A record label is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Often, 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; conducts talent scouting and development of new artists (“artists and repertoire” or “A&R”); and maintains 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 music industry, most recording artists have become increasingly reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on MP3, radio, and television, with publicists that assist performers in positive media reports to market their merchandise, and make it available via stores and other media outlets. The Internet has increasingly been a way that some artists avoid costs and gain new audiences, as well as the use of videos in some cases, to sell their products.
Record labels may be small, localized, and “independent” (“indie”), or they may be part of a large international media group, or somewhere in between. As of 2012 there are only three labels that can be referred to as “major labels”. A “sublabel” is a label that is part of a larger record company but trades under a different name.
When a label is strictly a trademark or brand, not a company, then it is usually called an “imprint”, a term used for the same concept in publishing. An imprint is sometimes marketed as being a “project”, “unit”, or “division” of a record label company, even though there is no legal business structure associated with the imprint.
Record labels are often under the control of a corporate umbrella organization called a “music group”. A music group is typically owned by an international conglomerate “holding company”, which often has non-music divisions as well. A music group controls and consists of music publishing companies, record (sound recording) manufacturers, record distributors, and record labels. As of 2007, the “big four” music groups control about 70% of the world music market, and about 80% of the United States music market. Record companies (manufacturers, distributors, and labels) may also comprise a “record group” which is, in turn, controlled by a music group. The constituent companies in a music group or record group are sometimes marketed as being “divisions” of the group.
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TAJ MUSIC TEAM