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|Founder|| Chris Wright |
|Status||UK and Europe: Independent record company, owned by Reservoir Media Management|
Rest of the world: defunct, merged into Universal Music Group
|Distributor(s)||U.S. and Canadian catalogues including those of Ramones, Robbie Williams and Belinda Carlisle: Universal Music Group |
Most non-North American catalogues, plus the rights to artists not originally signed to Chrysalis: Blue Raincoat Music/Reservoir Media Management
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
Chrysalis Records ( // ) is a British record label that was created in 1968. The name was both a reference to the pupal stage of a butterfly and a combination of its founders' names, Chris Wright and Terry Ellis. It started as the Ellis-Wright Agency.
In an interview for Jethro Tull's video 20 Years of Jethro Tull , released in 1988, Wright states "Chrysalis Records might have come into being anyway, you never know what might have happened, but Chrysalis Records really came into being because Jethro Tull couldn't get a record deal and MGM couldn't even get their name right on the record". This was after the single Sunshine Day/Aeroplane was incorrectly credited to Jethro Toe.
Chrysalis entered into a licensing deal with Chris Blackwell's Island Records for distribution, based on the success of bands like Jethro Tull, Ten Years After and Procol Harum, which were promoted by the label. Jethro Tull signed with Reprise Records in the United States, which led Chrysalis to an American distribution deal with Reprise's parent company, Warner Bros. Records. This lasted from 1972 until U.S. Chrysalis switched to independent distribution in 1976. PolyGram handled international distribution and Festival Records covered Australia and New Zealand. In 1973, it signed British seminal Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band UFO. Towards the end of the 1970s, the label began to extend its range of music, incorporating acts from the Punk Rock scene such as Generation X. The Chrysalis offshoot 2 Tone Records brought in bands such as The Specials and The Selecter.
In 1979 Chrysalis bought and distributed U.S. folk label Takoma Records, naming manager/producer Denny Bruce as president, who signed The Fabulous Thunderbirds and T-Bone Burnett. Jon Monday who was Vice President of Takoma Records prior to the acquisition continued as General Manager,later becoming Director of Marketing of Chrysalis Records.
Chrysalis made history in 1979 by creating the first "music video album", a videocassette featuring a corresponding music video for each song on Blondie's Eat to the Beat album (released at the same time as the LP).
In the 1980s, Chrysalis was at the forefront of the British New Romantic movement with bands such as Gen X, Ultravox, and Spandau Ballet. The 1980s proved to be the most successful time for the label, whose roster then included Billy Idol, Pat Benatar, Blondie and Huey Lewis and the News. Chrysalis also distributed Animal Records, the short-lived label founded by Blondie guitarist Chris Stein. In 1983 after the label re-established itself in New York, Eric Heckman, formally of Atlantic and Epic records promotion took over as Senior Director of Promotion and Marketing. Also in 1983 Daniel Glass moved to Chrysalis as Director of New Music Marketing, advancing later to Senior Vice President. During the next two years Chrysalis broke Huey Lewis and the News, Billy Idol and Spandau Ballet in the United States, whilst Pat Benatar continued to find success on both the traditional and dance music charts.
In 1984, Chrysalis bought Ensign Records, a record label Nigel Grainge started in 1976 (with the label's name coming from the idea that 'N. signs' as in 'Nigel Signs') which would go on to have The Waterboys, World Party and Sinéad O’Connor on its roster in the late 1980s.Ensign joined TV marketing/compilations company Dover Records and dance label Cooltempo as part of the Chrysalis family, with Grainge staying on to run the label that he founded.
The Chrysalis Records label was sold 50% in 1990, then the remaining half in 1991 to Thorn EMI, with the Chrysalis Group (primarily a music publisher with other interests in radio and television production) setting up new indie labels such as Echo and Papillion in the mid 1990s.Chrysalis Records was folded into EMI subsidiary and flagship label EMI Records in 2005, with catalogue and artists such as Starsailor being shifted to EMI's main imprints. In 2010, BMG Rights Management bought Chrysalis Music's assets (the publishing division and The Echo Label), whilst the British Chrysalis Records catalogue (minus Robbie Williams, whose catalogue stayed behind with Universal's Island Records) was put up for sale by Universal Music Group in 2012 after its acquisition of EMI.
In July 2013, Warner Music Group completed acquisition of Parlophone Label Group, which includes the British Chrysalis catalogue, for £487 million.When Universal Music Group purchased EMI ownership of Chrysalis passed to UMG, and Warner Music Group acquired a part of EMI from UMG, including the original Chrysalis Records Ltd with its catalogue of 130 artists.
