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|Type||Joint venture (Delaware general partnership)|
|Industry||Music and entertainment|
|Founded||March 4, 2004|
|Defunct||October 1, 2008|
|Fate||Bertelsmann's share acquired by Sony|
|David Gordon: chairman Sound & Vision|
|Owners||Each of 50% owned by:|
|Website||"http://sonybmg.com/". Archived from the original on January 1, 2006.|
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, is wholly owned by Sony, following their buyout of the remaining 50% held by Bertelsmann. BMG was instead rebuilt as BMG Rights Management on the basis of 200 remaining artists.
Sony BMG Music Entertainment began as the result of a 50–50 joint venture between Sony Music (part of Sony) and Bertelsmann Music Group (part of Bertelsmann) completed on March 4, 2004. It is one of the Big Four music companies and includes ownership and distribution of recording labels such as Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Mchenry Records, Jive Records, RCA Victor Records, RCA Records, Legacy Recordings, Sonic Wave America and others. The merger affected all Sony Music and Bertelsmann Music Group companies worldwide except for Japan, where it was felt that it would reduce competition in that country's music industry significantly.
Financial analysts covering the merger anticipated that up to 2,000 jobs would be cut as a result, saving Sony BMG approximately $350 million annually.
The company's chief executive officer (CEO) was Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, who succeeded Andrew Lack on February 10, 2006. In the first half of 2005, the company's share of new releases in the United States (US) declined from 33% to 26% according to Nielsen SoundScan. This, and Lack's negotiation of what some called an "ill-conceived" deal with Bruce Springsteen led to Bertelsmann informing Sony that it would not renew Lack's contract.
The company signed a content deal with the popular video sharing community YouTube.
On August 5, 2008 Sony Corporation agreed to buy Bertelsmann AG's 50 percent stake in the music company for $1.2 billion to get full control. The music company was renamed Sony Music Entertainment and became a unit of Sony Corporation of America.This allowed Sony the rights to artists on the current and historic BMG roster and allowed Sony Corporation to better integrate its functions with its PlayStation 3 and upcoming new media initiatives. As part of the buyout, Bertelsmann kept the rights to master recordings by 200 artists, which formed the basis for a second version of BMG.
Sony and Bertelsmann last teamed up in 2013, in a failed bid to acquire Parlophone from Universal Music Group. BMG would administer the label's back catalogue, while its current artists would sign with Sony.While Sony BMG failed to win Parlophone (which ultimately went to Warner Music Group), BMG acquired Mute Records' back catalogue and licensed Depeche Mode and the catalogue of The Echo Label to Sony.
In July 2005, Sony BMG was fined $10 million after the New York Attorney General's office determined that they had been practicing payola mostly in the form of direct payments to radio stations and bribes to disc jockeys to promote various artists including Franz Ferdinand, Audioslave, and mainly Jessica Simpson.
Epic Records, one of their labels, was specifically cited for using fake contests in order to hide the fact that the gifts were going to disc jockeys rather than listeners.
On 31 October 2005, a scandal erupted over digital rights management (DRM) software produced and shipped by Sony BMG that automatically installed itself on people's computers and made them more vulnerable to computer viruses. The scandal and attendant controversy about the practice of software auto-installation spawned several lawsuits. Sony BMG eventually recalled all of the affected CDs.
On November 16, 2005, US-CERT, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, part of the United States Department of Homeland Security, issued an advisory on Extended Copy Protection DRM, citing the XCP use of rootkit technology to hide certain files from the computer user as a security threat to computer users, saying that a Sony-provided uninstallation option also introduced computer system vulnerabilities.
US-CERT advised, "Do not install software from sources that you do not expect to contain software, such as an audio CD."In its "Top Flops of '05" issue, the enterprise newsweekly eWeek had to create a new category for the "Sony BMG root-kit fiasco." Peter Coffee, of eWeek Labs reported, "The Sony brand name was already in trouble—it lost 16 percent of its value between 2004 and 2005....
Now it has taken a blow among tech-product opinion leaders. "We've never done it before, and we hope we'll never have [an] occasion to do it again but, for 2005, eWeek Labs awards a Stupid Tech Trick grand prize to Sony." eWeek Vol. 22, No.50
In October 2007, Sony BMG, alongside other large music firms, successfully sued Jammie Thomas for making 24 songs available for download on the Kazaa file-sharing network. Thomas, who made US$36,000 a year, was ordered to pay US$222,000 in damages. Thomas had allegedly shared 1702 files in total; the court upholding the award called it an "aggravated case of willful infringement".
