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WikiProject Record Labels (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
This article is within the scope of WikiProject Record Labels, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of record labels on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
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A couple of pointsEdit

A few of things spring to mind when I looked through this:

Firstly, almost every record contract is looked over and negotiated with solicitors, as opposed to it being an infrequent occurance as suggested by "Entertainment lawyers are used by some to look over any contract before it is signed." The solicitors will almost always be music laywers, rather than more general entertainments lawyers, and they will generally work for an indepedant soliciting company which may be employed by the Business Affairs departments of the record label.

Second big mistake I noticed is that it saids that some artists gave away their rights.

Almost all artists sign away the rights to their music, that's what Music Publishing is, probably the second biggest pillar of the music industry.

Thirdly: "A contract either provides for the artist to deliver completed recordings to the label, or for the label to undertake the recording with the artist."

I think it needs to specified that there are a few different types of contract. When the artist makes the recordings independantly then gives the label mechanical license to manufacture and distribute records that's a licensing deal. However, if the label says "bring us a completed recording" that's not a licensing deal, that's a record deal. It's just that normally a record deal will look more like "here's some money - bring us a completed recording".

Also I think recouperation needs to be explained.

Sebbi 01:27, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Tag for cleanupEdit

This subject deserves a better article, as it stands it's full of generalisations, assumptions and waffle. Hopefully someone more clued in than I can do this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 60.234.228.7 (talkcontribs) 23 April 2006

I've rewritten the intro and added info about music groups and record groups. The rest of the article is still pretty much garbage.—mjb 05:33, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Don't be hard asses it's not that bad, it could be better, definately, but I find the costant tagging with fix this, fix that, clean this, clean that, very annoying. 195.134.68.6 04:03, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

I find the following sentence to be biased and assumptive:

"Some prefer to use the term indie label to refer to only those independent labels that adhere to an arbitrary, ill-defined criteria of corporate structure and size, and some consider an indie label to be almost any label that releases non-mainstream music, regardless of its corporate structure."

A more thoughtful segment on 'indie labels' would be better than using negatives such as 'arbitrary' and 'ill-defined.' This is a commentary on indie labels and not a definition of them.

--72.160.71.86 10:51, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

The problem, as I'm trying to point out in that section, is that people apply the term 'indie' very broadly and inconsistently, because they have different standards by which they measure the 'indieness' of things, thus making 'indie label' rather difficult to define. It would be inappropriate to have Wikipedia make a definitive statement on what an indie label is, unless you phrase it like "source X says an indie label is… while source Y says…". If you have suggestions for better phrasing, though, in the meantime, please offer them. —mjb 23:54, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree with [User:195.134.68.6|195.134.68.6], I actually found this article quite informative. BradNotBrat 04:51, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

The sloppy bias has seemed to creep back in. I see lines such as "Whereas 'net' labels were started as a free site, digital labels seek to give the major record industry a real run for their money." Can anybody word that without using an idiom, and using a source too? WillieBlues (talk) 21:38, 26 July 2011 (UTC)

Two basic categories the best deinition is the simplestEdit

A Record lable is the business entity which produces and oversees the production of recorded music. It does the front line work of making the physical product which you see in your stores. Frequently a lable is simply the name on the CD itself. There may be nothing more than the members of the band or the artist themselves who do allt he work. Loreena McKennet for instance, recorded her own CD's, designed or oversaw the design of the cover are, had the CD's pressed all herself. For the first decade of her career she distributed her CD's either at her concerts or by mail order from her home. That is the most basic kind of lable.

In the classical world it can work the same way. Skylark Records originaly existed to produce Canadian Pianist jane Coop's recordings. Her husband George Lavrock is both the recording engineer and producer. Skylark Records now has more artists than just Jane Coop. But thats how it started. Skylark, however does not do their own distribution.

