Arista Records

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Arista Records, Inc.
Arista Records Logo.svg
Parent company Sony Music Entertainment
Founded1974 (1974)
Founder Clive Davis
StatusActive
Distributor(s)
GenreVarious
Country of originUnited States

Arista Records, Inc. ( /əˈrɪstə/ ) is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment and previously handled by Bertelsmann Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for Columbia Records. Until its demise in 2011, it was a major distributor and promoter of albums throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Today, the label's reissues and catalogue releases are handled by RCA Records and Legacy Recordings.

A record label, or record company, is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Sometimes, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos; also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists ; and maintains contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information.

Sony Music American record label

Sony Music Entertainment (SME), commonly known as Sony Music, is an American global music conglomerate owned by Sony and incorporated as a general partnership of Sony Music Holdings Inc. through Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, which in turn is a subsidiary of the Japanese Sony Corporation. It was originally founded in 1929 as American Record Corporation and renamed as Columbia Recording Corporation in 1938, following its acquisition by the Columbia Broadcasting System. In 1966, the company was reorganized to become CBS Records, and Sony Corporation bought the company in 1988, renaming it under its current name in 1991. In 2004, Sony and Bertelsmann established a 50-50 joint venture known as Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which transferred the businesses of Sony Music and Bertelsmann Music Group into one entity. However, in 2008, Sony acquired Bertelsmann's stake, and the company reverted to the SME name shortly after; the buyout allowed Sony to acquire all of BMG's labels, and led to the dissolution of BMG, which instead relaunched as BMG Rights Management.

Bertelsmann Music Group record label company

Bertelsmann Music Group was a division of German media company Bertelsmann before its completion of sale of the majority of its assets to Japan's Sony Corporation of America on 1 October 2008. Although it was established in 1987, the music company was formed as RCA/Ariola International in 1984 as a joint venture to combine the music label activities of RCA Corporation's RCA Records division and Bertelsmann's Ariola Records and its associated labels which include Arista Records. It consisted of the BMG Music Publishing company, the world's third largest music publisher and the world's largest independent music publisher, and the 50% share of the joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment, which established the German American Sony BMG Music Entertainment from 2004 to 2008.

Contents

In July 2018, Sony revived the Arista label.

History

Background

Logo used prior to Arista's 2018 relaunch Arista logo.png
Logo used prior to Arista's 2018 relaunch

After being fired from CBS Records, [1] Clive Davis was hired by Columbia Pictures (which later became sister to the former CBS Records in 1989) in June 1974 to be a consultant for the company's record and music operations. By November 1974, and with a 10 million dollar investment from Columbia Pictures, Davis folded the various Columbia legacy labels (Colpix Records, Colgems Records, and Bell Records) into a new entity named Arista Records, [2] ultimately owning 20 percent of the company. The label was named after Arista, New York City's secondary school honor society (of which Davis was a member at Erasmus Hall High School). In early 1975, most of the artists who had been signed to Bell were let go, except David Cassidy (left for RCA Records), Tony Orlando and Dawn (left for Elektra Records), and the 5th Dimension (departed for ABC Records). Others, such as Suzi Quatro and Hot Chocolate, were farmed out to the Bell/Arista-distributed label, Big Tree. Several Bell acts, such as Barry Manilow, the Bay City Rollers, and Melissa Manchester moved to Arista. The British Bell label kept that name for a couple of years before changing its name to Arista. The label was immortalized in the 1978 Rockpile song "They Called It Rock," in the lyric, "Arista says they love you/But the kids can't dance to this."

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film studio, production company and film distributor that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, a division of Sony Entertainment's Sony Pictures subsidiary of the Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Corporation.

Colpix Records was the first recording company for Columbia Pictures–Screen Gems. Colpix got its name from combining Columbia (Col) and Pictures (Pix). CBS, which owned Columbia Records, then sued Columbia Pictures for trademark infringement over the Colpix name.

Colgems Records record label

Colgems Records was a record label that existed from 1966 to 1971.

In addition to Manilow, Air Supply, the Kinks, and Dionne Warwick, Arista signed Aretha Franklin in 1980, after her long relationship with Atlantic Records ended. The label's most significant acquisition came in 1983 when Davis signed Warwick's cousin, Whitney Houston. Houston would eventually become Arista's biggest-selling recording artist, with sales of 200 million records worldwide, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). [3]

Air Supply British-Australian soft rock group

Air Supply are a soft rock duo, consisting of English singer-songwriter and guitarist Graham Russell and Australian lead vocalist Russell Hitchcock. They had a succession of hits worldwide, including eight Top Ten hits in the United States, in the early 1980s. They formed in Australia in 1975 and have included various accompanying musicians and singers. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) inducted Air Supply into their Hall of Fame on 1 December 2013 at the annual ARIA Awards.

