Geffen Records

Last updated
Geffen Records
Geffen Records logo.svg
Parent company Universal Music Group
Founded1980
Founder David Geffen
Distributor(s)
GenreVarious
Country of originUnited States
Location Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Official website geffen.com

Geffen Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Interscope Geffen A&M Records imprint.

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, while also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists, and maintaining 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. Within the mainstream music industry, recording artists have traditionally been reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on music streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels also provide publicists, who assist performers in gaining positive media coverage, and arrange for their merchandise to be available via stores and other media outlets.

Universal Music Group American music corporation

Universal Music Group is an American global music corporation that is a subsidiary of the French media conglomerate Vivendi. UMG's global corporate headquarters are located in Santa Monica, California. It is considered one of the "Big Three" music companies, along with Sony Music and Warner Music Group. Since 2004, the corporation is no longer related to the film studio Universal Studios. In 2019, Fast Company named Universal Music Group the most innovative music company and listed UMG among the Top 50 most innovative companies in the world and "amid the music industry's digital transformation, Universal is redefining what a modern label should look like." UMG has signed licensing agreements with more than 400 platforms worldwide.

Interscope Geffen A&M Records

Interscope Geffen A&M Records is an American umbrella label owned by Universal Music Group, consisting of record labels Interscope Records, Geffen Records, and A&M Records.

Contents

On March 23, 2017, Billboard announced that Geffen was relaunching with longtime A&R Neil Jacobson as President, [1] who reports to John Janick, CEO and chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

History

Geffen Records was started in 1980 by music industry businessman David Geffen [2] who, in the early 1970s, had founded Asylum Records. Geffen stepped down from Asylum in 1975, when he crossed over to film and was named a vice president of Warner Bros. Pictures. He was fired from Warner circa 1978, but remained locked in a five-year contract, which prevented him from working elsewhere. He returned to work in 1980 and struck a deal with Warner Bros. Records to create Geffen Records. Warner provided 100 percent of the funding for the label's operations and distributed its releases in the United States and Canada; Epic Records handled distribution in the rest of the world until 1985, when Warner Bros. also took over those territories. Profits were split 50/50 between Geffen and the respective distributors.

David Geffen American record executive, film producer, theatrical producer, and philanthropist

David Lawrence Geffen is an American business magnate, producer, film studio executive, and philanthropist. Geffen created or co-created Asylum Records in 1970, Geffen Records in 1980, DGC Records in 1990, and DreamWorks SKG in 1994. As philanthropist he has donated to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and other educational and research institutes.

Asylum Records record label

Asylum Records is an American record label, founded in 1971 by David Geffen and partner Elliot Roberts. It was taken over by Warner Communications in 1972, and later merged with Elektra Records to become Elektra/Asylum Records.

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 Records has released music by artists including Glenn Miller, Tammy Wynette, George Michael, The Yardbirds, Donovan, Shakin Stevens, Europe, Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent, Shakira, Sly & the Family Stone, The Hollies, Celine Dion, ABBA, Culture Club, 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.

Geffen Records' first artist was disco superstar Donna Summer, whose gold-selling album The Wanderer became the label's first release in 1980. The label followed it up with Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It was Lennon's first new album since 1975. Two weeks after it entered the charts, Lennon was murdered in New York City. Subsequently, the album went on to sell millions and gave Geffen its first number-one album and single; the rights to the album would later be taken over by EMI, which eventually was absorbed by Geffen's parent Universal Music.

Donna Summer American singer and songwriter

LaDonna Adrian Gaines, widely known by her stage name based on her married name Donna Summer, was an American singer, songwriter and actress. She gained prominence during the disco era of the late 1970s. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the United States Billboard 200 chart and charted four number-one singles in the US within a 12-month period. Summer has reportedly sold over 230 million records worldwide, making her one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. She also charted two number-one singles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the US and a number-one single in the United Kingdom.

