What are the Biggest Record Labels in the Music Industry?

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A record label is a brand in the music industry that is responsible for making music videos, recording and publishing. They scout talent from various platforms and they also take care of their artists and managers. The term ‘record label’ comes from the label that is often seen in the middle of a vinyl. This displays the manufacturer’s name, and other required information.

What are the Biggest Record Labels in the Music Industry
live music performance

What does a Record Label Do for an Artist?

  •       Produce
  •       Manufacture
  •       Distribute
  •       Market
  •       Promote
  •       Enforce

Now, there’s a good chance that you have heard the names of a few record labels while you watched television or even while you surfed the internet. If you want to find out more about the top labels in the music industry and the artists that are on them then take a look below.

What are the Biggest Record Labels in the Music Industry?
record label and music publisher

YouTube Video

Sony Music Entertainment

Sony Music Entertainment is widely referred to as being Sony Music. They are an American music company with a HQ in NYC and founded in the year 1929. The company was soon rebranded as Columbia Recording Corporation up until 1991 where they regained their original title. Some of the top artists signed to this label include Beyoncé, Judas Priest, Slayer and Calvin Harris. DJ Khaled is also on the label, along with Harry Styles.

Universal Music Publishing

This label is the second-biggest music publishing company after Sony. Universal Music Publishing have produced some big hits, including Born to be Wild by Mars Bonfire and Shania Twain’s famous “That Don’t Impress me Much”.  Some of the artists who are signed to the label include Eminem, Billie Eilish, Post Malone and more.

Warner Music Group

Warner Music Group have a HQ in New York City. They come in third when you look at the top record labels in the music industry and they were in the news due to a controversial incident. Some of the artists that they have signed include Coldplay, Madonna, Camila Cabello, Tones & I, Ed Sheeran, Trivium and Slipknot. Metallica are also signed to the label.

record labels

Island Records

Island Records were founded in the year 1959 and they are a division of the Universal Music Group. They have been a platform for a lot of the big artists in the world, including Ariana Grande, Amy Winehouse and even Bob Marley. The main reason why they are called Island Records is because they have the Island US, Island Australia and Island UK record label.

BMG Rights Management Records

BMG Rights Management were established in 2008 and they came about when Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Bertelsmann came up with the idea of starting a label. This is quite possibly the youngest worldwide music company, but they do have operations which go into Sydney, berlin and even Stockholm. They also operate in Los Angeles, London and Paris too. Their clients include a lot of world favourites, such as DJ Snake, Avril Lavigne, Will.I.Am, John Legend and more.

ABC Paramount Records

ABC records produce music in a huge number of genres. This includes pop, soundtrack, jazz and more. They have been the most-talked-about music producer for quite some time and they have managed to sign artists such as Jimmy Rushing, Otis Spann and even Barry Mann. ABC were sold to MCA Records during the presidency of Steve Diener because of his financial issues within the company.

Virgin Records

Virgin Records were founded in the year 1972 by Richard Branson, Tom Newman, Simon Draper and Nik Powell. Branson had mentioned in his autobiography that the name suited the company because all of the entrepreneurs were new to the business, as virgins. The company have been able to sign a huge number of artists, including Janet Jackson, The Spice Girls, Simple Minds and even Human League too.

record labels

Red Hill Records

Red Hill Records are a segment of the Christian record label known as Pamplin Music, founded by Robert B. Pamplin Jr in 1995. The segment was formed in the year 2000 with the main focus on electric and even pop music. They have managed to sign artists such as Ash Mundae, Kindrid Three, and even Katy Perry.

If you fancy taking a look some of the worst record labels deals in history, then be sure to check this out!

An Alternative – Cosound

What about the concept of music beyond labels? Where there’s no requirement to be legally attached to a company that may tarnish your creative freedom or diminish your profits? Well, Cosound answers this perfectly with an offer of a simple peer-to-peer experience with no middleman, where talent and services can be directly exchanged, shared and bought. This is something to shape the way musicians interact with record labels and something that inspires imagination, creativity and community. Sound good? Check out our community page and download the app to get involved!

Final Thoughts

Of course, the music industry is very cutthroat and it’s safe to say that not many artists are able to make it to the peak of stardom. That being said a good record label can be worth its weight in gold, and these artists have all made it big because they have had the right record label behind them.

Steve Allinson

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