The Kinks English rock band

The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The band emerged during the height of British rhythm and blues and Merseybeat, and were briefly part of the British Invasion of the United States until their touring ban in 1965. Their third single, the Ray Davies-penned "You Really Got Me", became an international hit, topping the charts in the United Kingdom and reaching the Top 10 in the United States. Their music was influenced by a wide range of genres, including rhythm and blues, British music hall, folk and country. They gained a reputation for reflecting English culture and lifestyle, fuelled by Ray Davies' observational writing style, and are considered one of the most influential groups of the period.

Dionne Warwick American singer, actress and TV show host

Marie Dionne Warwick is an American singer, actress, and television show host who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization and a United States Ambassador of Health.

Subsidiary imprint labels

Arista had an imprint label in the 1970s called Arista Novus, which focused on contemporary jazz artists. It distributed two other jazz labels, Arista Freedom, which specialized in avant-garde jazz [4] and, until 1982, GRP Records, which specialized in contemporary jazz and what came to be known as smooth jazz. A country music division, Career Records, was merged into the Arista Nashville division in 1997. Arista Austin was used in the late 1990s as a country label. Additionally, Arista was the North American distributor of Jive Records from 1981 until 1987. During the 1990s, Arista also distributed Logic, Rowdy and Heavenly Recordings.[ citation needed ]

Avant-garde jazz is a style of music and improvisation that combines avant-garde art music and composition with jazz. It originated in the 1950s and developed through the 1960s. Originally synonymous with free jazz, much avant-garde jazz was distinct from that style.

GRP Records American jazz record label

GRP Records is a jazz record label founded by Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen in 1978. GRP was known for its all-digital recordings and jazz-pop sound.

Smooth jazz is music that evolved from a blend of jazz fusion and easy listening pop music, featuring a polished pop feel with little to no jazz improvisation. The genre arose in the mid-1970s in the United States, but it was not named "smooth jazz" until the 1980s. Traditional jazz players and jazz purists did not embrace the popular style; Jazz Journal's "Sound Investment" column stated in November 1999 that it "would cover an extremely wide spectrum of jazz styles" while avoiding smooth jazz.

Acquisitions, sell-offs

Looking to stave off bankruptcy, Columbia Pictures sold Arista to German-based Ariola Records, a unit of Bertelsmann, in 1979. But after Arista lost $12 million in 1982, Bertelsmann sold a 50% interest in the company to RCA Records in 1983. In 1985, RCA and Bertlesmann merged their music operations to form RCA/Ariola International; RCA owned 75% and Bertlesmann owned the remainder. After General Electric absorbed the RCA Corporation in 1986, GE sold off various RCA assets, including all of its interest in RCA/Ariola to Bertlesmann, and it was renamed Bertelsmann Music Group, though Arista's U.S. releases would not note BMG until 1987.

Ariola Records German record label

Ariola Records is a German record label. In the late 1980s, it was a subsidiary label of Bertelsmann Music Group, which in turn has become a part of the international media conglomerate Sony Music.

RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records, Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1986, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. It is the second oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.

General Electric American multinational conglomerate corporation

General Electric Company (GE) is an American multinational conglomerate incorporated in New York and headquartered in Boston. As of 2018, the company operates through the following segments: aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital industry, additive manufacturing, venture capital and finance, lighting, transportation, and oil and gas.

Into the 1980s, Arista continued its success, including major UK act Secret Affair. Over the years it acquired Northwestside Records, deConstruction Records, First Avenue Records, and Dedicated Records in the UK. In 1989, Arista entered into a joint venture with Antonio "L.A." Reid and Babyface in the creation of LaFace Records, record company of Toni Braxton, Usher, and TLC, which it acquired in 1999. In 1993, Arista also entered into a joint-venture with Sean "Puffy" Combs to form Bad Boy Records. In 1997 Arista acquired Profile Records, the home of Run-D.M.C. and Poor Righteous Teachers.

Secret Affair are a mod revival band, formed in 1978 and disbanded in 1982. They reformed to perform and record in the 2000s.

First Avenue Records was a British record label and publishing company. The publishing side of the company was acquired by BMG Music Publishing in 2002. After Universal Music Publishing's acquisition of BMG Music Publishing in 2004, First Avenue Music then belonged to Universal Music Publishing.

Dedicated was a British independent record label that released music between 1990 and 1998 by Spiritualized, Spacemen 3, Global Communication, Beth Orton, Chapterhouse, Cranes and others. It was based in London and founded by Doug D'Arcy.