<i>The Wanderer</i> (Donna Summer album) 1980 studio album by Donna Summer

The Wanderer is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Donna Summer. It was released on October 20, 1980. The inaugural release of the Geffen Records label, it became a Top 20 album in the United States, with the title track reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

<i>Double Fantasy</i> 1980 studio album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Double Fantasy is the fifth album by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, released in 1980. It is also the seventh and final studio album released by Lennon during his lifetime. The album was initially poorly received. However, following Lennon's murder three weeks after its release, it became a worldwide commercial success and went on to win the 1981 Album of the Year award at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards.

As the 1980s progressed, Geffen would go on to have success with such acts as Berlin, Kylie Minogue, Enya, Quarterflash, Oxo, Asia, Wang Chung and Sammy Hagar. In the meantime, the label continued to sign a handful of established music icons, including: Elton John, Irene Cara, Cher, Debbie Harry, Don Henley, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel and Jennifer Holliday. Toward the end of the decade, the company also began making a name for itself as an emerging rock label, thanks to the success of Whitesnake (U.S. and Canada only), The Stone Roses, Guns N' Roses, Tesla, Sonic Youth and the mainstream comeback of 1970s-era rockers Aerosmith. This prompted Geffen to create a subsidiary label, DGC Records in 1990; which focused on more progressive rock and would later embrace the emergence of alternative rockNirvana being an example. Geffen also distributed the first incarnation of Def American Recordings through Warner Bros. from 1988 to 1990.

Berlin (band) American synthpop band

Berlin is an American new wave band originally formed in Orange County, California. The band gained mainstream-commercial success with singles including "Sex ", "No More Words" and the chart-topping "Take My Breath Away" from the 1986 film Top Gun. Band members included John Crawford, Terri Nunn (vocals), David Diamond (keyboards), Ric Olsen (guitar), Matt Reid (keyboards) and Rod Learned (drums).

Kylie Minogue Australian-British singer, recording artist, songwriter and actress

Kylie Ann Minogue,, also known mononymously as Kylie, is an Australian-British singer, songwriter and actress. She achieved recognition starring in the Australian soap opera Neighbours, where she played tomboy mechanic Charlene Robinson. Appearing in the series for two years, Minogue's character married Scott Robinson in an episode viewed by nearly 20 million people in the United Kingdom, making it one of the most watched Australian TV episodes ever. Since then, Minogue has been a recording artist and has achieved commercial success and critical acclaim in the entertainment industry. Minogue has been recognised with several honorific nicknames, most notably the "Princess of Pop". She is recognised as the highest-selling Australian artist of all time by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).

Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin ; born 17 May 1961), known professionally as Enya, is an Irish singer, songwriter, record producer and musician. Born into a musical family and raised in the Irish-speaking area of Gweedore in County Donegal in the north of Ireland, Enya began her music career when she joined her family's Celtic band Clannad in 1980 on keyboards and backing vocals. She left in 1982 with their manager and producer Nicky Ryan to pursue a solo career, with Ryan's wife Roma Ryan as her lyricist. Enya developed her sound over the following four years with multitracked vocals and keyboards with elements of new age, Celtic, classical, church, and folk music. She has sung in ten languages.

Acquisition by MCA

After a decade of operating through Warner, when its contract with the company expired, the label was sold to MCA Music Entertainment (later renamed Universal Music Group) in 1990. The deal ultimately earned David Geffen an estimated US$800 million in stock (until the Japanese conglomerate, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.'s cash acquisition of MCA in 1991, made Geffen a billionaire) and an employment contract that ran until 1995. Following the sale, Geffen Records operated as one of MCA's leading independently managed labels. Geffen stepped down as head of the label in 1995 to collaborate with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg to form DreamWorks SKG, an ambitious multimedia empire dealing in film, television, books and music. Geffen Records would distribute releases on the new operation's DreamWorks Records subsidiary.

Jeffrey Katzenberg American film producer

Jeffrey Katzenberg is an American film executive, film producer and media proprietor.

