lucrative back-catalogue, which included classic recordings by Ray Charles, the Drifters, the Coasters, and many more. In the mid 1960s, Atlantic/Stax had released a string of landmark soul music recordings by artists including Booker T & the MGs, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Ben E. King, and Aretha Franklin. But the sale led to Stax leaving the Atlantic fold because the new Warner owners insisted on keeping the rights to Stax recordings. However, Atlantic also moved decisively into rock and pop in the late 1960s and 1970s, signing major British and American acts including Led Zeppelin, Cream, Crosby Stills & Nash, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Average White Band, Dr John, King Crimson, Bette Midler, Roxy Music, and Foreigner.

In 1969, two years after being purchased by Seven Arts, the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts company was sold to the Kinney National Company. In mid-1972, Kinney Music Of Canada, Ltd. was renamed as WEA Music of Canada, Ltd. a.k.a. WEA Musique du Canada, Ltée in French as the new Canadian branch of the WEA (Warner, Elektra, Atlantic) company - a division of Warner Communications Inc. The Founder and President Ken Middleton ran the Canadian Company until his retirement in 1982. The name remained until 1989, when in 1990, it became Warner Music Canada Ltd - a subsidiary of the US-based Warner Music International. Kinney CEO Steve Ross led the group through its most successful period until his death in 1992.

An earlier attempt by Warner Bros. Records to create an in-house distribution arm in 1958 didn't materialize. So in 1969, Elektra Records boss Jac Holzman approached Atlantic's Jerry Wexler with the idea of setting up a joint distribution network for Warner, Elektra, and Atlantic. An experimental branch was established in Southern California as a possible prototype for an expanded operation.[13]

It was soon apparent in 1969 that Atlantic/Atco president Ahmet Ertegun viewed Warner/Reprise president Mike Maitland as a rival. Maitland believed that, as vice-president in charge of the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts music division, he should have final say over all recording operations, and he further angered Ertegun by proposing that most of Atlantic's back-office functions (such as marketing and distribution) be combined with the existing departments at Warner/Reprise. In retrospect Ertegun clearly feared that Maitland would ultimately have more power than him, and so he moved rapidly to secure his own position and remove Maitland.

Maitland had put off renegotiating the contracts of Joe Smith and Mo Ostin, the presidents of the Warner Bros. and Reprise labels, and this provided Ertegun with an effective means of undermining Maitland. When Wexler—now a major shareholder—found out about the contract issue he and Ertegun began pressuring Eliot Hyman to get Smith and Ostin under contract, ostensibly because they were worried that the two executives might move to rival labels—and in fact Ostin had received overtures from both the MGM and ABC labels.

In 1969, the wisdom of Hyman's investments was proved when Kinney National Company purchased Warner Bros.-Seven Arts for $400 million, more than eight times what Hyman had paid for Warner/Reprise and Atlantic combined. From the base of his family's funeral parlour business, Kinney president Steve Ross had rapidly built the Kinney company into a profitable conglomerate with interests that included comic publishing, the Ashley-Famous talent agency, parking lots and cleaning services. Following the takeover, Warners' music group briefly adopted the 'umbrella' name Kinney Music, because U.S. anti-trust laws at the time prevented the three labels from trading as one.

Ross was primarily focused on rebuilding the company's ailing movie division and was happy to defer to the advice of the managers of the company's record labels, since he knew that they were generating most of the group's profits. Ertegun's campaign against Maitland began in earnest that summer. Atlantic had agreed to help Warner Bros. in its efforts to establish its labels overseas, beginning with its soon-to-be-established Warner Bros. subsidiary in Australia, but when Warner executive Phil Rose arrived in Australia, he discovered that just one week earlier Atlantic had signed a new four-year distribution deal with a rival local label, Festival Records (owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Limited). Mike Maitland complained bitterly to Kinney executive Ted Ashley, but to no avail – by this time Ertegun was poised to make his move against Maitland.[14]

As he had with Hyman, Ertegun urged Steve Ross to extend Mo Ostin and Joe Smith's contracts, a recommendation Ross was happy to accept. Ostin however had received overtures from other companies including MGM Records and ABC Records and when he met with Ertegun in January 1970 and was offered Maitland's job, he was unwilling to re-sign immediately. In response, Ertegun broadly hinted that Maitland's days were numbered and that he, Ertegun, was about to take over the recording division.