Another more interesting example is Netwerk Recrods. When the Vancouver Band Skinny Puppy wanted to release a CD, they did so under a lable they created called Netwerk Records. It had only one reason for being, that was the prodcution of Skinny Puppy CD's. Since one of the band members was intersted in doing more than just one CD for one band, eventually they produced recorddings for other artists. Careful business dealings, concienceous artists and lots of hard work ended up with a sucessful record lable with more than just one artist. Eventually there was some arrangements with EMI (I am unsure of what those were) and more recentely are no longer associated with EMI, but what you see now as the Netwerk started as just a band that wanted to make a CD.

Here is another way a lable is created; Distribution Fussion is a small Canadian distributor in Montreal who imports and distributes independent lables from Europe and other places in the world. The owner is also a Jazz afficiando. He has sstarted his own lable to record some Jazz artists who he though were good, Justin Time has quite a number of sucessful arists. JustinTime was Dianna Kralls first lable.

It was this lable that solicited the small chain where i did some purchasing. The initial order we placed for Diana Krall was very samll. This was at the beginnning of her career. Her careeer advanced so fast that Distrubution Fussion new that they could not handle the amount of business thsi artist would generate. GRP Records signed an distribution deal with Distributiosn Fussion for American Distribution. Shortly after that, GRP was bought by Verve Records. Very shortly after that, GRP (itself an American independant lable) was purchased by Verve. notice how this story is rapidly becoming extremely complex? This is not uncommon in the music industry. This is the point where Universal purchases PolyGram and then you know about the purchase of Universal by Vivendi.

I have outlined as slimply as it is possible to how a record lable begins. Disorganized isn't the right term for it. Independant recording lables are simply small businesses that produce recordings. They are as infinite in variety as you can imagine, but this is where the creative impetus for the music industry comes from. The major players in this industry do not cerate much new, they purchase it. Loreena McKennet is an instructive example because she was savvy enough at business to know that she should not sign a deal with a major distributor until she could do it on her own terms. In theh end, she signed a deal with Warner, but it was the deal she wanted adn she dictated the terms.

I worked in the music reatil business for 10 years, and i had been following the industry as a consumer of classical music for 15 years before that. This is not an easy business to understand and its even more difficult to do without bias or without using words that depict the players in terms which are neutral. My facts are bascaly all correct, though its been a while since i've been active in the industry. but this does give you an idea of how the processes work.

Please ask for clarification of anything I have written here, this is not publishable in this form, it is only for discussion purposes at this time.

David --88Fingers 09:03, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Yet anoher way record labels come into beingEdit

While commenting on another artcle I was reminded of another type of lable. That is a private society or organization which produces special recordings for its membership. Ordinarily these never enter into the discussion except for two exeptions; Societies who's membership is made up of those people interested in a certain kind of recordings and who are willing to produce them on their own. Such a label is the classical label Connoisseur Society. It produces select recordings of classical pianists for its members. The recordings are never available in ordinary music retail outlets. If they are available at all to the general public it is through mail order. This label became well enough known amongst audiophiles and classical music collectors that it was frequently reviewed in magazines like the Gramophone and as well, got radio play on the BBC and in Canada on the CBC Radio Networks.

Let me try to tie this all up for everyone. There is no "business" model for a recording label. No one invests money in a recording label expecting to make money. They are risky ventures at best, frequently fail and the return on investment is uncertain at best. Bankruptcies are a common occurrence. However, if a label manages to establish itself with some degree of notoriety, they will likely be bought by a larger distributor or one of the conglomerates. Delve back if you will into the history of teh Nonesuch label. It was begun in the 1960's by Terresa Sterns, who ran the label herself for many years. The label was dedicated to Ethnic (now called world music ) twentieth century composers, and some baroque music. This lable is noteworthy because it was one of the survivors over the decades. However about 20 years ago the lable was sold to Warner who has carried the label on in the same manner which the founder did.

Musicians start labels because they wish to maintain control of their own music and livelihoods. This frequently backfires unless they have savvy and trustworthy financial management. Other people start or invest in labels because they love the music. Sound financial investment is an all but unknown reason for starting a recording label.

--88Fingers 08:49, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

record label history correctedEdit

Record company labels originated as printers who would put up the cost of printing the labels that get glued onto the records.

It's really quite simple when you consider exactly why they are called "labels."

