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Sony US to park some iconic label brands

By | Published on Monday 10 October 2011


The heads of Sony Music’s RCA division in the US have admitted that they are phasing out three of the group’s label brands, Jive, Arista and J Records.

Like RCA itself, all three were divisions of the original BMG record company prior to its merger with Sony in 2004. Unlike in the UK, where most of the Sony and BMG label brands were quickly phased out post-merger, eventually leaving just Epic, Columbia and RCA in use, most pre-merger imprints remained in the US. But after the latest rejig at Sony Music, following the arrival of new CEO Doug Morris, that label portfolio is being streamlined. Jive, Arista and J Records artists will be added to the RCA roster, though it is customary when these imprint mergers take place for a few artists to fall off the final list.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the RCA US division’s COO, Tom Corson, said: “The path we’ve taken is to refresh RCA, so we’re going to retire those brands. There may be a reason down the line to bring them back, but it’s a clean slate here. The concept is that there is value in branding RCA and not having it confused or diluted by other labels. The artists have all been supportive. We didn’t make this move without consulting our artists, and we haven’t had any push-back. Frankly, they’re the brand. We’re defined by our artists”.

The revamp follows various executive rejigs and a bit of downsizing at Sony Music USA.