|The Major Labels|
Major labels as of April 2012 are Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and
EMI Music Group.
In 2004 Sony Music Entertainment and BMG Entertainment
merged as the big five shrunk to the big four. Then in August 2008 Sony announced plans to buyout
Bertelsmann's 50% share of the company, which once again became Sony Music Entertainment, owned
completely by Sony Corporation of America. In 2010 both EMI Group and Warner Music Group went through
financial restructuring. By the end of 2011 it appeared there would soon be only 3 major labels
pending approval of EMI's proposed merger into Universal Music Group.
In November 2011 Universal Music Group announced they would purchase EMI's recorded music division from Citigroup, who
had acquired the label earlier in the year from Terra Firma. Meanwhile, EMI's publishing division
headed for Sony/ATV, as reported by All Access (11/11/11).
The big six in the nineties were Sony Music,
Warner Music Group, BMG Entertainment, Polygram, MCA and EMI Group. Both Polygram and MCA were
absorbed into the expansion of Universal Music Group in the late nineties.
This big six had ruled the music world since the seventies. Below represents how the four biggest record labels in
the world are structured today in the United States.
Universal Music Group
Geffen Records, Interscope Geffen A&M, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records,
MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Motown Records, Uni Records, Universal Music Classics Group,
Universal Records, Universal Music Enterprises, Uni Music Latino, Uni Music South, Verve Music Group
EMI Group (proposed merger into Universal Music Group)
Angel Records, Astralwerks, Back Porch Records, Blue Note Records, Capitol Records, Caroline
Distribution, EMI Christian Music Group, EMI CMG Distribution, EMI Gospel, EMI Latin, Forefront
Records, Higher Octave Music, Manhattan Records, Narada, Sparrow Records, Virgin Records.
Warner Music Group
Atlantic Records Group: Atlantic Records, Badboy Records, Elektra Records, Lava Records, Roadrunner
Independent Label Group: Asylum, Cordless Recordings, EastWest
Sony Music Entertainment
Arista Nashville, Arista Records, Bluebird Jazz, BNA Records Label, Burgundy Records,
Columbia Nashville, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Jive Records, LaFace Records,
Legacy Recordings, Provident Label Group, RCA Records, RCA Records Label Nashville, RCA Victor,
Sony BMG Masterworks, Sony BMG U.S. Latin, Sony Wonder, Verity Records, Winham Hill
Rhino Entertainment: Rhino Records
Warner Brothers Records: Maverick Records, Nonesuch, Reprise Records, Sire Records, Warner Bros. Records,
WBR Nashville, Word Records
Warner Music International: WMI
Word Entertainment: Word Distribution, Word Entertainment, Word Music, Word Records