Steven Spielberg American film director and screenwriter

Steven Allan Spielberg is an American filmmaker. He is considered one of the founding pioneers of the New Hollywood era and one of the most popular directors and producers in film history. Spielberg started in Hollywood directing television and several minor theatrical releases. He became a household name as the director of Jaws (1975), which was critically and commercially successful and is considered the first summer blockbuster. His subsequent releases focused typically on science fiction and adventure films, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993) are seen as archetypes of modern Hollywood escapist filmmaking.

DreamWorks Records American record label

DreamWorks Records was an American record label founded in 1996 by David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg as a subsidiary of DreamWorks SKG. The label operated until 2003 when it was sold to Universal Music Group. The label itself also featured a Nashville, Tennessee-based subsidiary, DreamWorks Nashville, which specialized in country music and was shut down in 2005. The company's logo was designed by Roy Lichtenstein and was his last commission before his death in 1997.

Interscope-Geffen-A&M

Universal Music Group acquired PolyGram in 1999, resulting in a corporate reorganization of labels. Geffen Records, along with A&M Records, was subsequently merged into Interscope Records. Although Geffen would continue to exist as a brand, it was downsized to fit into the greater expansion of Interscope. At the same time, international distribution of Interscope and Geffen releases switched to ex-PolyGram label Polydor Records, which had already been distributing A&M releases overseas (in return for A&M handling Polydor releases in the U.S.).

By 2000, despite Geffen Records no longer being independently operated within UMG and taking a more submissive position behind Interscope, it continued to do steady business—so much so that in 2003, UMG folded MCA Records into Geffen. Though Geffen had been substantially a pop-rock label, its absorption of MCA (and its back catalogs) led to a more diverse roster; with former MCA artists such as Mary J. Blige, The Roots, Blink-182, Rise Against and Common now featured on the label. Meanwhile, DreamWorks Records also folded, with artists such as Nelly Furtado, Lifehouse and Rufus Wainwright being absorbed by Geffen as well. During this time, DGC Records was also folded into Geffen, with retained artists now recording for Geffen directly (DGC was reactivated in 2007, however it would now operate through Interscope Records instead).

As the 2000s progressed, Geffen's absorption of the MCA and DreamWorks labels, along with its continuing to sign new acts such as Ashlee Simpson, Angels & Airwaves, Snoop Dogg and The Game, had boosted the company to the extent that it began gaining equal footing with the main Interscope label, leading some industry insiders to speculate that it could revert to operating as an independently managed imprint at UMG again. At the end of 2007, however, Geffen was absorbed further into Interscope, laying off sixty employees.

In 2009, it was announced that Geffen Records had signed an agreement with the Holy See to produce an album of Marian songs and prayers from Pope Benedict XVI. [3]

Jimmy Iovine relaunched the Geffen imprint in 2011, moving its headquarters from California to New York City. Gee Roberson was appointed chairman. [4]

In March 2017, Neil Jacobson was appointed President of Geffen Records to oversee the relaunch of the label via new signings as well as reinvigoration of the label’s legendary catalog. [5]

Labels under Geffen

Current artists

Past artists

See also

Related Research Articles

MCA Records US record label, imprint of MCA Records, Inc.

MCA Records was an American record label owned by MCA Inc., which later gave way to the larger MCA Music Entertainment Group, which the label was part of until its dissolution in 2003. The label's country division MCA Nashville is a still active imprint of Universal Music Group Nashville.

Interscope Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Interscope Geffen A&M imprint. It was founded in late 1990 by Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field as a $20 million joint venture with Warner Music Group's Atlantic Records. At the time, it differed from most record companies by giving decision-making authority to its A&R staff and allowing artists and producers complete creative control. It had its first hit records less than a year after it was founded, and achieved profitability in 1993. Iovine served as chairman and CEO until May 2014, when he was succeeded by John Janick.