They were investors. Often, they would print the labels for an unknown artist and/or songwriter and would receive a percentage of the publishing royalties for "putting up their money."

Most record manufacturing companies associated quickly with these printers and formalised the old record industry structure.

Because of standing fears of monopoly prosecution [Marconi went through this and had to divest American Marconi into RCA, ABC, and NBC], the inventors, such as Edison and others, did not want to fully vertically integrate what they knew they had in hand: complete control of the Entertainment Industry, that is, the Telecommunications Industry.

Thus, the labels and record companies, while put down on paper as separate legal entities from the giant industrials, were, in fact, part and parcel of the monopolistic structure from the patent holders on down. The Motion Pictures Patents Company [MPPC] sought to prevent all outsiders from doing any production work, first in movies, and its offspring, the Motion Pictures Association of America [MPAA] continues to operate in this pyramid structure today with the labels at the lowest levels of the structure.

Similarly, the motion picture industry, a large user of music, often supports labels today, however, the relationship and definition of the label has changed drastically since the inception of "the label." Over the years, many records companies bought up the majority of independent label printers and small publishers, integrating them into their record industry structure through third party limited legal corporation papers and other devices to give the appearance of free enterprise and independently owned and operated tiers within the motion picture and music industry. It remains an appearance for all intents and purposes.

With the advent of computer automation and ever smaller printing and recording manufacturing devices, up to and including the modern Personal Computer and its peripheral devices, such as full colour printers and internal recording devices, such as the Compact Disk Recorder [CDR] and Digital Versatile Disk Recorder [DVDR] , a complete record manufacturing plant, both portable and affordable, is available to the individual and already exists in most homes, especially the homes of authors music and film.

Therefore, since all of the manufacturing processes can be done in any home, the record companies and the label companies are obsolete as business models. This is not say that a Pressing Plant and manufacturer, such as DiscMakers is obsolete, far from it, since such industrials have adapted to the changes and now cater to the individual. It is still required that large production runs be done in an industrial manufacturing pressing plant, which includes the printing, silkscreening, and other processes necessary to manufacture prerecorded entertainment in massive quantities quickly and cheaply. The movie industry and the music industry have not adapted and they are rapidly dissolving in the face of the market created by the Internet, the Niche Market. The days of the demographic market are gone, forever, replaced by the Niche Market which can reach out to all customers on an individual basis. Mass marketing has been replaced by micro marketing at the atomic [individual] level.

But the idea of a small label and/or record company is, today, in the majority, the well educated author and usually the artist himself. Since there is no manufacturing cost, per se, for producing records and/or movies as complete products, the authors and artists are no longer subject to the restraints of having to give the majority of their sales income to record companies and labels. Rather, they can collect it themselves and pay their employees instead of having to be paid by the investors of the record companies and labels because the investment by the record companies and labels no longer justifies the unfair portion of the profits that these companies took in the past. Instead of the two cents formerly paid by such labels and record companies, en toto, to the authors and artists on each record for which they charged about $6.00 to as much as $12.00 wholesale [with VHS for movies ranging from about $12.00 to $60.00], authors and artists can now obtain all of those profits for themselves; an increase in income from about 300% up to about 600%. This was formerly how much profit the labels and record companies were taking away from the authors and artists, 300 to 600 times what they paid the authors and artists. And with advances recoupable against all payments and royalties, the authors and artists actually paid for the production and publishing while the record companies and labels falsely claimed that they paid for the production and manufacturing costs which entitled them to such monstrously unfair, and often illegal, profits.

Labels no longer put up large sums of money, and, they no longer make large advances, as was questioned by one of the discussion members; certainly, no artist gets a million dollars from a label that can't compete with full author and artist independence which is taking the world by storm at places such as MySpace and YouTube. The indication is that the old style label and record company model is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

The new Internet Entertainment Industry, including its now Internetvision, Intervision, Intravision, Interactivevision [all IV], whatever one decides to call what is recognised as Internet Television, has fullfilled the predictions of McLuhan: "The medium is the message" and has, really for the first time in history, brought true artistic freedom to the authors and artists.