The American and Canadian Chrysalis catalogue, including artists such as Blondie, Huey Lewis and The News, and Pat Benatar, was acquired by CEMA, later EMI-Capitol Special Markets, which was folded into EMI Records Group (ERG) North America, and was then merged into Capitol Music Group, parent of former sister label Capitol Records, and is currently distributed by that label. Debbie Harry's only Chrysalis album released in the US, KooKoo , was later divested by Capitol after the merger. The Ramones' North American distribution catalogue was later acquired by another sister label of Capitol's, Geffen Records, distributed by Universal Music Enterprises, but the British distribution of Ramones' Chrysalis catalogue remained with Parlophone.
Chrysalis Records, the British independent label, was bought in May 2016 from WMG in a deal led by Blue Raincoat Music's Jeremy Lascelles and Sade's Diamond Life producer Robin Millar. The agreement saw the co-founder and original owner of Chrysalis, Chris Wright, reunited with the label as non-executive chairman 27 years after selling the company to EMI.Former Virgin Media boss Robert Devereux was also part of the original consortium.
Chrysalis Records has represented over 20,000 recordings comprising many British and other, chiefly American, rock and pop tracks from the 1960s to 1990s. Artists on the roster include The Specials, Sinead O'Connor, The Waterboys, Ten Years After, Debbie Harry, Fun Boy Three, Ultravox, Lucinda Williams, Dario G, Generation X, the Two Tone label, Grant Lee Buffalo, Everything but the Girl, Athlete, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Suzi Quatro, Steve Harley, Naked Eyes and many more.
After the 2016 purchase, the pre-2013 Chrysalis catalogues of namely Spandau Ballet, The Proclaimers, Jethro Tull and Ramones (only in the UK) stayed behind with WMG. The non-Ramones British reissues from Parlophone are distributed outside Europe by Rhino Entertainment, while the North American rights to Naked Eyes' albums originally released by EMI America stayed with Capitol Records and the non-American rights to Belinda Carlisle's only Chrysalis album A Woman and a Man were ceded to her former label, Virgin Records.
In 2018, the Cooltempo label was relaunched by Blue Raincoat Musicwith the release of the Eye Ring EP by Francesca Lombardo and Infinity Ink's debut album House of Infinity.
In August 2019, music rights company Reservoir partnered with Blue Raincoat to make the Chrysalis record label part of Reservoir's extended global infrastructure and network.
Chrysalis Records relaunched itself as a front line label in February 2020, marking a return to releasing new music for the first time in over two decades.The first signing was in partnership with award winning independent label Partisan Records. The labels came together to sign British singer/songwriter Laura Marling in a fully co-branded global release. As the first project released on Chrysalis' re-launched frontline label, Marling's album, Song for Our Daughter , debuted in April 2020 to critical acclaim and a Mercury Prize nomination.
In September 2020 Chrysalis signed the indie singer-songwriter Liz Phair.Her raw lyrical style made her a trailblazer for a raft of female artists in alternative music when she began to make records at the start of the 90s. Phair's first album in a decade is due in 2021.
Parlophone Records Limited is a German–British record label founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company as Parlophon. The British branch of the label was founded on 8 August 1923 as the Parlophone Company Limited, which developed a reputation in the 1920s as a jazz record label. On 5 October 1926, the Columbia Graphophone Company acquired Parlophone's business, name, logo, and release library, and merged with the Gramophone Company on 31 March 1931 to become Electric & Musical Industries Limited (EMI). George Martin joined Parlophone in 1950 as assistant label manager, taking over as manager in 1955. Martin produced and released a mix of recordings, including by comedian Peter Sellers, pianist Mrs Mills, and teen idol Adam Faith.
Virgin Records Ltd was a British independent record label founded by entrepreneurs Richard Branson, Simon Draper, Nik Powell, and musician Tom Newman in 1972. It grew to be a worldwide success over time, with the success of platinum performers such as Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, Devo, Tangerine Dream, Genesis, Phil Collins, the Human League, Culture Club, Simple Minds, Lenny Kravitz and Mike Oldfield among others, meaning that by the time it was sold, it was regarded as a major label, alongside other large international independents such as A&M and Island Records.
EMI Group Limited was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012, it was the fourth largest business group and record label conglomerate in the music industry, and was one of the "Big Four" record companies. Its labels included EMI Records, Parlophone, Virgin Records, and Capitol Records, which are now owned by other companies.