DGC Records American record label; imprint of Geffen Records, Inc.

DGC Records is an American record label that currently operates as a division of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, which is owned by the Vivendi-based Universal Music Group.

Hip-O Records American record label specialized in reissues and compilations, part of Universal Music Group

Hip-O Records is a record label that specializes in reissues and compilations. It is part of Universal Music Group. Established in 1996, the label has distributed releases from 'out of style' genres such as disco and early hip-hop music as well as publishing film soundtracks. The label's name is a pun on the name 'hippo'.

Star Trak Entertainment American record label

Star Trak Entertainment was an American record label, founded by The Neptunes in 2002. It operated as a division of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group. Its name is a reference to the 1960s TV program Star Trek.

Jude Anthony Cole is an American singer-songwriter, manager, and record producer. Jude Cole is married to Lori Pfeiffer, the younger sister of Michelle Pfeiffer.

<i>Lucky Thirteen</i> (Neil Young album) 1993 compilation album by Neil Young

Lucky Thirteen is a compilation album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released in 1993. It contains thirteen of Young's Geffen era songs between 1982 and 1988, including four tracks that were previously unreleased, and three that are slightly different edits to their original versions.

Silas Records was an American record label owned by Universal Music Group; founded in 1991 by Louil Silas Jr. and operated as an imprint of MCA Records, where Silas had been a senior VP. The label achieved minor success throughout the 1990s. It was eventually absorbed into MCA in 1999, after Silas left his post at UMG to take a position at LaFace Records. Its back catalog is now controlled by Geffen Records.

<i>Greatest Hits 1976–1986</i> 1992 compilation album by Elton John

Greatest Hits 1976–1986 is a collection of hits by Elton John released in the United States only by MCA Records in 1992. It replaced an earlier compilation, Geffen's 1987 release Elton John's Greatest Hits Vol. 3. This was necessitated because of a shift in the control of copyrights and a resulting reshuffling of compilation albums.

This is the discography of Geffen Records, and its sister label DGC Records.

A&M Records American historical record label

A&M Records was an American record label founded as an independent company by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss in 1962. Due to the success of the discography A&M released, the label garnered interest and was acquired by PolyGram in 1989 and began distributing releases from Polydor Ltd. from the UK. Throughout its operations, A&M housed well-known acts such as Gin Blossoms, Dishwalla, Joe Cocker, Procol Harum, Captain & Tennille, Sting, Sergio Mendes, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Supertramp, Bryan Adams, Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli, The Carpenters, Paul Williams, Quincy Jones, Janet Jackson, Cat Stevens, Peter Frampton, Elkie Brooks, Carole King, Styx, Extreme, Amy Grant, Joan Baez, the Human League, The Police, CeCe Peniston, Blues Traveler, Soundgarden, Duffy and Sheryl Crow.

Jordan Schur is co-chairman and CEO of the film production company Mimran Schur Pictures. He is also the former President of Geffen Records and the founder of Flip Records and Suretone Records.

Donna Summer albums discography albums discography

The discography of American singer and songwriter Donna Summer features seventeen studio albums recorded between 1974 and 2008, two live albums and a large amount of compilation albums and guest appearances.

References

  1. Aswad, Jem (2017-03-23). "Geffen Records to Relaunch With Neil Jacobson as President: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  2. Tom King, The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood, pp. 303–307, Broadway Books (New York 2001).
  3. Rocca, Francis X. (2009-07-31). "Pope signs with same label as Snoop Dogg, Ashlee Simpson". USA Today.
  4. Morris, Christopher (2011-06-21). "Gee Roberson named chairman of Geffen Records". Variety.
  5. Gensler, Andy (2017-03-24). "Neil Jacobson: How to Go From Golf Caddy to Geffen Records President". Billboard. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  6. "Proximity to Partner With Geffen Records - EDMTunes". EDMTunes. 2017-07-19. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  7. Records, Geffen. "Geffen Records". Universal Music Group.