Sony Music

Sony Music Entertainment

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Sony Music Entertainment, Inc.
Type Subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America
Genre Various
Founded November 17, 1987 (CBS Records acquisition by Sony)
January 1, 1991 (Sony Music launch)
October 1, 2008 (relaunch)
Headquarters [[New York, NY]], [[United States]]
Key people Rolf Schmidt-Holtz (CEO)
Kevin Kelleher (CFO)
Industry Music & Entertainment
Products Music & Entertainment
Revenue 2.2% $3.9 bilion (USD 2008)[1]
Parent Sony Corporation of America

Sony Music Entertainment (or Sony Music) is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America.


The company which evolved into Sony Music was founded in 1929 as the American Record Corporation (ARC) through the merger of several smaller record companies. In the depths of the Great Depression, the Columbia Phonograph Company (founded in 1888) in the U.S. (including its Okeh Records subsidiary) was acquired by ARC in 1934. ARC was acquired in 1938 by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (which itself had been formed by the Columbia Phonograph Company, but then sold off). CBS made Columbia its flagship label with Okeh its subsidiary label while deemphasizing ARC's other labels. CBS founded Epic Records in 1953.

In 1958, CBS founded another label, Date Records, which initially issued rockabilly music.[2]

CBS only had the rights to the Columbia name in the United States and Canada. 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, therefore the international arm founded in 1961 utilized the "CBS Records" name only.

In 1966, the Date subsidiary label was repurposed mainly for the soul music outlet. This label released the first string of hits for Peaches & Herb. Date's biggest success was Time Of The Season by The Zombies, peaking at #2 in 1969. The label was discontinued in 1972.

In March 1968, CBS and Sony formed CBS/Sony Records, a Japanese business joint venture.[3] 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.[4]

There was a sublabel in the US known as CBS Associated Records, whose artists included Ozzy Osbourne, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Electric Light Orchestra.

On November 17, 1987, the Sony Corporation of America acquired CBS Records for US$2 billion. CBS Inc., now CBS Corporation, retained the rights to the CBS name for music recordings but granted Sony a temporary license to use the CBS name. CBS Corporation founded a new CBS Records in 2006.

Birth of Sony Music Entertainment

Sony renamed the record company Sony Music Entertainment (SME) on January 1, 1991, fulfilling the terms set under the 1988 buyout, which granted only a transitional license to the CBS trademark.[5] Also on January 1, 1991, Sony reintroduced the Columbia label worldwide, which it previously held in the United States and Canada only, after it acquired the international rights to the trademark from EMI in 1990.[5] Japan is the only country where Sony does not have rights to the Columbia name as it is controlled by Columbia Music Entertainment, an unrelated company. Thus, until this day, Sony Music Japan does not use the Columbia trademark for Columbia label recordings from outside Japan which are issued in Japan. The Columbia Records trademark was also controlled in Spain by another company, Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), which Sony Music subsequently obtained through the 2004 merger, and later through the 2008 buyout, of BMG. The CBS Associated label was renamed Epic Associated.[6]

Sony BMG: Joint venture with Bertelsmann

In August 2004, Sony entered into a 50-50 joint venture with Bertelsmann by merging Sony Music and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) to form Sony BMG Music Entertainment. However Sony continued to operate its Japanese music business independently from Sony BMG (while BMG Japan was made part of the merger).

Return to Sony Music Entertainment

Sony Corporation of America and Bertelsmann announced on August 5, 2008 that Sony agreed to acquire Bertelsmann's 50% stake in Sony BMG. Sony completed its acquisition of Bertelsmann Music Group on October 1, 2008.[7] The company, once again named Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (SME), became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sony Corporation of America.

Main divisions

The following are the main operating divisions of Sony Music Entertainment. Note that the frontline, standalone label operations exist mainly in the United States.

  • Columbia Records
  • Epic Records
  • RCA Music Group
  • Zomba Label Group
  • Legacy Recordings
  • Sony Music Nashville
  • Provident Label Group
  • Sony Masterworks
  • RED Distribution
  • Syco Music
  • Sony Music international companies

Additional labels under each division are listed at Sony Music Entertainment labels.

Previously affiliated labels

  • Capricorn Records
  • Def Jam Recordings (1985-1993)
  • Loud Records (1999-2002)
  • Chaos Recordings (1993-1995)
  • The Work Group (1995-2000)
  • Date Records[1]

List of Sony Music Entertainment labels

Further information: List of Sony Music Entertainment labels

List of Sony Music Entertainment artists

Further information: List of Sony Music Entertainment artists

See also

  • Sony BMG
  • Sony/ATV Music Publishing
  • Sony Music Entertainment Japan
  • Sony BMG CD copy protection scandal
  • List of record labels


External links

This page was last modified 27.10.2009 15:57:07

This article uses material from the article Sony Music Entertainment from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.