Unlike the Warner/Reprise executives, Atlantic's execs the Ertegun brothers (Ahmet and Neshui) and Wexler owned stock in Kinney.[15]

Ostin was understandably concerned that, if he accepted the position, the Warner Bros. staff would feel that he had stabbed Maitland in the back, but his attorney convinced him that Maitland's departure was inevitable, regardless of whether or not he accepted the post (succinctly advising him, "Don't be a schmuck"). On Sunday January 25, Ted Ashley went to Maitland's house to tell him he had been dismissed, and Maitland declined the offer of a job at the movie studio. One week later, Mo Ostin was named as the new President of Warner Bros. Records, with Joe Smith as his Executive Vice-President.[16] Ertegun nominally remained the head of Atlantic, but since both Ostin and Smith owed their new positions to him, Ertegun was now the de facto head of the Warner music division. Ertegun was given the formal title of executive vice-president-Music Group.[15] Maitland moved to MCA Records later that year and successfully consolidated MCA's labels, which he couldn't do at Warner.

During the 1970s, the Kinney group built up a commanding position in the music industry. In 1970, Kinney bought Elektra Records and its sister label Nonesuch Records (founded by Jac Holzman in 1950) for $10 million, bringing in leading rock acts, including the Doors, Tim Buckley, and Love, and its historically significant folk archive, along with the successful budget Western classical-music label Nonesuch Records. The purchase of Elektra-Nonesuch brought a rich back catalogue of folk music as well as the renowned Nonesuch catalogue of classical and world music. Elektra founder Jac Holzman ran the label under Warners for two years, but by that time, he was by his own admission "burnt out" after twenty years in the business. Kinney president Steve Ross subsequently appointed Holzman as part of a seven-person "brains trust" tasked with investigating opportunities presented by new technologies, a role Holzman was eager to accept.[17] The same year, the group established its first overseas offices in Canada and Australia. By that time the "Seven Arts" moniker was dropped from the Warner Bros. name. Warner Bros. also founded the Casablanca Records subsidiary, headed by Neil Bogart; but several years later Casablanca became independent of Warner Bros.

Worldwide distribution

In 2013, Warner acquired longtime EMI division Parlophone, along with EMI Classics and some regional EMI labels, from UMG for £487 million (around $764.54 million US).[68][69] This news came after reports that WMG was in talks to acquire EMI's recorded music business, which was eventually bought by Universal.[70] The European Commission approved the sale in May 2013, and Warner closed the acquisition on July 1.[71][72] The EMI Classics roster was absorbed into Parlophone, along with EMI Classics and some regional EMI labels, from UMG for £487 million (around $764.54 million US).[68][69] This news came after reports that WMG was in talks to acquire EMI's recorded music business, which was eventually bought by Universal.[70] The European Commission approved the sale in May 2013, and Warner closed the acquisition on July 1.[71][72] The EMI Classics roster was absorbed into Warner Classics and the Virgin Classics roster was absorbed into the revived Erato Records.[73] In November 2013, WMG paid Universal an additional €30 million for Parlophone, following an arbitration process in respect to the original sale price.[74]

