This list is considered to be one of my tiring researches as to find the best record labels or to be accurate, the big ones! After a lot of research the Big Three names comes up: Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, they simply control the music industry all over the planet! Yes, name any record label you know and you’ll easily find that its parent company is one of those, of course not all of them but most, anyhow I’m going to show you some of the best ones. Let’s discover together such a world…
1. Atlantic Records, Elektra Records and Roadrunner Records
They are all owned by Warner Music Group. The most famous is Atlantic as it’s known for working with several R&B, RNR, Jazz, hip-hop as well as rock and heavy metal artists. Atlantic is the oldest among these two, as it was established in 1947, in which Elektra was 3 years after and Roadrunner was the last, in 1980. In addition to that they own big names like: Parlophone, Rhino, East West and Vice.
2. EMI Records, A&M Records, Geffen, Virgin Records
They are all under the Universal Music Group umbrella. Until 2012 EMI was one of the Big Four, but UMG bought it to be related to the group business. Like any other, they worked with big artists, such as: ABBA, Ace of Base, Andrea Bocelli, Apocalyptica, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Bon Jovi, The Cranberries, Celine Dion, Craig David, Danzig, Deep Purple, Depeche Mode, Enigma, George Michael, Guns N’ Roses, HIM, Children of Bodom, Coldplay, Johnny Cash, Limp Bizkit, Slash, Stevie Wonder, U2, Madonna, Maroon 5, Metallica and Megadeth. They also own Capitol Music Group, Republic Records, Island Records, Def Jam Recordings, Caroline, Decca, MCA Nashville Records and Mercury Nashville Records.
These are considered the biggest companies that are related to Sony Music Entertainment. RCA and Columbia are very old in the business as RCA established in 1901 and Columbia in 1888 and in mid 50s Epic joined the market. The companies worked with stars and newcomers as well and huge variety of music genres. Legendaries like: Michael Jackson, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Air Supply, Alan Parsons Project, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Iron Maiden, Johnny Cash, Scorpions, Santana, Sade, R. Kelly, Pink Floyd, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest and Joe Satriani. As well as they own Kemosabe, Sony Music Nashville, Provident Music Group and Legacy Recordings. (Check which major label joined their empire recently through here)
Well, this name doesn’t need any introduction – I believe. The Walt Disney Company built their music army in 1956 since then they present all music scores for their production as well as a wide variety of artists such as; Demi Lovato, R5, Bea Miller, Breaking Benjamin, Grace Potter, ZZ Ward and Queen.
Regarding Marvel; If I am going to compare it with the market they are not like the others, but because of the Marvel Entertainment Group they were capable to make a huge name for it since 1994 till now, ah, and it’s already owned by The Walt Disney Company.
As their main focus was jazz and R&B, they also were capable to produce for mainy legendary rock’n’roll icons, like; Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Parkins. The company is still active but isn’t that big like before in 50s and 60s.
They are more into heavy metal since their establishment in 1998. They released to artists like; Lamb of God, Septic Flesh, Marty Friedman, Testament and Animals as Leaders.
One of the well-known international record labels especially for progressive and power metal fans. earMusic is the music arm of the German music and entertainment company, Edel AG. From their notable bands; Savatage, Flyleaf, Gamma Ray, Angra, Chris Rea, Circle II Circle and DragonForce. Also, they produced for Yes, Europe, Deep Purple, Nazareth, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Jethro Tull.
As they have a nice variety among genres, they are mainly known by their classic rock and glam metal bands. The Italian company established in 1996 and since then they were capable to stand against the big four and keep producing for numerous remarkable bands like; Dokken, Triumph, Praying Mantis, Boston, Def Leppard, Extreme, Alan Parsons, Mastedon, Great White, Harem Scarem, Stryper, Winger, Warrant and White Lion.
They went into many phases since their establishment in 1998. Although, they were capable to contain the rock/heavy metal market by releasing for; Anathema, Anvil, Cradle of Filth, Danzig, Helloween, HIM, Lordi, Paradise Lost and The Rasmus.
10. Nuclear Blast
The German record giant gained fame since their establishment in late 80s. A lot of amazing albums for Amorphis, Crematory, Dimmu Borgir, In Flames, Therion, Cradle of Filth, Slayer, Nightwish, Machine Head, Symphony X and others were released and many – of these albums – headed the charts as well.
11. UDR Music
Many people won’t recognize their name but when I say Alice Cooper, Motorhead, Saxon, Annihilator, Europe and Skid Row then you will get interested. UDR is a German record label specialized in rock, metal and rock’n’roll for over 20 years.
You didn’t find the label that you had in mind? Don’t worry, stay tuned for the next part soon!
Leading image: Nora Kamal