Milli Vanilli controversy

In 1989, Arista signed Milli Vanilli, a duo consisting of Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan that was based in Germany. The label released its debut album, Girl You Know It's True , which was a remixed and re-edited version of All or Nothing , which had been out in Europe the previous year. The album was certified sextuple platinum in the U.S., and charted five top-ten singles, three of them reaching the number one position. In 1990, Milli Vanilli won two American Music Awards and a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Later that year, Frank Farian, Milli Vanilli's producer, said that the duo hadn't performed a single note on their album. Carol Decker, lead singer of the band T'Pau, was interviewed after their performance on MTV and said that Milli Vanilli had used a Synclavier and were not singing.

This revelation caused a firestorm in the music industry, as recording artists, particularly pop acts that heavily relied on electronic processing and over-dubbing (what they referred to as "studio magic"), were now under scrutiny and subsequently forced to cut back on lip-synching to show that they were authentic. Milli Vanilli's Grammy Award was subsequently revoked. [5] Clive Davis promptly released the duo from its contract and deleted the album and its masters from their catalogue—making Girl You Know It's True the largest-selling album to be deleted. A court ruling in the U.S. allowed anyone who had bought the album to get a partial refund.

In response to the scandal, Arista's position was that the company had been completely unaware of Morvan and Pilatus having not themselves recorded their album. In a post-debacle interview, Morvan defended himself by saying, "[Before Milli Vanilli] I was working at a McDonald's. What would you have done?"

Reconstructing Arista

At the end of 2000, following its 25th anniversary, BMG pushed Davis out as label head and promoted L.A. Reid as its new President and CEO. Under Reid, the label had success with newer acts such as Avril Lavigne, Pink and Adema, as well as legacy acts like TLC and Usher. Reid, however, seemed to lose focus when it came to promoting its established acts such as Whitney Houston, who had been the label's biggest seller over the years. Reid's extravagant spending, meanwhile, caused the company to lose money. After the formation of the joint venture of BMG and Sony Music Entertainment (the former CBS Records) in 2004, Reid was let go. Arista, always an independently managed front line label at BMG, was merged with J Records in August 2005 and began operating under the newly formed RCA Music Group—of which Davis had become CEO, and thus again became in control of Arista. The Arista label continued to be used for new releases, although heavily scaled back, while its reissues are released through Sony Music's Legacy Recordings. Also, as a result of the Sony-BMG merger, Arista once again became related to Columbia Pictures, which is fully owned by the Sony Corporation of America (through Sony Pictures Entertainment) - who would buy out BMG's share in 2008.[ citation needed ]

Dissolution and revival

After L.A Reid left for Def Jam over at Universal Music, Arista began to operate weakly; while at the same time the label began losing numerous artists, original Arista acts such as Avril Lavigne were moved to RCA Records, at the same time LaFace Records was revived, this time operating under the JIVE Label Group. The revival of LaFace caused most or if not all of its original acts to return to the LaFace label, acts such as Pink, Usher, YoungBloodZ, TLC, Kenny Lattimore, and Chante Moore.

During the summer of 2011, the RCA Music Group underwent a restructuring that saw the elimination of the Arista name later on that year, along with sister labels Jive and J. [6] RCA Records started releasing all RCA Music Group releases under RCA Records. [7] [8] [9] Arista Nashville continued to operate through Sony Music Nashville and was not affected by the closing of Arista Records. [10]

Arista Records France was founded in September 2012, making it the last active remnant of the label.

In July 2018, Sony Music revived Arista as a frontline label. The company has hired former Island Records president/CEO David Massey to lead Arista. [11]

Arista Nashville

In 1989, Arista Records launched Arista Nashville, which specializes in country music artists. In 1995, Arista Nashville launched a subsidiary label known as Career Records, the roster of which at the time included Brett James, Tammy Graham, and Lee Roy Parnell. Currently, Arista Nashville falls under the wing of Sony Music Nashville, hosting such artists as Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Ronnie Dunn and Jerrod Niemann.

Artists

See also

Related Research Articles

Clive Davis American record producer and music executive

Clive Jay Davis is an American record producer, A&R executive and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer.

Milli Vanilli West German R&B, pop, and dance music project

Milli Vanilli was a German R&B duo from Munich. The group was founded by Frank Farian in 1988 and consisted of Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus. The group's debut album, titled All or Nothing in Europe and reconfigured as Girl You Know It's True in the United States, achieved international success and earned them a Grammy Award for Best New Artist on 21 February 1990.

Jive Records American record label

Jive Records was an American record label under the RCA Music Group formed in 1981 by Zomba Records. Formerly headquartered in New York City, the label was best known for a string of successes with hip hop artists in the 1980s, and also in teen pop and boy bands during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Epic Records American record label

Epic Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, Inc., the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was founded predominantly as a jazz and classical music label in 1953, but later expanded its scope to include a more diverse range of genres, including pop, R&B, rock, and hip hop. Epic has released music by artists including Glenn Miller, Tammy Wynette, George Michael, Shakin Stevens, Europe, Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent, Shakira, Sly & the Family Stone, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, ABBA, Anastacia, Boston, Dave Clark Five, Gloria Estefan, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and Michael Jackson. Along with Arista, Columbia and RCA Records, Epic is one of Sony Music Entertainment's four flagship record labels.

