The Full Wiki

Island Records: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Island Records is a record label that was founded by Chris Blackwell in Jamaicamarker. It was based in the United Kingdommarker for many years, but is now owned by Universal Music Group and is operated in the United States through The Island Def Jam Music Group and in the UK through Island Records Group (or simply Island Records or Universal Island).

It had also been activated as the frontline label Island Records Australia by Universal Music Australia.


Rise of the Island brand

Island Records was founded in Jamaicamarker in 1959 by Chris Blackwell and Graeme Goodall, taking its name from the 1955 Alec Waugh novel, subsequent film and Harry Belafonte hit song 'Island in the Sun'. The company relocated to the UKmarker in May 1962. Until Blackwell sold the label to PolyGram in 1989, Island was the largest indie record label in history. In the mid-1970s, Island operated its own record pressing plant, but had problems with quality control; many records were defective and had to be returned. Island (UK) contracted EMI to manufacture and distribute their works, from 1972-1977, when higher vinyl prices forced Island to a lower quality manufacturer . EMI regained the duty in 1987.

The first multinational distribution deal for the then-independent label in North America was with RCA Records in Canada, developing the label and for almost a decade under label manager Cathy Hahn, prior to its move to Warner. The RCA deal yielded Bob Marley's first gold album for North American record sales with the release of Exodus, and also marked Island's first gold album certification for North American Record sales. Island did, however, incorporate and operate business offices in the U.S. and Canada in the 1970s and 1980s.

Island's overseas licensing arrangements were often such that Island was marketed as the primary label, with Island Records credited on sleeve spines, and Island's label designs appearing prominently on the discs themselves, even when a different company was responsible for the records' manufacture, distribution and marketing. Sometimes the fine print on these releases would mention the other company, sometimes not. For example, Island-branded records were released by companies such as Bell Records (U.S., 1967–68), A&M Records (U.S., 1969-1970s) Asylum Records (U.S., 1970), Capitol Recordsmarker (U.S., early 1970s), Warner Bros. Records (U.S., 1975–1982), WEA Records (Canada, et al.), Atlantic Records (U.S., 1982–1989), MCA Records (Canada 1982-1989), Phonogram Records (Germany, ?–1971), Ariola Records (Germany, 1971–1992; Netherlands, late 1970s–1989), Dacapo (Portugal), and others. One anomaly is that Rupert Murdoch's Festival Records (Australia & New Zealand) (now owned by Warner Music) got to promote its brand more prominently than most.

Although this strategy of the Island brand dominating releases helped prevent the brand from becoming marginalized, Island struggled as a business in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Bob Marley had died, Irish rock band U2, which had signed to Island in March 1980, were growing in popularity, but had not reached the international superstar status that was to come, and a joint arrangement with Trevor Horn's fledgling ZTT label had diminishing returns. Blackwell had also used the label to finance a new film production and distribution company, Island Alive, in 1983. In the mid-1980s, U2 helped keep the label afloat with a loan that Blackwell repaid by expanding U2's royalties and giving the band control of its master recordings.

Island's acquisition by PolyGram

In July 1989, Blackwell sold Island Records and Island Music to PolyGram UK Group for £272 million. From this point on, Island was no longer an independent company. Although PolyGram continued to market the brand, Blackwell stayed on as CEO of PolyGram's Island Entertainment division. PolyGram immediately began reissuing much of the Island back catalogue on compact disc and expanded Island's reach through its global manufacture and distribution network, but the label was relatively unfocused in the 1990s. Island World Communications, which was headed by Blackwell, as well as Mike Preece, Laurence Guinness and Andy Frain, created Manga Entertainment Ltd, the Japanese Anime and Live Action Japanese film division of Island in 1991. Manga and Island bought the distribution license for Akira from ICA Projects in London and was Manga's first release. Manga and Island struck deals with many Independent Australian entertainment companies to release Manga's titles in the early 90's. In 1994, Island sold the distribution licenses for most of Manga's releases to Siren Entertainment, an independent entertainment company in Australia. Those rights were then given to Madman Entertainment in 1999 when Siren became solely an acquisitions company. Its 4th & Broadway division, operating since the mid-1980s, achieved some success marketing alternative hip hop and dance-pop music. In November 1997, Blackwell resigned from Island Entertainment (some sources say he was fired) and went on to form Palm Pictures the following year. Then in 1998 all of the Polygram and associated labels were purchased by Seagrams, the various labels now asserting the imprint under the umbrella of UMG, or Universal Music Group, LLC.

Island under Universal Music Group

The Universal years have, thus far, resulted in tremendous dilution of brands; releases are inconsistently marketed as being "on" any number of labels which range from historic brands like Island to conglomerate holding companies, music groups, label groups, and miscellaneous divisions of Universal Music that formed from numerous mergers and acquisitions in the 1990s and 2000s:
  • In December 1998 and the first three months of 1999, Universal Music Group put the Island brand in the control of three divisions: one in the UK, one in the U.S., and one in Germany. In each territory, these companies were merged under umbrella groups:
  • In March 1999, in the UK, Island Records Ltd. (the Island half of Island Mercury Group) was renamed Universal-Island Records Ltd., and Mercury took over the marketing of Island's roster of U.S. artists in that territory. Thus, Island and Universal-Island became synonymous with primarily UK and European artists. Island Mercury is sometimes used as a brand, as well.
  • Releases bearing the Island brand are also sometimes issued via Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) and UM3 (UM3), umbrella organizations formed in October 1999 to handle special-market releases and catalogue reissue compilations for the U.S. and the rest of the world, respectively. UMe and UM3 releases are coordinated by a constituent label company like Hip-O Records and bear its logo, but also typically promote a confusing array of other Universal-owned brands, including Island, with varying degrees of prominence.
  • Around 2002, Island Mercury Group became Island Records Group (UK).
  • Some early 2000s releases by U2 are credited to "Interscope/Island Records". This is not a separate company, but rather just a co-branded alias for Interscope Records, much the way "Manhattan Island Records" was used for a handful of Grace Jones releases on Manhattan Records (a division of Capitol Recordsmarker) in the mid-1980s.
  • In January 2003, four divisions of Universal Music Germany merged into two: Motor Music and Urban/Def Jam become Motor Urban Def Jam, and Polydor Records merged with Island Mercury Labelgroup to form Polydor Island Group. In 2004, these divisions merged again, and Universal Music Germany restructured to have only two divisions: Universal Music Domestic Division and Universal Music International Division. Any of these divisions, or even Universal Music Germany itself, may be credited as the label on a given release, alongside or in place of Island.
  • Island Records Australia was launched in 2007 by Universal Music Australia.

Artists and recordings

Subsidiaries & labels

This list is probably incomplete, and some of the dates are uncertain.


External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address