Recording company

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sound carrier company (colloquially record company , record company ) is a publisher in the entertainment or music industry that produces and distributes acoustic works such as music , audio books and radio plays on sound carriers .


The term sound carrier company is neutral and includes all music sound carriers that are still available today such as records , compact cassettes , compact discs , mini disks or DVD-Audio . With the market launch of the compact disc in 1982, the record was largely displaced, so that the terms record company or record company no longer corresponded to reality and the term record company had to give way. Today, recording companies also sell music in “non-physical” form as music downloads ( downloadable audio files ).

Sound recording companies form the most important part of the music industry today, which includes not only music labels but also music publishers , recording studios and artists .


Berliner Gramophone Co. # 196 - Record from September 16, 1897 with George W. Johnson's “Whistling Coon”

On June 27, 1887, the “American Gramophone Co.” was founded by Emile Berliner, who had emigrated from Germany, as the world's first record company. This was followed by the "Berliner Gramophone Co." founded in Philadelphia in 1888, in which Berliner only owned a few shares. He had previously received patents 372,786 and 382,790 in the United States on November 8, 1887 and May 15, 1888 for the gramophone he had invented . Berliner developed the first records on October 25, 1887 from wax-coated zinc. The first record of the Berlin Gramophone Co. appeared in May 1888 under the sound carrier catalog - # 1 with chief trumpeter Emil Cassi of the Rough Riders under the music title Bugle Calls .

Some sources claim that around 25,000 records and 1,000 playback devices should have left the Berlin factory by autumn 1894; in 1898 there were already over 700,000. The next three American labels emerged with Edison Amberol (June 1888), Columbia Records (January 1889 as "Columbia Phonograph Co.") and Victor Talking Machine Company (January 1901).

On November 6, 1898, Emil and his brother Josef Berliner founded Deutsche Grammophon GmbH in Hanover . This is also where the mass production of shellac records began. On June 27, 1900, Deutsche Grammophon GmbH was renamed Deutsche Grammophon AG , based in Berlin, and by 1901 already had 5,000 music titles in the catalog. In 1900, Deutsche Grammophon relocated its administration to Berlin and was converted into a stock corporation, records continued to be produced in Hanover. On July 16, 1900, the trademark Nipper , the mongrel dog before the gramophone, was registered. His Master's Voice was founded in London in October 1899 , and the German Carl Lindström GmbH was founded in February 1904 (AG since June 1908). On May 8, 1925, Electrola was founded as a subsidiary of EMI and "Gramophone Co. Ltd". In February 1929 the English Decca Records were founded , followed by the US sister of Decca in August 1934.

Today, only three major labels still dominate the music market as recording companies, namely Universal Music Group , Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment . The latter began as Columbia Records in January 1888 . The providers are thus an oligopoly .


The organizational structure of recording companies is similar to that of other types of company. They have staff units ( HR department , organization department , legal department ) and service units such as marketing , administration , canteen or vehicle fleet . What distinguishes recording companies from other types of company is the dominance of the artistic and creative area.

The main typical feature in record company takes the artists and repertoire range (A & R) located within the talent management (with the discovery and promotion of new artists English scouting talent ), taking care of existing Artists ( Talent Relationship Management ) as well as looking for new Music trends . A&R managers either check the results of an audition or of demo tapes sent in, or they become aware of artists through other sources ( mass media , concerts ). Castings are also possible when looking for an artist. The A&R manager decides whether an act is required for the recording company with an artist contract. The subsequent sound recordings in the recording studio are either pre-financed by the recording company or by independent music producers and sold on by the recording company via a so-called tape transfer contract. The master tape is used as a template for CD production.

Another area is the management of the record labels , often integrated as a department , which are managed by a label manager. The promotion department takes on the task of presenting new sound carriers to the mass media together with the public relations department . Common is the free transfer of recordings to disc jockeys from radio or video jockeys in music television that unintentionally as a marketing tool act of recording companies. Depending on the depth of production , a recording company can also have its own recording studios or pressing plants .

Web links

Wiktionary: Record label  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Record label  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Patrick Robertson, What was the first time and when? , 1977, p. 202
  2. ^ Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry - The Gramophone. Retrieved November 7, 2017 .
  3. University of Minnesota, Media History Project ( Memento of the original from October 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Tim Brooks / Richard Keith Spottswood, Blacks And The Birth of The Recording Industry 1890-1919 , 2004, p. 35
  5. Tim Brooks / Richard Keith Spottswood, Blacks And The Birth of The Recording Industry 1890-1919 , 2004, p. 40
  6. Harvey Rachlin, The Encyclopedia of Music Business , 1981, pp. 317 ff.
  7. Harvey Rachlin, The Encyclopedia of Music Business , 1981, pp. 328 f.