Fab Morvan French singer

Fabrice Morvan is a French singer-songwriter, dancer and model. He was half of the pop duo Milli Vanilli, with Rob Pilatus, selling multi-platinum albums around the world. However, he was later involved in one of the largest scandals in pop music history when it was revealed that neither he nor Pilatus had actually sung on any of Milli Vanilli's recordings. After the scandal, the group reformed as Rob & Fab in the 1990s with limited success. Morvan had a solo comeback in the 2000s releasing his first solo album, Love Revolution.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment was an American record company owned as a 50–50 joint venture between Sony Corporation of America and Bertelsmann Music Group. The venture's successor, the revived Sony Music Entertainment, is wholly owned by Sony, following their buyout of the remaining 50% held by Bertelsmann AG. BMG was instead rebuilt as BMG Rights Management on the basis of 200 remaining artists.

Hansa Records was a record label founded in the 1960s based in West Berlin, West Germany.

J Records American record label

J Records was an American record label owned and operated by Sony Music Entertainment, and was distributed through the RCA Music Group. The label was founded in 2000 by Clive Davis and was dissolved into RCA Records in 2011.

BNA Records record label

BNA Records, formerly known as BNA Entertainment, was a label group that shared ties with Arista Nashville and RCA Nashville from parent company Sony Music Nashville, which itself is a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, BNA featured country music acts on its roster. The company derived its name from the IATA and ICAO airport codes for Nashville International Airport.

RCA/Jive Label Group

RCA/Jive Label Group was a short-lived American record label group, owned by Sony Music Entertainment and representing the merger of the RCA Music Group and Jive Label Group. The umbrella group was formed in 2007 under the name BMG Label Group, was rebranded as RCA/Jive Label Group in 2009. In July 2011 it was finally dissolved into two separate labels: the RCA Music Group and Epic Records which took Jive subsidiaries until October 2011 when it retired Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records. The artists on those three labels were moved to RCA Records.

Barry Weiss American businessman

Barry Weiss is an American music executive and producer who is currently an executive with RECORDS, a label he co-founded. He got his start at Clive Calder's Jive Records before working his way up to the head of the RCA/Jive Label Group. While at Jive, Weiss fostered artists like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, NSYNC, Chris Brown, Backstreet Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, and many others. He left the organization in 2011 to join the Universal Music Group prior to co-founding RECORDS in 2015.

RCA Music Group was an umbrella group of labels distributed by Sony Music Entertainment that existed between March 2004 and 2009, and for a short period of time between July 2011 and October 2011 as all RCA Music Group labels were merged with RCA Records.

CBS Records International international arm of Columbia Records

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LaFace Records record label

LaFace Records was an American record label based in Atlanta, Georgia that operated as a unit of Sony Music Entertainment from 2008 to 2011 and was historically a part of Bertelsmann Music Group from 1989 to 2004. It was most active and achieved its greatest commercial success during the 1990s; dealing largely in the field of urban music. It was originally distributed by its co-creator Arista Records from 1989 through 2001; after which it was shuttered and absorbed into Arista. In 2004, the label was rebooted, and it began operating through Jive Records until both were absorbed into RCA Records in 2011. Today, the label's back catalog and reissues are managed by Legacy Recordings.

References

  1. "CPI Tabs Davis to Expand Line" Billboard on Google Books (June 1, 1974). Retrieved March 18, 2011
  2. "The New Record Company: Arista Records" Billboard on Google Books (November 23, 1974). Retrieved March 18, 2011
  3. RIAA sales statistics Archived July 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Arista/Freedom Records Listing". Jazzdiscography.com. April 26, 1998. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  5. PARELES, JON (November 20, 1990). "Wages of Silence: Milli Vanilli Loses A Grammy Award". The New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  6. Halperin, Shirley (October 7, 2011). "RCA Records' Peter Edge and Tom Corson on Why the Label Downsized and its Place in Sony's Big Picture (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  7. Christman, Ed (August 23, 2011). "RCA's New Executive Team Named Under CEO Peter Edge Amid Layoffs (Update)". Billboard.biz. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  8. "Unveiling The New Look RCA Records". FMQB. August 23, 2011. Archived from the original on November 8, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  9. Halperin, Shirley (October 7, 2011). "RCA's Peter Edge, Tom Corson on the Shuttering of Jive, J and Arista". Billboard.biz. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  10. "Quick Takes: RCA closes subsidiaries". Los Angeles Times. October 8, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2011.
  11. https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8464366/david-massey-arista-records-relaunch-sony-music-entertainment