Labels – How the industry has changed


The Gza & The Rza both became disillusioned with the record industry, when they were signed to Cold Chillin & Tommy Boy respectively. It’s believed that this is what led The Rza to create Wu Tang and Gza to create this song. A recurring patern has happened with many of the labels he mentioned in this record.

Tommy Boy – when Labels was made, Tommy Boy was distributed by Warner Bros. They are no longer with a major distiributor.

Livin Large – Folded in 1998

Def Jam – at the time of Labels, Def Jam was owned by Polygram. Def Jam now operates under Universal Records.

Ruff House – Defunct

Cold Chillin – Folded in 1998

Warner Bros – Now operating as Warner Music Group. The label is around $2 billion in debt.

Ruthless – Now operates under Sony. Catalog is now owned by EMI/Sony & Warner. Was a multi platinum seller at the time of Labels.

Jive – Now owned by Sony since 2002. Was sold for $2.7 billion.

Sleeping Bag – Defunct

Profile –  The former heavyweight is now out of business. Catalog still owned by Sony.

Tuff City – Still operating after surviving various sample lawsuits.

Virgin Still operating but Urban division is almost non existent.

Mercury – Now owned by Universal

Capitol – Still operating

Wu Tang – Still distributed by Priority/EMI

Deathrow – Was renamed Tha Row – however after declaring bankruptcy, the catalog is now owned by WIDEawake.

Epic – Still operating under Sony.

Rush Associated Labels – Was merged into Def Jam when they were purchased by Universal.

East West – Still operating.

Atco – The label is inactive, however the logo appears on some re-releases. Owned by Warner.

Next Plateau – Now owned by Universal – no longer has a hip hop roster.

Uptown – The former heavyweight is now defunct and exists only in name under Universal.

MCA – Defunct & logo owned by Geffen who use it on some of their country releases.

4th & Broadway – Now defunct in the U.S, however the label/logo is used in the UK under Island/Universal.

Island Records – Still operating but now under Universal.

Priority – Bought by Capitol/EMI in 2001 who owns their vast back catalog.

First Priority – Now owned by Jive.

A&M – Merged with Polygram/MCA in 1998 to create Universal Records. Interscope & Geffen later merged with the label.

Pendulum – Defunct. Catalog now owned by Universal

Columbia – CBS was purchased by Sony.

Interscope – Formerly distributed by Atlantic/Warner but later owned and distributed by Universal.  Now the world’s biggest label.

RCA – Merged with infamous rival CBS after it was bought by Sony in 2004.

Atlantic – Still operating.

Bad Boy – Formerly under Arista, now under Atlantic/Warner. Was one of the biggest labels at the time.

Arista – Still operating after being bought by Sony.

Geffen – see Interscope

CBS –CBS was one of the biggest labels around until it merged with Sony (The Big 6 is now the Big 4).




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About Harlem World

the BAWSE *ross grunt*

Posted on March 27, 2011, in Record Labels and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Very interesting list. Wouldn’t it be interesting if you did another one based on the song “publicity” by gza?

  2. This is why I fucks with this blog. Good stuff.

  1. Pingback: Blogospheric Conditions: April Snow | The T.R.O.Y. Blog

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