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Logo from late 1995 until 1999
|Parent company||Sony Music Entertainment|
|Country of origin||U.S., U.K.|
Relativity Records, often self-identified as Relativity, was an American record label founded by Barry Kobrin at the site of his company, Important Record Distributors (IRD) in metro New York. Relativity released music that covers a wide variety of musical genres. When it entered into a deal with Sony Music Entertainment, it became more known for its metal and hip-hop releases.
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.
Formed in 1979, Important Record Distributors (IRD) was initially focussed on importing records. However, lawsuits from the major domestic labels eliminated the import market and the company switched to independent music distribution, distributing records for small independent record labels.Although it was reportedly established in 1985, there is evidence that the Relativity Records imprint began c. 1982 as an in-house IRD label.
Independent music is music produced independently from commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, a process that may include an autonomous, do-it-yourself approach to recording and publishing. The term indie is sometimes used to describe a genre, and as a genre term, "indie" may include music that is not independently produced, and many independent music artists do not fall into a single, defined musical style or genre and create self-published music that can be categorized into diverse genres. The term ‘indie’ or ‘independent music’ can be traced back to as early as the 1920’s after it was first used to reference independent film companies but was later used as a term to classify an independent band or record producer.
In the 1980s, Relativity Records was mostly focused on rock music, including heavy metal and punk rock. Releases in this genre were split among Relativity and its sister labels Combat and In-Effect Records. Following the recession of 1990, these labels were folded back into the main Relativity label.Also in that year, Sony Music acquired a 50% stake in the company. Around 1992, the label underwent restructuring. IRD was renamed Relativity Entertainment Distribution. In 1995, Relativity entered into limited partnership deals with two regional independent hip hop record labels, Suave Records and Ruthless Records in 1995. The company was acquired by Sony in 2007.
Combat Records was an American independent record label from New York City. The label was home to predominantly heavy metal and punk rock acts including Megadeth, Circle Jerks, Nuclear Assault, OZ, Death, Dead Brain Cells, Possessed, Crumbsuckers, Agnostic Front, Agent Steel, Dark Angel, Heathen, Zoetrope and Exodus. In 2017, it was announced that Combat was being relaunched by Megadeth bassist David Ellefson and Thom Hazaert as a new label imprint under their EMP Label Group.
Sony Music Entertainment (SME), 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.
RED Distribution, LLC is a Sony-owned sales and marketing division that merged under The Orchard in 2017. RED previously handled releases for more than sixty independent record labels. It was home to 'stache media, a marketing and brand partnership agency based in New York City which has since become RED MUSIC.
Virgin Records Ltd. is a British record label founded by entrepreneurs Richard Branson, Simon Draper, Nik Powell, and musician Tom Newman in 1972. It grew to be a worldwide phenomenon over time, with the success of platinum performers such as Aaliyah, George Michael, Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, Roy Orbison, Devo, Tangerine Dream, Genesis, Keith Richards, the Human League, Culture Club, Simple Minds, Lenny Kravitz, dc Talk, the Smashing Pumpkins, Mike Oldfield, Gorillaz, and Spice Girls, among others.
American Recordings is an American record label headed by producer Rick Rubin. The label has featured artists such as Slayer, the Black Crowes, ZZ Top, Danzig, Trouble, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, The Mother Hips, and System of a Down.
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 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.
Hollywood Records, Inc. is an American record label of the Disney Music Group. The label focuses in pop, rock, alternative, hip hop, and country genres, as well as specializing in mature recordings not suitable for the flagship Walt Disney Records label. Founded in 1989, its current roster includes artists such as Jordan Fisher, Zella Day, Queen, Zendaya, Ocean Park Standoff, Dreamers, Bea Miller, Martina Stoessel, Breaking Benjamin, Jorge Blanco, Sabrina Carpenter, R5, Olivia Holt, Sofia Carson, Forever in Your Mind, New Hope Club, Joywave, Maddie Poppe and In Real Life. The label also releases Marvel Studios's soundtrack and compilation albums in conjunction with Marvel Music.
Enigma Records was a popular rock and alternative American record label in the 1980s.
