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The Major Labels

Major labels as of January 2020 are:

Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner 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, which was completed in 2013.

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 three 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

Warner Music Group

Atlantic Records Group: Atlantic Records, Badboy Records, Elektra Records, Lava Records, Roadrunner Records
Independent Label Group: Asylum, Cordless Recordings, EastWest
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

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

Former EMI Group (divided between Universal and Sony)

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.

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