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The "Big Six" Profile
Warner | EMI | Sony | Polygram | MCA | BMG
Click here to see US Album Market Share for 1999


Warner Brother Records Logo

Warner Music Group

The largest entertainment company in the industry is Time Warner Entertainment Group, located in the United States, which owns the Warner Music Group. Warner Brothers Records began as an attempt to control music in the film industry during the 20’s.

Labels: Warner Brothers
Atlantic
Atco
Elektra/Asylum
Reprise
Publisher: Warner/Chappel Music Publishing
Manufacturer:

WEA Inc.

Merger: EMI Ltd. in 2000
Revenues in 1994: $7.4 billion

Assets:

$16.7 billion

EMI Records Logo

EMI

Three labels merged in the 1930's to form EMI, Columbia Graphophone, Gramaphone Company, and Parlophone. The company is based in the United Kingdom.

Labels & Publishers: 65 labels including:
Capitol
EMI Records
EMI Music Publishing
Virgin Records Ltd.
Capitol-EMI Music
Distributors:

EMD (EMI Music Distribution)
HMV Group

Merger: Time Warner in 2000

Sony Music Logo

Sony Music

Sony decided to create a software manufacturing and distribution system to complement its hardware manufacturing. With an agreement with CBS Records, Sony created the first manufacturer of compact discs in the United States.

Labels: Columbia
Epic
Epic Associated Labels
Publishers: Sony Music Publishing
Columbia Records
Distribution System:

Sony Distribution

Record Club: Half of Columbia House record club (Warner owns the other half) CD and Tape Manufacturing Facilities in the U.S.

PolyGram Logo

PolyGram N.V.

The history of this Dutch entertainment holding company is long and complex. The company is 75% owned by Phillips Electronics N.V. Their biggest mergers and acquisitions have been with Polydor, Mercury Records, MGM Records, Phonogram, Island Records Group, A&M Records, R&B powerhouse Motown in 1993, and finally a 50% interest in Def Jam Records in 1994.

Labels: Mercury
Polydor
London
Vertigo
Verve
Wing
A&M
Island
Motown
Decca
Deutche Grammophon
Phillips Classics
Also owns music publishing, manufacturing, and the PGD or Polygram Distribution systems.

MCA Logo

MCA

MCA began in New York in 1924 as a talent agency. Only after acquiring Universal Studios film facilities in 1959 did it move into publishing. The recording sector began by purchasing labels such as U.S. Decca, Coral, and Kapp in 1962. The Japanese Matshushita Electric Industrial Company purchased it in 1990, but Seagramn Company, Ltd. of Canada purchased 80% of Matsushita’s ownership in 1995.

Labels: MCA
Geffen
DGC
GRP
*MCA also owns record and video distribution systems and music publishing interests.

BMG Logo

BMG

This company began in Germany as part of the Bertelsman, A.G. corporation. By acquiring Aristan Records in 1979, the company took off in the United States and in 1986 the company bought RCA Victor from General Electric. Bertelsman owns television and radio stations around the world, film production and distribution, magazine publishing, book publishing, and newspapers- over 200 entertainment and publishing entities throughout the world.

Labels: Operate under BMG Entertainment:
Ariola
RCA
LaFace/Arista
Zoo Entertainment
Private
Windham Hill
Disques Vogue
Jive/Silverstone
Wired
Mushroom
Deconstruction
American Recordings
Absorbing
Gun
Red Rooster
Goldrush
K&P
Chodwig
MSM
Expressive
Coconut
Nahsa
MCI
Sing Sing
Jupiter
Lawine
Publisher: BMG Music Publishing
Distributor & Manufacturer:

BMG Music

Record Club: BMG Music Service

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Last Update: April 5, 2000