2. + Introduction
There are four main institutions dominating today’s music industry.
These institutions are known as ‘The Big Four’ and include:
+ Universal Music Group (UMG) – the largest of the four
+ Sony Music Entertainment – the second largest
+ Warner Music Group – the third largest
+ EMI Music Publishing – the fourth largest and the smallest of the four
All of which are owned by Live Nation, the largest music venue owner
and promoter which, therefore, controls the live music industry. In
addition to promoting music, these institutions also promote different
forms of media, including, film, magazine and TV. The Big Four also
have authority over a network of smaller companies that go on to
provide these forms of entertainment to target audiences.
3. + Universal Music Group (UMG)
UMG was founded in 1934 as DECCA Records USA.
UMG is the world’s largest music content company. In 1990, the company later
developed into MCA Music Entertainment Group, and after another 6 years,
further development lead to what we know as UMG today. With leading market
positions in recorded music, as well as music publishing and merchandising,
UMG both discovers and develops recording artists and songwriters then going
onto market and promote their music through a variety of different formats and
platforms, e.g. Youtube and other merchandising methods such as clothing lines
and live shows.
UMG also owns and governs the copyrights to musical compositions in order for
them to be used in public performances, recordings, and also for use in films
and advertisements. UMG has worked alongside many successful artists such
as Rihanna, Snow Patrol and The Who and is situated, mainly, in New York City,
USA where the institution also manages various labels including DECCA
Records, Island Records and Def Jam Recordings (also known as The Island
Def Jam Music Group).
4. + Sony Music
A global recording company that boasts a broad array of both local and
international successes such as Jimi Hendrix, The Fray and One Direction.
Sony Music Entertainment is solely owned by Sony Corporation of America
after the Bertelsmann half of the joint business enterprise, in 2004, was
bought by the Corporation in 2008; after which, it was renamed to what it is
know as today. The company’s headquarters are located in New York City,
USA and is home to a number of labels including Epic Records, Roc Nation
and Columbia Records.
5. +Warner Music Group
Founded in 1958, Warner Music Group was more commonly known as Warner Bros
Records, later sold to Seven Arts Productions in 1967. With the company’s growing
success, in 1972, the institution renamed itself WEA Corp, which stood for its three main
labels -Warner Bros, Elektra and Atlantic.
After further success building up a strong status within the industry during the 1970’s,
Warner gained its first overseas bureaus in both Canada and Australia in same year. In
2004, as a result of becoming an independent holder, the company was, once again,
renamed to what it is known as today. Warner Music Group offer artist management and
uses similar merchandising methods. Also like the previous institutions, WMG is home to
many record labels including Asylum, Rhino and Sire and has also assisted many artists
that have gone on to become very successful such as Green Day, Plan B and Estelle.
6. + Electric and Music Industries
Founded in 1931 as the Electric and Music Industries, EMI is the smallest of
The Big Four and unlike the three previously mentioned institutions, EMI is a
British company predominantly based in London. The original companies
behind EMI were founded by the inventor of the gramophone, Emile Berliner,
and its record labels include Angel Records, Blue Note Records and Virgin
Records. Over the years, EMI has also worked alongside many successful
artists including The Kooks, LCD Soundsystem and Massive Attack and to
this day EMI continues to develop in the eyes of the music industry.
7. + Information Regarding Music Institutions
In order to fully promote a song through its music video, these institutions
cover a variety of viewing methods and platforms including music channels
(4Music, VIVA) and coverage of entertainment news. However, with the
constant developments in regard to the Internet, it is becoming increasingly
common for consumers to view music videos online through sites like
YouTube as well as the artist’s official site. Looking at my research on music
institutions, I found that many of them use the online music and entertainment
service VEVO. This is because it enables the product, in this case music
videos, to reach the vast and thriving user community on YouTube through a
VEVO branded channel. In addition to these channels, VEVO offers many
more through its site.