In order to accommodate a deal made with IMPALA and the Merlin Network when it acquired Parlophone, WMG agreed to offload over $200 million worth in catalogues to various independent labels.In order to accommodate a deal made with IMPALA and the Merlin Network when it acquired Parlophone, WMG agreed to offload over $200 million worth in catalogues to various independent labels.[75] The labels had until February 28, 2014, to inform Warner Music of which artist catalogues they were interested in acquiring, and said artists had to approve of the divestments.[76] By March 2015, over 140 independent labels had placed bids on over 11,000 Warner Music artists valuing $6 billion, far higher than expectations.[77] In March 2016, Curb Records acquired Warner Music's 80% share of Word Entertainment, though WMG would continue to distribute the label.[78] In April 2016, the first confirmed sale of a Warner Music artist was the back catalogue of English band Radiohead to XL Recordings.[79] As of the end of May 2016, WMG had sold the catalogue of Chrysalis Records to Blue Raincoat Music, as well as the catalogues of ten other artists, including Everything But the Girl, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, and Lucinda Williams.[80][81][82][83] In September 2016, Nettwerk acquired the rights to albums by Guster and Airbourne from Warner Music.[84]

In April 2017, Warner Music agreed to sell the independent distributor Zebralution back to its founders.[85] On June 1, 2017, WMG divested additional artists, including the catalogues of Hot Chip and Buzzcocks to Domino Recording Company; Tom Waits to Anti-; and Howard Jones, Dinosaur Jr., and Kim Wilde to Cherry Red Records.[86] Cosmos Music Group acquired the rights to Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson, while Neil Finn's catalogue moved to his Lester Records label.[87] On July 6, 2017, Because Music acquired 10 French artists, most of London Records' back catalogue, and The Beta Band, while Concord Music acquired albums by Jewel, Sérgio Mendes, R.E.M., and several rock, blues, and jazz artists.[88][89][90][91] In August 2017, The Lemonheads and The Groundhogs were transferred to Fire Records.[92] In October 2017, Strut Records acquired albums by Patrice Rushen and Miriam Makeba.[93]

In November 2017, T.I.'s catalogue was sold to Cinq Music Group.[94] Woah Dad! acquired over 20 catalogues, including those of Ziggy Marley, Estelle, and several Swedish artists, while Believe Digital acquired the rights to EMF and several French artists.[95] In April 2018, RT Industries acquired seven catalogues from WMG, including Sugar Ray and Fat Joe.[96] In May 2018, New State Music acquired the catalogues of Paul Oakenfold and Dirty Vegas.[97] Other winning bidders included The Echo Label (Thomas Dolby, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Supergrass), Nature Sounds (Roy Ayers), The state51 Conspiracy (Donovan), PIAS Recordings (Failure), Evolution Music Group (Mr. Big), Playground Music Scandinavia (Olle Adolphson), Metal Blade Records (King Diamond), Snapper Music (Mansun) and its sublabel Kscope (Porcupine Tree), Phoenix Music International (Lulu), Kobalt Label Services (HIM), and Tommy Boy Music (which reclaimed its pre-2002 catalogue and the rights to Brand Nubian, Handsome Boy Modeling School’s White People, Grand Puba, and Club Nouveau). All the labels had to complete their deals by September 30, 2017; though a few announcements came after that date.[98]

In October 2012, WMG became one of the last major labels to sign with Google's music service. It was also one of the last labels to reach an agreement with Spotify.[99]

In June 2013, WMG expanded into Russia by acquiring Gala Records, best known as the longtime distributor of EMI.[100] Later that year, Warner Music Russia agreed to locally distribute releas

In June 2013, WMG expanded into Russia by acquiring Gala Records, best known as the longtime distributor of EMI.[100] Later that year, Warner Music Russia agreed to locally distribute releases by Disney Music Group[101] and Sony Music.[102] Later that year, WMG closed a deal with Clear Channel Media that saw its artists paid for terrestrial radio play for the first time. Clear Channel would get preferential rates for streaming songs through its iHeartRadio service and other online platforms. It was believed that the agreement would put pressure on other big labels, including Sony and Universal, to reach similar deals.[103]

On November 14, 2013, it was determined that Warner Music's releases in the Middle East would be distributed by Universal Music as a result of the integration of EMI's branch in said region.[104] Sony Music India would assume distribution of WMG in India, Sri Lanka, and rest of SAARC countries except Bangladesh.[105] In December 2013, Warner Music began operating the wholly owned South African subsidiary after acquiring the Gallo's stakes that it did not own.[106] In April 2014, WMG announced that it had acquired Chinese record label Gold Typhoon.[107]

