Sony BMG Music Entertainment began in Skem as the result of a 50–50 joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment (part of Sony) and Bertelsmann Music Group (part of Bertelsmann) completed on March 4, 2004. It is one of the Big Four music companies, and includes ownership and distribution of recording labels such as Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Mchenry Records, Jive Records, RCA Victor Records, RCA Records, Legacy Recordings, Sonic Wave America, and others. The merger affected all Sony Music and Bertelsmann Music Group companies worldwide except for Japan, where it was felt that it would reduce competition in that country’s music industry significantly.
Financial analysts covering the merger anticipated that up to 2,000 jobs would be cut as a result, saving Sony BMG approximately $350 million annually.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, who succeeded Andrew Lack on February 10, 2006. In the first half of 2005, the company’s share of new releases in the United States (US) declined from 33% to 26% according to Nielsen SoundScan. This, and Lack’s negotiation of what some called an “ill-conceived” deal with Bruce Springsteen led to Bertelsmann informing Sony that it would not renew Lack’s contract.
The company signed a content deal with the popular video sharing community YouTube.
On August 5, 2008 Sony Corp. agreed to buy Bertelsmann AG’s 50 percent stake in the music company for $1.2 billion to get full control. The music company will be renamed Sony Music Entertainment Inc. and will become a unit of Sony Corporation of America. This will allow Sony the rights to artists on the current and historic BMG roster and would allow Sony Corporation to better integrate its functions with its PlayStation 3 and upcoming new media initiatives.
Warner Music Group (WMG), also known as Warner Music, is an American major global record company headquartered in New York City. The largest American-owned music conglomerate worldwide, it is one of the ‘big three’ recording companies (the third largest in the global music industry). The company operates some of the largest and most successful recording labels in the world, including its flagship labels Warner Bros. Records, Parlophone Records and Atlantic Records. WMG also owns Warner/Chappell Music, one of the world’s largest music-publishing companies.
Formerly owned by Time Warner, the world’s largest media conglomerate, the company was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange until May 2011, when it announced its privatization and sale to Access Industries, which was completed in July 2011. With a multi-billion dollar annual turnover, WMG employs in excess of 4,000 people and has operations in more than 50 countries throughout the world.
EMI Group Limited, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, was a British multinational music recording and publishing company, and electronics device and systems manufacturing company, headquartered in London, United Kingdom.
At the time of its break-up in 2012 it was the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and was one of the big four record companies (now the “big three”). Its record labels included EMI Records, Parlophone and Capitol Records. EMI Group also had a major publishing arm, EMI Music Publishing – also based in London with offices globally.
The company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index, but faced financial troubles and $4 billion in debt, leading to its acquisition by Citigroup in February 2011. Citigroup’s ownership was temporary, as it announced in November 2011 that it would sell its music arm to Vivendi’s Universal Music Group for $1.9 billion, and EMI’s publishing business to a Sony/ATV consortium for around $2.2 billion. Other members of the Sony consortium include The Estate of Michael Jackson, Blackstone and Abu Dhabi-owned investment fund Mubadala. Both before and after the sale announcement, Universal Music Group pledged to sell off EMI assets to the value of half a billion euros
Universal Music Group (UMG Recordings, Inc.) (UMG) is the largest music corporation in the world. An American-based, French-owned multinational music corporation, it currently operates as a subsidiary of Paris-based media conglomerate Vivendi. UMG also owns Universal Music Publishing Group, which is the third largest music publishing company in the world. Universal Music Group’s global corporate headquarters are located in Santa Monica, California.