Geffen Records

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Geffen Records
Geffen logo.png
Parent companyUniversal Music Group
Founded1980
FounderDavid Geffen
Distributor(s)Interscope-Geffen-A&M
(In the US)
Polydor Records
(Outside the US)
GenreVarious
Country of originUSA
LocationSanta Monica, California
Official WebsiteGeffen.com
 
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Geffen Records
Geffen logo.png
Parent companyUniversal Music Group
Founded1980
FounderDavid Geffen
Distributor(s)Interscope-Geffen-A&M
(In the US)
Polydor Records
(Outside the US)
GenreVarious
Country of originUSA
LocationSanta Monica, California
Official WebsiteGeffen.com

Geffen Records is an American record label, owned by Universal Music Group.

As the 1980s progressed, Geffen would go on to have success with such acts as Quarterflash, Oxo, Asia, Wang Chung, Kylie Minogue and Sammy Hagar. In the meantime, the label continued to sign a handful of established music icons, including: Elton John, Irene Cara, Cher, Don Henley, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Jennifer Holliday and Sonic Youth. Toward the end of the decade, the company also began making a name for itself as an emerging rock label, thanks to the success of Whitesnake (US only), The Stone Roses, Guns N' Roses, Tesla, and the mainstream comeback of '70s era rockers Aerosmith. This prompted Geffen to create a subsidiary label, named DGC Records in 1990, which focused on more progressive sounds (along with some heavy metal acts) and would later embrace the emergence of Alternative Rock and Grunge, Nirvana being an example. Geffen also distributed the first incarnation of Def American Recordings through Warner Bros. from 1988 to 1990.

Contents

Acquisition by MCA

After a decade of operating through Warner, when its contract with the company expired, the label was sold to MCA Music Entertainment (later renamed Universal Music Group) in 1990. The deal ultimately earned David Geffen an estimated US$800 million in stock (until the Japanese conglomerate, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.'s cash acquisition of MCA in 1991, made Geffen a billionaire) and an employment contract that ran until 1995. Following the sale, Geffen Records operated as one of MCA's leading independently managed labels. Geffen stepped down as head of the label in 1995 and collaborated with Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg to form DreamWorks SKG, an ambitious multimedia empire dealing in film, television, books, and music. Geffen Records would distribute releases on the new operation's DreamWorks Records subsidiary.

Interscope-Geffen-A&M

Universal Music Group acquired PolyGram in 1999, resulting in a corporate reorganization of labels. Geffen Records, along with A&M Records, was subsequently merged into Interscope Records. Although Geffen would continue to exist as a brand, it was downsized to fit into the greater expansion of Interscope (who also took over distribution of DreamWorks Records). At the same time, international distribution of Interscope and Geffen releases switched to ex-PolyGram label Polydor Records, which had already been distributing A&M releases overseas (in return for A&M handling Polydor releases in the US).

By 2000, despite Geffen Records no longer being independently operated within UMG and taking a more submissive position behind Interscope, it continued to do steady business—so much so that in 2003, UMG folded MCA Records into Geffen. Though Geffen had been substantially a pop-rock label, its absorption of MCA (and its back catalogues) led to a more diverse roster; with former MCA artists such as Mary J. Blige, The Roots, Blink-182, Rise Against, and Common now featured on the label. Meanwhile, DreamWorks Records also folded, with artists such as Nelly Furtado, Lifehouse and Rufus Wainwright being absorbed by Geffen as well. DGC Records was folded in 2003, but was revived in 2007.

Geffen's absorption of the MCA and DreamWorks labels, along with its continuing to sign new acts such as Ashlee Simpson, Angels & Airwaves, Snoop Dogg, and The Game, had boosted the company to the extent that it began gaining equal footing with the main Interscope label, leading some industry insiders to speculate that it could revert back to operating as an independently managed imprint at UMG again. At the end of 2007, however, Geffen was absorbed further into Interscope, laying off sixty employees.

In 2009, it was announced that Geffen Records had signed an agreement with the Holy See to produce an album of marian songs and prayers from Pope Benedict XVI. [1] In 2010, Geffen released Weezer's ninth studio album, Death to False Metal.

Jimmy Iovine decided to relaunch the Geffen Imprint in 2011, but this time moving its headquarters from California to New York City. He put Gee Roberson, who has worked with Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, and Lil' Wayne, in charge as chairman.[2]

Labels under Geffen

Artists

See also

References

External links