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A music executive or record executive is a person within a record label who works in senior management, making executive decisions over the label's artists. Their role varies greatly but in essence, they can oversee one, or many, aspects of a record label, including A&R, contracts, management, publishing, production, manufacture, marketing/promotion, distribution, copyright, and touring. Although music executives work in senior management, a number of music executives have gone on to establish their own record labels as owners themselves, sometimes being involved in the music industry initially as artists, A&Rs, or producers for a number of years and building a strong reputation. Music executives may also work as solo artists or disc jockeys, usually bringing about other artists or producers to contribute musically, often attatching their name onto the record as a lead artist.
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.
A recording contract is a legal agreement between a record label and a recording artist, where the artist makes a record for the label to sell and promote. Artists under contract are normally only allowed to record for that label exclusively; guest appearances on other artists' records will carry a notice "By courtesy of ", and that label may receive a percentage of sales.
In the music industry, a music publisher is responsible for ensuring the songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. Through an agreement called a publishing contract, a songwriter or composer "assigns" the copyright of their composition to a publishing company. In return, the company licenses compositions, helps monitor where compositions are used, collects royalties and distributes them to the composers. They also secure commissions for music and promote existing compositions to recording artists, film and television.
Music executives work in a variety of settings for major record labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, or Warner Music Group. However, many choose to work with, or start their own independent record labels such as Sub Pop, Block Starz Music, Ironworks and Jagjaguwar.
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. UMG has signed licensing agreements with more than 400 platforms worldwide.
Warner Music Group Inc. (WMG), also known as Warner Music, is an American multinational entertainment and record label conglomerate headquartered in New York City. It is one of the "big three" recording companies and the third largest in the global music industry, after Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment (SME). Formerly part of Time Warner, the company was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange until May 2011, when it announced its privatization and sale to Access Industries, which was completed in July 2011. With a multibillion-dollar annual turnover, WMG employs more than 3,500 people and has operations in more than 50 countries throughout the world.
Sub Pop is a record label founded in 1986 by Bruce Pavitt. Sub Pop achieved fame in the late 1980s for signing Seattle bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney, central players in the grunge movement. They are often credited with helping popularize grunge music. The label's roster includes Fleet Foxes, Foals, Beach House, The Postal Service, Flight of the Conchords, Sleater-Kinney, Blitzen Trapper, Father John Misty, Shabazz Palaces, METZ, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, and The Shins. In 1995 the owners of Sub Pop sold a 49% stake of the label to the Warner Music Group.
Executive producer (EP) is one of the top positions in the making of a commercial entertainment product. Depending on the medium, the executive producer may be concerned with management accounting or associated with legal issues. In films, the executive producer generally contributes to the film's budget and usually does not work on set, in contrast to most other producers.
A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many, varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements.
Motown Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group. It was originally founded by Berry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records on January 12, 1959, and was incorporated as Motown Record Corporation on April 14, 1960. Its name, a portmanteau of motor and town, has become a nickname for Detroit, where the label was originally headquartered.
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.
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.
Sanctuary Records Group Limited is a record label based in the United Kingdom and a subsidiary of BMG Rights Management. Until June 2007, it was the largest independent record label in the UK and the largest independent music management company in the world. It was also the world's largest independent owners of music intellectual property rights, with over 160,000 songs.
James Samuel "Jimmy Jam" Harris III and Terry Steven Lewis are an American R&B songwriting and record production team. They have enjoyed great success since the 1980s with various artists, most notably Janet Jackson. They have written 31 top ten hits in the UK and 41 in the US.
Artists and repertoire (A&R) is the division of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists and songwriters. It also acts as a liaison between artists and the record label or publishing company; every activity involving artists to the point of album release is generally considered under the purview, and responsibility, of A&R.
Republic Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group (UMG). It was founded by Avery Lipman and Monte Lipman as an independent label in 1995, and was acquired by UMG in 2000. Republic was initially an imprint of the Universal/Motown Records Group, and was renamed Universal Republic Records after a reorganization in 2006 before reverting to its original name in 2012.
Lenny Waronker is an American producer and music industry executive. As the president of Warner Bros. Records, and later, as the co-Chair of DreamWorks Records, Waronker was noted for his commitment to artists and his belief that "music, not money, was still number one."
Cory Rooney is a Grammy Award winning American songwriter, record producer, and C.E.O. of Cory Rooney Group. He has written, produced, and developed many successful songs and careers for artists including Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Thalia, Michael Jackson, and Destiny's Child.
Varèse Sarabande is an American record label, owned by Concord Music Group and distributed by Universal Music Group, which specializes in film scores and original cast recordings. It aims to reissue rare or unavailable albums, as well as newer releases by artists no longer under a contract. The label's name was derived from combining French-born composer Edgard Varèse's last name with the musical term sarabande, a slow Spanish dance.
Donald James "Don" Moen is an American singer, songwriter, pastor, and producer of Christian worship music.
Harry Zephaniah Johnson, known by the stage name Harry J, was a Jamaican reggae record producer.
Irving Azoff is an American entertainment executive and chairman of Full Stop Management, which represents recording artists.
Rock Ridge Music is an independent record label and artist management company based in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 2004, it has signed, managed, and/or promoted artists including Reel Big Fish, Sister Hazel, Rachel Platten, Matthew Perryman Jones, Tony Lucca, Matt Hires, The Damnwells, Attack! Attack!, The Ike Reilly Assassination, and Fiction Family.
Mathew Knowles is an American record executive, talent manager, and businessman. He is best known for being the manager of Destiny's Child. He also managed his daughters Beyoncé and Solange Knowles. He is the ex-husband of Tina Knowles, and father-in-law of Jay-Z.
Al Bell is an American record producer, songwriter, and record executive. He is best known as having been an executive and co-owner of Stax Records, based in Memphis, Tennessee, during the latter half of the label's 19-year existence.
Blake Chancey is an American record producer and music business executive, known primarily for his work in country music. Formerly an executive vice president and chief creative officer for Sony Music, he later formed a partnership with artist manager Scott Siman. He is currently the chief creative officer and partner of RPM Music Group in Nashville, Tennessee and one of Nashville's leading record producers.
An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels. Many artists begin their careers on independent labels.