Labels And Companies Lazlo

What Is A Label?

In Discogs, a release's "label" is the overall brand that the
release is associated with. In this context, a brand is a consistent
marketing identity that is associated with multiple releases by one
or more artists.

Most brands (labels) have a name and an associated logo: a unique,
recognizable image or text treatment that appears in the same form on
multiple releases, and which often incorporates the brand (label) name.

Sometimes a brand (label) name is the same as the incorporated business
name of the company that owns it, but more often the brand (label) name
is a shorter version of that name, or completely unrelated to the
company name. For example:

  • The company General Motors Corporation releases items under the
    Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick brands.
  • The company Island Records, Inc. releases items on the
    Island, Mango and 4th+B'Way labels.

A single brand (label) may be used by more than one actual company. For
example:

  • The Epic brand (label) is used by companies that include CBS
    Records
    , CBS Disques S.A. and CBS United Kingdom Ltd..

From here on out, we'll just use the word label. When you see it,
keep thinking brand in the back of your head.

Determining If A Company Named On A Release Is A/The Label

A company should almost always be entered as a release's label if:

  • The company name and/or logo appear on the spine of the release.
  • The design of the release's label (center label on vinyl, non-data
    side on CDs) is:
    • Clearly associated with a specific company, and
    • Appears in the same or similar form on other releases.
  • The company's logo appears on the release's label, but less
    prominently than another company's logo or label design.
  • The fine print on the release included the text "from the
    release ", or something substantially
    similar. In this context, is virtually always the
    name of the release's label.

Determining If A Company Named On A Release Is NOT A/The Label

A company should almost never be entered as a release's label if its
name only appears in the fine print on the release, for example:

  • Following a © or ℗ character. The company named owns the copyright
    to the release (©) or the copyright to the performances included on
    that release (℗). The company named may be a record label, but it is
    not necessarily the label that issued the release.
  • Following the words "Manufactured By", "Marketed By", "Distributed
    By", etc. Again, these roles may be played by a record company,
    but unless that company's branding also appears more prominently
    somewhere else on the release, it should not be listed as the
    release's label.

Examples

DJ Rap: "Bad Girl" (US CD Single)

http://www.discogs.com/release/154811

  • Release spine: "44K 79140", "DJ RAP", "BAD GIRL", "COLUMBIA"
  • Back cover and CD label: COLUMBIA and Higher Ground logos.
  • CD label: "Original versions available on the forthcoming Higher
    Ground/Columbia release Learning Curve (69553)" "44K 79140/©1999
    Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd./℗ 1998 Sony Music Entertainment
    (UK) Ltd."
  • Back cover: "© 1999 Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd./℗ 1998 Sony
    Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd./Manufactured by Columbia Records/550
    Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022-3211"

Verdict: The labels for this release are Higher Ground and Columbia.
Higher Ground does not appear on the spine, but the logos of both
companies appear on the back cover and CD label, and the fine print
refers to both companies in the context of a forthcoming release. Sony
Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd. is only the copyright holder. 44K 79140
should be listed as the catalog number for both labels.

Modern English: After The Snow (US CD)

http://www.discogs.com/release/447539

  • Release spine:
    • "9 45088-2"
    • "MODERN ENGLISH After The Snow"
    • "4·A·D"
  • Logos on label/back cover:
    • 4AD logo
    • "Compact Disc Digital Audio" logo
  • Fine Print:
    • "4·A·D, 8533 MELROSE AVE., SUITE B, LOS ANGELES, CA 90069-5113.
      MANUFACTURED AND DISTRIBUTED BY WARNER BROS. RECORDS INC., A
      TIME WARNER COMPANY. © 1992 4·A·D. ℗ 1982, 1983, 1992 4·A·D.
      MADE IN USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED."

Verdict: The label for this release is 4AD. The catalog number is in
Warner Bros. format because Warner Bros. distributed the release, but
Warner Bros. is not the release's label because their branding/logo is
not used.