In 2008, the Federal Trade Commission sued Sony BMG for collecting and displaying personal data of 30,000 minors without parental consent via its websites since 2004, violating the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Sony did not restrict minor children's participation in its websites. Sony paid a $1 million fine.
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.
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.
RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, 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; also Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, afrobeat, 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). RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment after Sony and BMG merged in 2004; it 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.
Arista Records, Inc. is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was previously handled by Bertelsmann Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis. Along with Epic Records, RCA Records, and Columbia Records, Arista is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels.
Jive Records was an American independent record label formed in 1981 and was owned by Sony Music Entertainment since 2003. Formerly headquartered in New York City, Jive was best known for its string of successes with hip hop artists in the 1980s and 1990s, and also in teen pop and boy bands during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since 2011, the label has been in hibernation with its previous operations having been absorbed by RCA Records.
Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) was a division of German media company Bertelsmann before its completion of sale of the majority of its assets to Sony Corporation of America on 1 October 2008. Although it was established in 1987, the music company was formed as RCA/Ariola International in 1985 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, which established the German American Sony BMG from 2004 to 2008.
Ariola is a German record label. In the late 1980s, it was a subsidiary label of the Bertelsmann Music Group, which in turn has become a part of the international media conglomerate Sony Music.
Sony Music Entertainment is an American global music company. Owned by the Japanese conglomerate Sony Group Corporation, it is part of the Sony Music Group, which is owned by Sony Corporation of America.
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.
The Zomba Group of Companies was a music group and division owned by and operated under Sony Music Entertainment. The division was renamed to Jive Label Group in 2009 and was placed under the RCA/Jive Label Group umbrella. In 2011, the RCA/Jive Label Group was split in half. Multiple Jive Label Group artists were moved to Epic Records while others stayed with Jive as it moved under the RCA Music Group. In October 2011 Jive Records was shut down and their artists were moved to RCA Records.
Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., often abbreviated as SMEJ or simply SME, and also known as Sony Music Japan for short, is a Japanese music arm for Sony. SMEJ is directly owned by Sony Group Corporation and is operating independently from the United States-based Sony Music Entertainment due to its strength in the Japanese music industry. Its subsidiaries include the Japanese animation production enterprise, Aniplex, which was established in September 1995 as a joint-venture between Sony Music Entertainment Japan and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan, but which in 2001 became a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Japan. It was prominent in the early to mid '90s producing and licensing music for animated series such as Roujin Z from acclaimed Japanese comic artist Katsuhiro Otomo and Capcom's Street Fighter animated series.
Extended Copy Protection (XCP) is a software package developed by the British company First 4 Internet and sold as a copy protection or digital rights management (DRM) scheme for Compact Discs. It was used on some CDs distributed by Sony BMG and sparked the 2005 Sony BMG CD copy protection scandal; in that context it is also known as the Sony rootkit.
Thomas Hesse is a media and digital media executive and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Dreamstage, Consonance Investments LLC and co-founded JAMM Music. He was previously the President of Global Digital Business & US Sales/ Distribution for Sony Music Entertainment and president of Corporate Development and New Businesses as well as Member of the Executive Board of Bertelsmann.
A scandal erupted in 2005 regarding Sony BMG's implementation of copy protection measures on about 22 million CDs. When inserted into a computer, the CDs installed one of two pieces of software which provided a form of digital rights management (DRM) by modifying the operating system to interfere with CD copying. Neither program could easily be uninstalled, and they created vulnerabilities that were exploited by unrelated malware. One of the programs would install and "phone home" with reports on the user's private listening habits - even if the user refused its end-user license agreement (EULA), while the other was not mentioned in the EULA at all. Both programs contained code from several pieces of copylefted free software in an apparent infringement of copyright, and configured the operating system to hide the software's existence, leading to both programs being classified as rootkits.
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.
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.
BMG Rights Management GmbH is an international music company based in Berlin, Germany. It combines the activities of a music publisher and a record label.
RCA Inspiration is a gospel music group operating under Sony Music.
An independent record label is a record label that operates without the funding or distribution of major record labels; they are a type of small to medium-sized enterprise, or SME. The labels and artists are often represented by trade associations in their country or region, which in turn are represented by the international trade body, the Worldwide Independent Network (WIN).