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|Parent company||Sony Music|
|Genre|| Classical |
|Country of origin||U.S.|
|Official website|| www|
Sony Music Masterworks (better known as Sony Masterworks) is a record label, the result of a restructuring of Sony Music's classical music division. Before the acquisition of Bertelsmann's shares in the former Sony BMG, the label was known as Sony BMG Masterworks.
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.
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 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.
Bertelsmann is a German multinational corporation based in Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is one of the world's largest mass media companies and also active in the service sector and education. Bertelsmann was founded as a publishing house by Carl Bertelsmann in 1835. After World War II, Bertelsmann, under the leadership of Reinhard Mohn, went from being a medium-sized enterprise to a major conglomerate, offering not only books but also television, radio, music, magazines and business services. Bertelsmann is an unlisted and capital market-oriented company, which remains primarily controlled by the Mohn family. Since 2016, major divisions of Bertelsmann are RTL Group, Penguin Random House, Gruner + Jahr, BMG, Arvato, Bertelsmann Printing Group, Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments.
Its formation marked the merger of the Sony Classical and BMG Classics (including RCA Red Seal) product lines. Gilbert Hetherwick was the president of the label from January 2005 through November 2006, displacing Peter Gelb who was the head of Sony Classical before the merger. Hetherwick claimed (as of 2005) the label may reissue between one hundred and two hundred historical recordings per year. Hetherwick left in November 2006, to be replaced by Alex Miller, a former BMG Employee.
Sony Classical Records is an American record label founded in 1924 as Columbia Masterworks Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Records. In 1948, it issued the first commercially successful long-playing 12" record. Over the next decades its artists included Isaac Stern, Pablo Casals, Glenn Gould, Eugene Ormandy, Danny Elfman, Vangelis, Elliot Goldenthal, Leonard Bernstein and John Williams. Columbia Records used the Masterworks brand name not only for classical and Broadway records, but also for spoken-word albums such as Edward R. Murrow and Fred W. Friendly's successful I Can Hear It Now series. Parent CBS also featured the Masterworks name on its consumer electronics equipment.
Peter Gelb is an American arts administrator. Since August 2006, he has been General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
The label owns rights to famous recordings originally issued by the Victor Talking Machine Company/RCA Victor dating from the early to mid 20th century, by artists such as Enrico Caruso, Arturo Toscanini, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leopold Stokowski, Mario Lanza, Fritz Reiner, Artur Rubinstein, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Vladimir Horowitz, Eugene Ormandy and Van Cliburn as well as from more recent performers such as Yo-Yo Ma, and Joshua Bell. It is also responsible for Sony BMG's immense archives of film scores (including Star Wars , The Phantom of the Opera , Memoirs of a Geisha and many other films). It also maintains the archive of theater soundtracks, via its Masterworks Broadway imprint. It also issues jazz recordings through its Okeh Records imprint. Sony Masterworks also handles the Portrait Records and Flying Buddha Records imprints. In July 2019, Masterworks acquired the soundtrack label Milan Records.
The Victor Talking Machine Company was an American record company and phonograph manufacturer headquartered in Camden, New Jersey.
Enrico Caruso was an Italian operatic tenor. He sang to great acclaim at the major opera houses of Europe and the Americas, appearing in a wide variety of roles from the Italian and French repertoires that ranged from the lyric to the dramatic. Being one of the first major singing talents to be commercially recorded, Caruso made approximately 260 commercially released recordings from 1902 to 1920, which made him an international popular entertainment star. All of these recordings, which span most of his stage career, remain available today on CDs and as downloads and digital streams.
Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. He was one of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and of the 20th century, renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his eidetic memory. He was at various times the music director of La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the New York Philharmonic. Later in his career he was appointed the first music director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1937–54), and this led to his becoming a household name through his radio and television broadcasts and many recordings of the operatic and symphonic repertoire.
The merged label's name echoes the moniker used by Sony Classical's predecessor, Columbia Masterworks (later CBS Masterworks). The label's name was changed after CBS sold its records division to Sony in the late 1980s. Sony Masterworks has several imprints, used primarily for newer recorded material for its imprints itself and compilations and reissues for its imprints in conjunction with Legacy Recordings.
CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.
Legacy Recordings is an American record label that is a division of Sony Music. Formed in 1990 after Sony's acquisition of CBS Records, Legacy originally handled the archives of Sony Music-owned labels Columbia Records and Epic Records. In 2004, under the Sony BMG joint venture, the label began to manage the archives of RCA Records, J Records, Windham Hill Records, Arista, LaFace, Jive, and Buddah Records. Legacy Recordings now also handles Philadelphia International Records and the catalog of recordings produced by Phil Spector.
Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.
RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, 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, 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); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and 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, who formerly worked for Columbia Records. Until its demise in 2011, it was a major distributor and promoter of albums throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. Along with Columbia, RCA, and Epic, Arista is one of Sony Music Entertainment's four flagship record labels.
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.
Bertelsmann Music Group was a division of German media company Bertelsmann before its completion of sale of the majority of its assets to Japan's Sony Corporation of America on 1 October 2008. Although it was established in 1987, the music company was formed as RCA/Ariola International in 1984 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 Entertainment, which established the German American Sony BMG Music Entertainment from 2004 to 2008.
A cast recording is a recording of a stage musical that is intended to document the songs as they were performed in the show and experienced by the audience. An original cast recording or OCR, as the name implies, features the voices of the show's original cast. A cast recording featuring the first cast to perform a musical in a particular venue is known, for example, as an "original Broadway cast recording" (OBCR) or an "original London cast recording".
Columbia Masterworks Records was a record label started in 1924 by Columbia Records. In 1980, it was separated from the Columbia label and renamed CBS Masterworks Records. In 1990, it was renamed Sony Classical Records after its sale to the Sony Corporation.
Steven Epstein is an American record producer. He has won fifteen Grammy Awards, two Latin Grammys, and nominated 35 times. He has won Grammy Awards for Classical Producer of the Year seven times. While he is primarily known for his work in classical music, Epstein has Grammy nominations and wins for albums in musical theater, musical show, crossover, soundtrack, and spoken word for children.
Colgems Records was a record label that existed from 1966 to 1971.
BMG Heritage Records was the record label of the BMG Strategic Marketing Group reissue division of Sony BMG Music Entertainment which handled the reissue of recordings first issued on the RCA Victor, Arista, Buddah, Windham Hill and Jive Records, as well as other labels BMG or predecessor companies acquired over the years. It was founded on November 2001 and formally established on January 1, 2002 as the successor company to the Buddha Records reissue label. In 2005, Sony BMG folded BMG Heritage into Legacy Recordings.
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 Victrola was a budget record label introduced by RCA Victor in the early 1960s to reissue classical recordings originally released on the RCA Victor "Red Seal" label. The name "Victrola" came from the early console phonographs first marketed by the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1906. Many of RCA Victrola's reissues included recordings from the historic RCA Victor "Living Stereo" series first released in 1958, using triple channel stereophonic tapes recorded as early as 1954. There were also some first stereo releases of recordings that had previously been available only in monophonic versions. For several years, Victrola released both stereo and mono versions of many albums, many of them in "reprocessed" (fake) stereo.
Masterworks Broadway is a record label created by the consolidation of Sony Music Entertainment's Broadway theatre music divisions, Columbia Broadway Masterworks and RCA Victor Records' Broadway series.
This is a list of record labels owned by Sony BMG Music Entertainment.
Sony Broadway was a label started by Sony Music in 1991 to reissue many of the classic Columbia Records original cast recordings on CD.
RCA Inspiration is a gospel music group operating under Sony Music.
Windham Hill Records was an independent record label that specialized in instrumental acoustic music. It was founded by guitarist William Ackerman and Anne Robinson in 1976 and was popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
CBS Records International was the international arm of the Columbia Records unit of Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS) that was formed in 1961 and launched in 1962. Previously Columbia Records had been using other record companies to distribute Columbia recordings outside North America, such as Philips Records and its subsidiary Fontana in Europe.