Universal Music Group is a global music corporation that is majority owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi, with Chinese tech company Tencent owning a minority stake. UMG's corporate headquarters are located in Hilversum, Netherlands and its operational headquarters are located in Santa Monica, California. The biggest music company in the world, it is one of the "Big Three" record labels, along with Sony Music and Warner Music Group. Tencent acquired ten percent of Universal Music Group in March 2020 for €3 billion and acquired an additional ten percent stake in January 2021.
Chrysalis Group was a UK media company that was founded by Chris Wright, chairman, and Terry Ellis. Wright was named in Sunday Times Rich List 2009 of the 1,000 richest persons in the UK. Previously having interests in television, books and radio, Chrysalis now focuses on the areas of music publishing, music recording, artist management and entertainment product distribution. The music branch includes The Hit Label, Echo and Papillon Records.
EMI Records Ltd. is a British record label owned by Universal Music Group (UMG). The original EMI Records was founded by the music company of the same name in 1972 as its flagship label, and launched in January 1973 as the successor to its Columbia and Parlophone record labels. The label was later launched worldwide. It has a branch in India called "EMI Records India", run by director Mohit Suri. UMG revived the label in June 2020, as the successor to Virgin EMI, with Virgin Records now operating as an imprint of EMI Records.
Rak Records is a British record label, founded by record producer Mickie Most in 1969. Rak was home to artists such as Herman's Hermits, Suzi Quatro, Mud, Kenny, Hot Chocolate, Smokie, Arrows, Span, Racey and Kim Wilde. Rak Records were distributed via a licensing deal with EMI Records, which bought the company and its master recordings from Most in 1983. Most kept the company name and his RAK Studios, which still exists in St. John's Wood along with Rak Publishing. The latter company represents artists such as Joan Jett, Ben Taylor and KK. In 1986, Most defected the label from EMI to PRT Records which handled the last releases until February 1988. Owing to the records not being hits, the label folded. However, 26 years later in late 2014, Rak Records was revived as a label for new artists releasing both downloads and 7-inch vinyl in the form of a singles club. The Cadbury Sisters, Trojanhorse, and Beautiful Boy were the new signings. They recorded their own original songs as the A-sides, and covered a classic Rak artists cover as the B-side. The Cadbury Sisters covered Steve Harley's 1975 classic "Make Me Smile ", Trojan Horse did Cozy Powell's "Dance With The Devil", and Beautiful Boy did "Kids In America". As PRT Records is no longer in existence, the label is now distributed by Gearbox Records using the original sailing yacht paper label and the records packaged in the original royal blue paper sleeves.
Papillon Records was a record label started by the Chrysalis Group in 1999 with longtime Chrysalis act Jethro Tull. Whilst Echo Records was formed to provide an outlet by new and independent developing acts, Papillon Records was set up as a competitor to such groups as Eagle Rock Entertainment and Sanctuary Records signing 'heritage acts' - that is already long term recording artists with large, loyal fanbases - such as The Human League and Deacon Blue. However, after a number of album releases failed to sell, it was decided in 2001 that Papillion would not sign anymore acts. The label quickly became insolvent and was closed by the Chrysalis Group in 2002. A subsidiary 'The Hit Label' was left to trade just to deal with back catalogue.
Ensign Records was a record label started in 1976 by London-born Nigel Grainge, elder brother of UMG Chairman Sir Lucian Grainge.
Cooltempo, the dance music imprint of Chrysalis Records, was revived in May 2018. The label released albums by artists such as Kenny Thomas, Milli Vanilli, Adeva, Shara Nelson, Mica Paris and Innocence.
The Echo Label was a record label started by Chrysalis Group in 1994, and linked with Pony Canyon in Japan. The Chrysalis Group were the original owners of Chrysalis Records, which they sold to EMI.
Terry Ellis, is an English record producer and manager best known for his early work with band Jethro Tull, and as co-founder of music company Chrysalis Records in 1969.
Chrysalis Music is a British independent music publisher.
Radioactive Records was an American record label. It was formed as a joint venture between talent manager Gary Kurfirst and MCA Records, and it is now out of business. Its catalogue is now owned by Geffen Records and licensed through Universal Music Enterprises.
Capitol Music Group is an American front line umbrella label owned by the Universal Music Group (UMG). The company is run by Chairman & CEO Jeff Vaughn. It oversees handling of record labels assigned to UMG's Capitol Records division and was inherited from its acquisition of EMI's catalog [with the exception of Parlophone, which was sold to Warner Music Group (WMG) in 2013]. It is one of seven umbrella labels owned by UMG, the other six being Interscope Geffen A&M, Island Records, Def Jam Recordings, Republic Records, Verve Records, and Decca Records.
Chris Wright, CBE is a British music industry executive.
Nigel Grainge was the founder of Ensign Records in 1976.