Since the Internet is the medium, the Internet is the message, and, it is the dominant economic force over the old motion picture and music industries. Software giants, such as Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google, moved in to pull the rug out from under the old industries before the MPAA and the RIAA knew what was happening. With the influx of tens of billions in capital investment from software companies, which also have a vested interest in copyright and its associated revenues and royalties akin to those of the authors of music and film, it is a natural transition for the software companies to replace now the former telecommunications industries and the Internet and Software join to form the new Internet Entertainment Industry [IEI], and, the Internet Entertainment & Electronics Industry [IEE and/or IEEI].

The final unification and alignment of artists and programmers has redefined the entirety of all of the former industries of the motion picture industry, the music industry, and even the electronics industry. Many of their careers cross over into all three skills, education, experience, and abilities. The union is seen as a very good thing in a 21st century economy in which the Internet will dominate world trade as the complete Telecommunications Industry headed by the personal computer.

China refers to this industry and financial district as The CyberSongs Industry, and rightfully so, since their projections for this industry are in the trillions of dollars for the next few years, that is, in its foundling stage.

The United States and Western culture prediction is at least six times that figure, or, $6,000,000,000,000.00 Clearly, the dominant economic indicator for the Gross Domestic Product of the United States as well as most European nations. The former Eastern Bloc countries, once part of the United Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR] has inverted to capitalism and the current emphasis is on music, with film to shortly follow. Groups such as t.A.T.u are merely an indicator and a forerunner of what will become the new music industry within less than four years, and most likely within a year or two.

Because I am a degreed professional in telecommunications, I need not cite anyone other than myself.

Additionally, the terms and acronyms above, such as "IV" the replacement for "tv," are coined by me. However you define them, IV being internetvision, intervision, intravision, or interactivevision, and/or implying a suffix of "television," they will resolve to IV: the life's blood of the 21st century world economy which is entertainment.

Secondly, with more than 30 years design experience in computer systems, I am more than qualified to state as an expert in the computer and all related information technologies as well anything regarding computer hardware and/or software.

I predicted this phenomenon between the years of 1975 to about 1978, this dominance of the computer from within the home in the possession of every family over all other forms of communication. It was quite simple to do so: the computer is the only device that is fully interactive, the real first interactive device, as it were, where any person in the world can interact with any other person in the world. And the qualification which eliminates the telephone from being the first truly interactive device is its limited connectivity, its cost, and its inabilities to change.

Decisions are instantaneous from each individual to any other individual for all individuals in the world, including individuals who decide to do things differently from entities which are not individuals themselves, such as governments and large corporations.

It boils down to individual freedom and the old labels and record companies provided no such liberties, only restraints, which the human individuals have thrown off with the aid of their most modern device, the computer, an extension of themselves and an extension, by design, of the human brain.

Therefore, labels and record companies, in the old context, are obsolete terms.

CyberSongs 20:17, 15 October 2006 (UTC)Terry James, CyberSongs, Author of "The Definitive Work On Computers." CyberSongs Press [1999-2006, Philadelphia]

I strongly disagree with this phrase ""The medium is the message" and has, really for the first time in history, brought true artistic freedom to the authors and artists".
In this age of the Internet, ever since the advent of the mp3, artists and authors have not benefitted, while, the major record labels, while still hemming and hawing about lost revenue have more than made up for that with the hundreds of lawsuits slapped on just about any organisation or individual they can. Downloading music illegally doesn't hurt major record labels as much as it hurts the independent labels and artists, and the availability and access which the internet offers these kinds of platforms has unfortunately killed off many independent labels/artists. BradNotBrat 05:10, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Because I am a degreed professional in telecommunications, I need not cite anyone other than myself.
Sorry to disappoint you, Terry, but you must still adhere to the policies summarized in WP:ATT. I see more than one "because"/"therefore" (that is, original research and novel conclusions, which are forbidden) in your essay above, which would be unlikely to survive if they were added to the article. Many of your other claims, while plausible, don't seem to be very well insulated against challenges. Some of your phrasing isn't encyclopedic, and more generally, you apparently want to lead the reader toward agreement with certain sweeping assessments of the music industry — inappropriate for Wikipedia. And, as BradNotBrat points out above, some of your assertions are outright contentious.
Furthermore, WP:NOR#Citing oneself doesn't even seem to apply, since you are apparently misrepresenting your own work. This article talk page is the only Google-able occurrence of "CyberSongs Press" and "The Definitive Work On Computers" on the entire Internet. The Pennsylvania Secretary Of State does not have any corporations registered with the word cybersongs. And your username being what it is suggests that you're a self-publisher, which makes you no different than a blogger. Your ideas for improving the article are welcome, but please exercise greater humility and scholarship, and perhaps seek to make smaller edits, appropriately sourced. If your more benign claims about the history of record labels are correct, then you should have no trouble finding additional sources for them. —mjb 04:04, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Record label categoriesEdit