In April 2016, WMG agreed to distribute most of BMG Rights Management's catalogue worldwide through Warner's ADA division, though a few frontline releases would remain distrib

In April 2016, WMG agreed to distribute most of BMG Rights Management's catalogue worldwide through Warner's ADA division, though a few frontline releases would remain distributed by other labels.[108][109]

Around the end of May 2016, WMG acquired the Indonesian label PT Indo Semar Sakti.[110] Warner Music UK launched The Firepit in May 2016, a creative content division, innovation centre and recording studio located at their United Kingdom headquarters in London.[111] On June 2, 2016, Warner Music acquired Swedish compilation label X5 Music Group.[112]

On June 6, 2017, Warner Music Group launched a new division, Arts Music, which consists of labels for classical, jazz and children's music plus musical theatre and film scores, starting with a joint venture with Sh-K-Boom Records and transferring in Warner Classics.[113]

In September 2017, one week after acquiring American rock label Artery Recordings, WMG acquired the Dutch EDM label Spinnin' Records.[114] In February 2018, Warner Music launched a division in the Middle East, based in Beirut, Lebanon. Warner Music Middle East will cover 17 markets across North Africa and the Middle East.[115]

In January 2019, WMG signed a Turkish distribution deal with Doğan Media Group, which will represent the record company for physical and digital releases.[116]

In May 2019, Warner Music Finland acquired the hip-hop label Monsp Records.[117] In July 2019, Warner Music Slovakia acquired Forza Music, which owned the former state-owned label Opus Records.[118]

In July 2017, Warner Music acquired the concert discovery website Songkick.[119] In May, news media reported that Warner Music led an investment round in Hooch, a popular subscription-lifestyle application including blockchain-based payment technology.[120]

Announced on June 18, 2018 but effective on October 1, 2018, Warner Music Group launched Elektra Music Group as a stand-alone staffed music company with the labels Elektra Records, Fueled By Ramen, Low Country So

Announced on June 18, 2018 but effective on October 1, 2018, Warner Music Group launched Elektra Music Group as a stand-alone staffed music company with the labels Elektra Records, Fueled By Ramen, Low Country Sound, Black Cement, and Roadrunner Records. A handful of major artists would transfer from Atlantic. This returned the group back to the Warner-Elektra-Atlantic (WEA) triad that had for decades marked the original company organization.[121]

On August 2, 2018, Warner Music announced that it acquired Uproxx Media Group and its properties (except for BroBible, which will continue to publish independently) for an undisclosed sum, although Uproxx has raised around $43m (£33m) from previous investment, which provides some sense of the firm's valuation.[122] In September 2018, WMG acquired German merchandise retailer EMP Merchandising from Sycamore Partners for $180 million.[123]

In October 2018, Warner Music Group announced the launch of the WMG Boost seed venture fund.[124] Several labels of Warner Music moved into the Los Angeles Arts District in 2019 where the company had purchased a former Ford Motor Company assembly plant.[125]

In August 2020, Warner Music acquired Tel Aviv and New York-based IMGN Media in a deal worth approximately $100 million.[126] In September 2020, WMG acquired the online hip-hop magazine HipHopDX.[127]

On March 9, 2020, WMG expanded to India, creating the Warner Music India unit based in Mumbai and also handle business in other South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries. Jay Mehta, ex-executive of Sony Music India, would take change of the unit in April as managing director.[128] Before the division's foundation, Warner's releases were distributed in the country by EMI/Virgin Records (India) Pvt., and by Sony Music India since EMI's breakup.

