The Big 4 is the collective name for the 4 main companies in the music industry Warner Music Group, Sony Music, Universal Music and EMI (bought by Sony and Universal in 2011). It started off as the Big 5 but Sony bought BMG in 2004. In 2011 EMI was bought by Universal and Sony so it became the Big 4.
EMI is based in London and one of the Big 3 Music companies. Since February 2011 they are owned by Citigroup because they were in debt of over 4 billion dollars. In November 2011 Citigroup sold off parts of the company. Universal bought the music side of the company for 1.9 billion us dollars and Sony bought the publishing side for 2.2 billions us dollars.
Sony Music Sony music is the 2 nd biggest company in the music industry. The company was born as we know it in 1991 as Sony Music Entertainment but in 2004 they entered a 50-50 joint venture with Bertelsmann and merged Sony with their music group to create Sony BMG Music Entertainment. They stayed like this up until 2008 where they bought back the 50% that Bertelsmann owned and they renamed their company Sony Music Entertainment Inc. Sony Music has stayed like this up until the current date.
Sony don’t only produce music but they also make lots of tech equipment from dvd players, speakers, surround sound, cameras and so much more. It is also part of Sony Pictures and they make movies.
Warner Music Group
Warner music group is one of the big 4 and a large company in the music industry. In 2004 it merged with the large internet service provider AOL to create AOL Time Warner. Warner have been making music since 1811.
Universal Music Universal Music is the largest company in the music industry. It was founded in 1934 and was called Decca Records it later changed in 1989 to MCA Music Entertainment. It is know the biggest music industry in the world and it is multi national and the majority of main stream music is from Universal.
Universal don’t only produce music, but they also own Universal Pictures sometimes known as Universal Studios and are one of the oldest film company's. They also have their own resort Universal Orlando resort where you can stay and there are movie themed attractions.
With the 21st Century the music industry has changed drastically. All forms of music sales, (CD ’s, Vinyl's, Cassette and digital downloads) dropped by 25%. The record industry started taking legal action towards illegal file sharing, and in 2001 they shut down Napster, one of the largest music sharing websites at the time. The 21st Century also brought the start of the digital download of music.
In 2003 iTunes music store was released. In 2009 more than 1/4 of music sales were digital and downloaded from online. Now there are loads of sites selling music online, Amazon Music, Google Music, iTunes and many more it is now the most popular way for people to get their music.