Sony Music (global brand, excluding JP, owned by Sony Music Entertainment; for use as release label only when no sub-label/imprint is specified)
Jan 1, 1991: Sony Music Entertainment (SME) was founded, on the same day Sony reintroduced the Columbia label worldwide (except in Spain and Japan*).
Aug 5, 2004: Sony/BMG merger; SME renamed Sony BMG Music Entertainment (SBME). With the merge, Sony Music gained the use of the BMG-owned Columbia trademark in Spain.
Aug 2008: Sony announces its intention to buy out BMG's stake in merger
Oct 1, 2008: acquisition completed, SBME reverts to the present name Sony Music Entertainment (worldwide – except in Japan*).
Sep 2012: Arista France is created, historic Arista (BMG) disappeared with Sony/BMG fusion in 2008
* JP releases should not be filed under this label – The Sony Music Distribution (Japan) Inc. is a good source for labels. Most JP printings of US releases will retain the US label, with the exception of Columbia due to legal reasons. For more information on the independent music giant, see Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc..
Sony Music Entertainment has offices in the following countries:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela
Sony Music Entertainment (sometimes known plainly as Sony Music or by the initials, SME) is an American music corporation owned and operated by Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Sony Corporation. In 1929, the enterprise was first founded as American Record Corporation (ARC) and, in 1938, was renamed Columbia Recording Corporation, following ARC's acquisition by CBS. In 1966, the company was reorganized to become CBS Records. In 1987, Sony Corporation of Japan bought the company, and in 1991, renamed it SME. It is the world's second largest music company, after Universal Music Group.
In 2004, SME and Bertelsmann Music Group merged as Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Later, when Sony acquired BMG's half of the conglomerate, it reverted to the SME name – the buyout led to the dissolution of BMG, which relaunched as BMG Rights Management. SME is middle-sized of the "Big Three" record companies, with Universal Music Group (the largest) and Warner Music Group.