Photo by James Brooks
The recording industry has a fascinating and deep history, which has very much molded us as both artists and listeners – whether we know it or not. Put simply, the industry has always had a direct relationship with its output. For instance, when radio was the only way to broadcast music, the labels that had relationships with DJs and stations obviously had the most clout, right?
Moving forward in history, there was the development of "the big four," essentially an oligarchy of the four major record companies that owned and operated the majority of the industry: Sony, Universal, EMI, and Warner. And, as a testament to how fast the industry changes, as of 2011, EMI was sold to both Sony and Warner, which now leaves us with the remaining three major labels. They own hundreds of smaller affiliated labels and offer services that are sometime brushed under the rug, discussed later in this article.