In 2017, WMG formed its TV and film division with the hiring of former MGM executive Charlie Cohen as head and in March 2019 Kate Shepherd, Ridley Scott Creative Group’s former head of entertainment.[129] This division, Warner Music Entert

In 2017, WMG formed its TV and film division with the hiring of former MGM executive Charlie Cohen as head and in March 2019 Kate Shepherd, Ridley Scott Creative Group’s former head of entertainment.[129] This division, Warner Music Entertainment, paired with Imagine Entertainment on a Nat Geo limited series Genius: Aretha, which lead to a music slate co-produce and co-finance agreement in July 2020.[130]

Warner Music Group had planned an IPO of current investors' stock in March 2020, but withdrew its IPO just before the March 2 kick off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[131] On June 3, 2020, it completed its IPO on Nasdaq, raising almost $2 billion with a valuation of $12.75 billion, making WMG once again a publicly-traded company after previously going private in 2011.[6][7] On June 12, 2020, Naspers's Tencent announced that it had purchased 10.4% of Warner Music's Class A shares, or 1.6% of the company.[132] Tencent already owns 10% of shares of WMG's largest competitor, Universal Music Group, which they acquired from Vivendi in March. Also, this makes Sony Music the only major music company not directly owned in any percentage by a Chinese company (it is owned by companies itself wholly owned by Japanese conglomerate Sony).

Arts Music is Warner Music's umbrella division for classical, jazz and children's music plus musical theatre, soundtracks and film scores labels based in New York. Labels of the division are Erato Records, First Night Record, Sh-K-Boom Records and Warner Classics and licensed labels are Build-A-Bear, Cloudco Entertainment, and Sesame Street Records.

On June 6, 2017, Warner Music Group launched a new division, Arts Music, which consists of labels for classical, jazz and children's music plus musical theatre and film scores. The division was placed under president Kevin Gore, who reports to Eliah Seton, President of ADA Worldwide, the group's independent dist

On June 6, 2017, Warner Music Group launched a new division, Arts Music, which consists of labels for classical, jazz and children's music plus musical theatre and film scores. The division was placed under president Kevin Gore, who reports to Eliah Seton, President of ADA Worldwide, the group's independent distribution and services arm. At the same time, Warner Classics, including the Erato label, while remaining based in Paris and continuing under president Alain Lanceron, were transferred into the new division. Also, a joint venture with Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records, the theatrical music company was formed with the founder/president Kurt Deutsch also being named senior vice president of Theatrical & Catalog Development for Warner/Chappell Music.[113]

Arts Music signed a multi-year deal in November 2018 with Sesame Workshop to revive the Sesame Street Records label starting in early 2019.[133] In June 2019, WMG purchased First Night Record, musical theatre cast recording company, and place the company within Arts Music.[134] On June 24, 2019, the division launched the licensed Cloudco Entertainment label with the release of the current Holly Hobbie TV show theme song as a part of a multi-season deal.[135] Build-A-Bear Workshop teamed up with Arts Music and Warner Chappell Music in July 2019 to partner on the Build-A-Bear label with Patrick Hughes and Harvey Russell on board to guide the label.[136]

The division arranged to become the distributor of Mattel's music catalog in May 2020. Art Music planned to make available hundreds of ever-before-released songs and new songs for existing properties with first up the digital launch on May 8 of Thomas & Friends’ birthday album.[137]

Warner Chappell Music dates back to 1811 and the creation of Chappell & Company, a sheet music and instrument merchant in London. In 1929, Jack L. Warner, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Inc., founded Music Publishers Holding Company (MPHC) to acquire music copyrights as a means of providing inexpensive music for films and, in 1987, Warner Bros.' corporate parent, Warner Communications, acquired Chappell & Company from PolyGram. Its printed music operation, Warner Bros. Publications, was sold to Alfred Publishing on June 1, 2005.

Among the historic compositions of which the publishing rights are controlled by WMG are the works of Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. In the 1930s and 19

Among the historic compositions of which the publishing rights are controlled by WMG are the works of Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. In the 1930s and 1940s, Chappell Music also ran a profitable orchestration division for Broadway musicals, with house arrangers of the caliber of Robert Russell Bennett, Don Walker, Ted Royal and Hans Spialek. Between them they had orchestrated about 90% of the productions seen up to late 1941.[138]

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