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Sony Music Entertainment

Sony Music Entertainment
Subsidiary of Sony Entertainment
Industry Music and entertainment
  • 1929; 88 years ago (1929) (as American Record Corporation (ARC)
  • 1938; 79 years ago (1938) (as Columbia/CBS Records)
  • 1991; 26 years ago (1991) (as Sony Music Entertainment
  • 2004; 13 years ago (2004) (as Sony BMG Music Entertainment)
  • 2008; 9 years ago (2008) (as Sony Music Entertainment (second era)
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Key people
Products Music and entertainment
Revenue IncreaseUS$4.89 billion (FY 2014)
Increase US$487 million (2014)
Owner Sony Corporation
Parent Sony Entertainment Inc.
Divisions List of Sony Music Entertainment labels
Website sonymusic.com

Sony Music Entertainment (known as Sony Music and abbreviated as SME) is an American label and company owned by Sony. It is incorporated as a general partnership of Sony Music Holdings Inc. through Sony Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. The company was first founded in 1929 as American Record Corporation and renamed Columbia Recording Corporation in 1938, following its acquisition by the Columbia Broadcasting System. In 1966, the company was reorganized to become CBS Records. Sony Corporation bought the company in 1987 and renamed it Sony Music Entertainment in 1991.

In 2004, Sony and Bertelsmann established a 50-50 joint venture called Sony BMG Music Entertainment and transferred businesses of Sony Music Entertainment (former CBS Records) and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG; Ariola, Arista, RCA Records, etc.) into the joint venture, although later in 2008, Sony acquired Bertelsmann's stake and the company reverted to the SME name. The buyout led to the dissolution of BMG, which relaunched as BMG Rights Management. Sony Music Entertainment is one of the "Big Three" record companies, being the second largest after Universal Music Group (UMG) and ahead of Warner Music Group (WMG).

In 1929, ARC was founded through a merger of several record companies. In 1934, in the midst of Great Depression, the Columbia Phonograph Company (founded in the U.S. in 1888), including its Okeh Records subsidiary, was acquired by ARC.