Someone is creating categories for Record label established in xxxx for different years. This seems to me an excessive categorisation. What do others think ? -- Beardo 21:53, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

As few sources of this information are likely to exist and the list per year is likely to surprise you in its volume, I disagree.--Tednor 09:55, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Alternatives to paper labels on LPs and 45sEdit

This line:

The name, "record label", refers to the usually papered and cut center area of a vinyl recording that prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other pertinent information. Many 7" vinyl singles were pressed with a relief in lieu of the paper label, particularly in Great Britain.


The word "relief" is unclear. Perhaps it should be expanded to "...silk-screened or embossed graphics in lieu of the paper label"? K8 fan (talk) 22:19, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Major labels timelineEdit

The timeline of major labels purports to have Sony Music and BMG Music emerge as major labels in the late 1980s, with no apparent predecessors. But wasn't Sony Music just the former CBS Records (which included labels such as Columbia and Epic) after being acquired by Sony Corporation? And I don't know what BMG's predecessors in Europe had owned before that, but I'm pretty sure that BMG became known as a major label in the U.S. after acquiring RCA Records at that time. Since other labels' predecessor companies are shown in the timeline, surely CBS and RCA should be included as predecessors to Sony and BMG. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 17:31, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Source for "Major vs. independent record labels" section is worthlessEdit

This section should be removed, because it doesn't cite a reliable source. It's just an article some guy wrote on About.com that listed four record labels in a numerical list. 99.163.22.236 (talk) 20:44, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Call for new page..Film LabelEdit

I have run into a small problem on a page that described a director as owning a film label. There is no page on Wiki that I can find to help explain what a film label is and the closest I can find is this page record label. If you want to earn some points in the great internet award game creating a page Film Label that lists labels like Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks etc. would behelpful The page I had the problem on was Chi Chi LaRue who is said to own a film label.Pbmaise (talk) 07:32, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Advertising should be removed in section Relationship with artistsEdit

Under the relationships with artists section: "as small as two cups of coffee a day" This just seems like someone was trying to advertise the website modlife or whatever it is (why the quotes?). I suggest that the entire part about modlife be removed as it doesn't actually add any content and has no citations. It doesn't explain at all any relevant connection between artists and labels. It doesn't even explain what it means for fans to "get in touch with thier favorite artists and bands". This just sounds like an online fanclub or something like that. I'd bet that the person who added this part of the section works for that website. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 165.214.14.21 (talk) 14:57, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. Done. 78.26 (talk) 15:23, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

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A Couple of IdeasEdit

Hello everyone,

I am working on trying to improve this article for a class assignment, and I had a couple of ideas that I thought I would run past you guys. I would very much appreciate any personal input any of you guys would have.

1. I feel that the article could use reorganization in some areas, in particular introducing the information about major labels earlier in the article, possibly alongside the "Independent" section.

2. Expanding on the "History" section; the part describing the industry consolidation could use some more information.

Let me know if you guys have any thoughts or input, and thank you. Jhc2675 (talk) 01:01, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

Major labels chartEdit

Why not just have it start in 1929, since there's nothing before then?

74.101.202.221 (talk) 13:45, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

Return to "Record label" page.