Volcano Entertainment is an American all-round music record label founded in 1996 which released albums by Tool, 311, Size 14, Survivor and "Weird Al" Yankovic. It is owned by Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.
Priority Records is an American distribution company and record label known for artists including N.W.A, Ice-T, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Silkk the Shocker and Westside Connection. It also distributed hip hop record labels including Death Row Records, Hoo-Bangin' Records, No Limit Records, Posthuman Records, Rap-A-Lot Records, Rawkus Records, Roc-A-Fella Records, Ruthless Records and Wu-Tang Records. According to Billboard, "few record labels were as important to the rise of West Coast hip hop as Priority Records."
Tommy Boy Entertainment is an American independent record label founded in 1981 by Tom Silverman. The label is credited with launching the music careers of Queen Latifah, Afrika Bambaataa, Digital Underground, De La Soul, House of Pain, and Naughty By Nature. Tommy Boy is also credited with introducing genres such as EDM, Latin freestyle, and Latin hip hop to mainstream audiences.
Music for Nations is a British independent record label focusing mainly on rock and metal. It was a subsidiary of the larger label distributor Zomba Records, which was a division of BMG and later Sony Music Entertainment.
Cleopatra Records is a Los Angeles-based independent record label founded in 1992 by entrepreneur and music fan Brian Perera. It has since grown into a family of labels, including Hypnotic Records, Purple Pyramid Records, Deadline Music Records; and X-Ray Records, encompassing a variety of genres with emphasis on unique and experimental artists.
Her Royal Majesty's Records (HRMR) is a Canadian independent record label founded in Vancouver in 1995 by Bif Naked and Peter Karroll and managed by Peter Karroll. Originally HRM Records was created to be a home for Bif Naked's music after Plum Records folded up shop after the release of Bif Naked's self-titled release. Peter Karroll licensed Bif's songs to many major labels and did co-venture music projects including mixing and recording tracks for Films and Television. Peter Karroll co-wrote, produced and mixed many successful tracks including Platinum and Gold selling albums and singles with Bif Naked. In 2005 Peter Karroll merged the music label with Bodog to create Bodog Music and Bodog Entertainment. Her Royal Majesty's Records was the backbone of the Bodog entertainment juggernaut and combined with the Artist Management company TKO Entertainment Corp the Bodog Entertainment entity produced over 150 Network Television shows in the USA and licensed in many countries. As well live events on In Demand and music television programing on the Fuse Network all contributed to the overall success of Bodog Entertainment. In 2008 the entertainment companies were unmerged and Peter Karroll moved forward more albums with Bif Naked and DMX the American rap / hip hop superstar. During the Bodog Era Peter signed and released the Legendary Hip Hop group the WuTang Clan. Thousands of Live events were produced with the Artists from HRMR / Bodog with them touring extensively on major festivals and tours such as Warped Tour, Family Values, Rock Am Ring, Rock Am Park, Hultsfred Festival Bif Naked's largest attendance in the headline position was 2011 in Cloverdale BC where she performed in front of 110,000 estimated audience.
Frontline Records was a Christian rock record label founded in 1986 by James Kempner. The label focused primarily on modern rock, rap, dance-pop, and hip-hop. The label closed in the early 1990s, and then resurfaced in 2010 to re-release its music catalog, and that of related labels, digitally.
Caroline Distribution is a music distributor of independent labels, owned by Universal Music Group. Founded in 1983 by Virgin Records as a record importer, Caroline has become one of the U.S. music industry's largest third party distribution companies for the independent music sector. In 1993, when EMI acquired Virgin Records, Caroline Distribution was separated and became part of EMI Music Distribution. The company is currently part of the Capitol Music Group.
Koch Entertainment was a North American record label and a distributor of film, television, and music. It was purchased by Canadian entertainment company Entertainment One in 2005.
Entertainment One is a publicly traded Canadian multinational mass media and entertainment company. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the company is primarily involved in the acquisition, distribution, and production of music, as well as the distribution of other entertainment content, such as films and television series. The company became a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index in 2013.
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.
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