History of Record Labels and the Music Industry

Comprehensive compilation by Alex Cosper of more than hundred years of consolidation of record labels:

  • In 1965 Warner Brothers purchased independent labels Valiant and Autumn.
  • Kama Sutra Records was formed in 1965 by KS Productions, which was owned by Artie Ripp, Phil Steinberg and Hy Mizrahi. Their first signing, Lovin’ Spoonful, was a huge success, but the label began to disappear from the charts after it merged with Buddah later in the sixties.
  • Gulf and Western bought Dot Records in 1965, becoming part of the ABC group. ABC bought Dunhill Records from Lou Adler in 1966, creating the ABC-Dunhill label.
  • Sire Records was launched in 1966 by record executive Seymour Stein with Richard Gotteher.
  • Fantasy was bought by Saul Zaentz in 1968 as the label was given a new life with the success of Creedence Clearwater Revival.
  • Major consolidation occurred in the sixties. Warner acquired Frank Sinatra’s label Reprise in 1963, a few years after it was launched. In 1966 Seven Arts purchased Warner Brothers films and records to create Warner-Seven Arts, which acquired Atlantic in 1967 for $17.5 million and Elektra in 1968. Then in 1969 it was sold to the Kinney Corporation, who renamed the entertainment group Warner Communications.
  • United Artists was purchased by Transamerica Corporation in 1967. GRT bought Chess in 1968. United Artists bought Liberty and Imperial in 1969. Film studio 20th Century Fox began issuing records in the sixties as 20th Century Records. Sam Phillips sold Sun to Shelby Singleton in 1969.
  •  In the late sixties Philips reorganized its UK labels, emphasizing Mercury and Vertigo while phasing out Fontana.

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