Record company - Compañía discográfica

A record company or record company , also known as a record label , record company or record label , is a company that is dedicated to making music recordings , as well as their marketing and distribution. Some of these companies have their own recording studios and their own professionals, to seek the best sound in recording a musical album as record producers .

In addition, it is responsible for producing artists in any musical genre, launching new singers, providing what is necessary to promote them as video clip production , pressing musical works on CD's and / or DVD 's (in countries where these formats are still profitable), promotion on radio , press , television and the internet and, since the beginning of the 21st century , song downloads on virtual platforms ( streaming ) and concerts , among other things.

Currently, the record industry is changing the way it works due to unauthorized downloads on the Internet and the growing worldwide increase in piracy on CDs and DVDs, to the point that it made these promotional formats economically unviable in many countries (especially, in second and third world countries ), forcing record companies to implement new forms of sale and modifications in artist contracts to continue in the music market.

Record contracts

The contracts signed with the interpreters are generally to produce 2 or 3 musical works, if they perform well in the sale and promotion of their albums and singles , the contract is renewed as long as both parties agree. If for some reason the artist does not want to continue and decides to change the record company without his previous contract having expired, the record company proceeds to file a lawsuit alleging breach of contract , which is generally settled with the payment of a certain amount of money , forcing the artist to continue with the record company or to cancel the contract.

Due to the worldwide decrease in the sale of record works, largely generated by piracy, record companies began to implement a new contract model called "360º Contract" which, unlike the conventional one, requires the artist to give up part of its earnings, obtained by any activity in which it generates money; For example, if the artist performs a musical presentation, he must give a percentage of the profits to the record company; in return, the musical albums, singles or video clips produced by the company become promotional objects fully financed by the label.

The relationship between artists and record companies is not always good; sometimes, companies stop the publication of certain musical work as they consider it not very commercial or, sometimes, for reasons of censorship . There are also conflicts due to the distribution of benefits and who owns the rights to reproduce the songs.

Major labels

Record companies are often under the control of international groups of companies owned by international holding companies . These groups of companies control publishing, recording, distribution, and record companies. Since 2011 , the top three groups of music companies (known as the Big Three) control 70% of the world record market and 80% of the US. [ 1 ]

Main stamps 1973-1988

  1. RCA Records
  2. Columbia Records (CBS)
  3. MCA Records
  4. PolyGram
  5. EMI
  6. WEA (ex Warner Bros Records)
  7. Epic Records
  8. Island Records
  9. Sony Music Latin (popular in countries like Argentina and Puerto Rico )
  10. Fonovisa Records (popular in Mexico)

Main Stamps 1988-1998

  1. EMI
  2. Universal Music Group (ex MCA Records)
  3. Sony Music (ex CBS)
  4. Warner Bros. Records
  5. Polygram / Polydor
  6. BMG Music (ex RCA and Ariola)

Main labels in 1998-2004 (Big Five)

  1. Warner Music Group
  2. EMI
  3. Sony Music
  4. Universal Music Group (absorbió a Polygram / Polydor)
  5. BMG Music

BMG and SONY were unified into a single company on August 5, 2004.

Main labels in 2004-2011 (Big Four)

  1. Warner Music Group
  2. EMI
  3. Sony Music Entertainment (Sony BMG 2004-2008)
  4. Universal Music Group

Main Stamps 2011-Present (Big Three)

  1. Sony Music Entertainment
  2. Universal Music Group (absorbió a EMI)
  3. Warner Music Group


  1. The economic and social importance of cultural industries.