• A major label is an institution in the music
industry. Over the years people have
described these music labels as ‘Big’ labels.
Currently there are three big labels in the
A Major Label
• Big Four labels/major record labels represent the
majority of the music sold, making up as much as 75% of
the music market or more depending on the year.
• Artists who are signed to a Big Four record label are
either signed to the central label or signed to a subsidiary
of the label. For instance, a band may be signed to Sony,
or they may be signed to the Sony subsidiary label
Columbia Records. These subsidiary labels have their
staff and usually sign their own artists and make most of
their own financial decisions. However, they are
answerable to the "main" company, which sets their
overall budget and makes decisions like reducing staff at
The Big 3
• 1. Universal Music Group
• 2. Sony GMB
• 3. Warner Music Group
• 4. EMI group
• Big 4 to Big 3; Wikipedia
• The company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100
Index, but faced financial troubles and $4 billion dollars
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.
• “Sony Music Entertainment UK is part of the largest
music and entertainment companies in the world. “
• Sony are a huge corporation, known for being the
world’s fifth largest conglomerate. Sony first started
out in Japan. After so many years developing Sony
started to expand in production they not only
focused on music but on making electrical devices
aswell; therefore the full production process would
be Sony Equipment. No matter where you are in
the world Sony and its productions will have
a presence in some way or another. This is a
strong example of globalisation within ‘The Big 3’.
• Sony is a CONGLOMERATE
INSTITUTION because it is made up of
lots of subsidiary companies.
• Sony is a major institution in terms of
the music industry.
• Sony accounts for more than 5% of the global
• Sony Music Entertainment are vertically integrated.
They have Sony DADC Digital Services which is the
part of Sony Machine that deals with the production
and distribution of Sony’s digital products eg; Music,
Video games etc.
• Sony has it’s own ‘in house’ companies that control
every stage of the production and distribution so
that they don’t have to rely on any other companies.
• Doing this receives full profit for the company.
• Sony’s vertical integration is cleverly controlled as it has
great advantages yet many disadvantages that can lead to
a loss of profit.
• Sony not only works with other digital distribution giants
such as Youtube and Apple but has it’s own companies
too that collaborate with the giants.
• Vevo and My Play are two organisations owned by Sony.
These give the public free access to watch all the latest
videos, news and even shop on My Play.
• There are some great advantages to vertically integrating
like the ability to globalise in a short amount of time but
what does letting free access to music do to the industry?
-> Piracy, Peer to Peer and loss of profit.
• Sony is also horizontally integrated meaning that the
company caters for all sorts of music audiences.
• Sony owns a range of labels that represent different
artists, this meaning that Sony produce music for all
sorts of genres catering for niche and mainstream
• SyCo is Simon Cowell’s company which represent artists
that are generated from his tv shows, eg; Susan Boyle,
Leona Lewis etc.
• Columbia is Sony’s label which represents mainstream
alternative artists such as Foo Fighters, MGMT and
• Deconstruction records represent alternative artists such
• Twitter, Facebook and Myspace enables people to
access the latest information from Sony Music
Entertainment, watch videos from the latest music,
read news and reviews aswell as hinted new artists
on the scene.
• Twitter; Sony Music Global = @ SonyMusicGlobal
- 356,245 followers
- 995 following
- 10,818 tweets (12.56, 30/03/2014)
• Twitter; Sony Music Uk =
- 19,145 followers
- 556 following
- 2,539 tweets
• Facebook; Sony Music Entertainment
• 1,190,670 likes
• APP – over 20,000 monthly users
Sony and Synergy
• Sony Pictures Entertainment is Sony’s presence in the
• Originally a game by Konami, Sony bought the
rights to Silent Hill, making the game a Playstation
exclusive which sold over two million copies. Sony
then made a film based on the game, knowing that
the game’s existing fanbase would provide a
guaranteed audience at the box office. Sony Music
Entertainment also released the original soundtrack
for the game.
Proliferation and miniaturisation
All of Sony’s devices are increasingly small yet have a large
capacity of storage, these are to compete with products
from large companies such as Apple.
The company offers a range of mp3/4 players such as the A
series, this is to compete with Apple Inc’s ipod.
• Sony Ericsson is a subsidiary company of Sony and offer
a range of mobile phones, including the experia
smartphone which incorporates mp3 and mp4
technology as well as allowing users to play Playstation
games on the move (convergence).