Vanity label

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Informally, a vanity label (compare vanity press) is a record label founded as a wholly or partially owned subsidiary of another, larger, and better established (at least at the time of the vanity label's founding) record label, where the subsidiary is (at least nominally) controlled by a successful recording artist, designed to allow this artist to release music by other artists they admire. The parent label handles the production and distribution and funding of the vanity label, but the album is usually released with the vanity brand name prominent. Usually, the artist/head of the vanity label is signed to the parent label, and this artist's own recordings will be released under the vanity brand name. Creating a vanity label can be an attractive idea for the parent label, primarily as a "perk" to keep a successful artist on the label's roster happy and as a venue to bring fellow artists to the public's attention.

Prominent vanity labels[edit]

Vanity Label Founding Artist Founded Notable Artists Released Parent Label (at founding) Status
Reprise Records Frank Sinatra 1960 List of Reprise Records artists Independent Purchased by Warner Bros. Records in 1963; shuttered in 1976, but relaunched in 1987 and active since then.
Brother Records The Beach Boys 1966 The Beach Boys
Brian Wilson & Mike Love
The Flames
Stephen Kalinich
Capitol Records active
Bizarre Records[1] Frank Zappa 1967 The Mothers of Invention
Alice Cooper
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, under the Verve brand re-issued on Reprise Records
Apple Records The Beatles 1968 The Beatles
John Lennon
Paul McCartney/Wings
George Harrison
Ringo Starr
Mary Hopkin
Yoko Ono
David Peel
Ravi Shankar
John Tavener
James Taylor
EMI, under Parlophone in the UK and Capitol Records in the US
active; revived in 1989 for Beatles recordings. See also Apple Corps
Threshold Records[1] The Moody Blues 1969 The Moody Blues
Blue Jays
The Graeme Edge Band
London Records (now Decca Records)
Kling Klang Kraftwerk 1970 Kraftwerk EMI Warner Music active
Grunt Records Jefferson Airplane 1971 Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Starship RCA Records defunct after 1987
Rolling Stones Records[1] Rolling Stones 1971 Rolling Stones
Peter Tosh
Atlantic Records (WEA) (now Warner Music Group) albums now released by Universal Music Group
The Rocket Record Company Elton John 1973 Elton John
Kiki Dee
Cliff Richard
Various, including Island Records (UK; 1973-1978) and MCA Records (US; 1973-1978) inactive
Manticore Records[1] Emerson, Lake and Palmer 1973 Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Greg Lake
John Greaves
Atlantic Records, 1973-1975; Motown Records, 1976-1977 closed (1977), relaunched (2017)
Swan Song Records[1] Led Zeppelin 1974 Led Zeppelin
Bad Company
Dave Edmunds
Atlantic Records (WEA) (now Warner Music Group) closed (1983)
ARC (American Recording Company) Earth, Wind and Fire 1978 Earth, Wind and Fire Columbia Records inactive
Modern Records Stevie Nicks 1980 Stevie Nicks
Rick Vito
Natalie Cole
Atlantic Records (WEA) (now Warner Music Group) closed (1999)
Qwest Records Quincy Jones 1980 Joy Division/New Order (in the US)
Frank Sinatra
George Benson
A&M Records
Warner Bros. Records
active (2007)
Duck Records Eric Clapton 1983 Eric Clapton Reprise Records (WEA) (now Warner Music Group) active
Es Paranza Records Robert Plant 1983 Robert Plant Atlantic Records (WEA) (now Warner Music Group)
Respond Records Paul Weller 1983 Tracie Young
The Questions
A Craze
Vaughn Toulouse
Polydor Records closed (1986)
Paisley Park Records Prince 1986 Prince
Sheila E.
George Clinton
Warner Bros. Records (WEA) (now Warner Music Group) closed (1994)
UZI Suicide Guns N' Roses 1987 Guns N' Roses
Hanoi Rocks
Geffen inactive; owned by Geffen
Death Row Records Dr. Dre
Suge Knight
1992 Dr. Dre
Snoop Dogg
Tha Dogg Pound
Nate Dogg
The Lady of Rage
Crooked I
Danny Boy
Interscope Records
Priority Records
original defunct in 2008; revived by Snoop Dogg since 2022
Maverick Records Madonna 1992 Madonna
Alanis Morissette
The Prodigy (in the US)
Michelle Branch
Story of the Year
The Rentals
Meshell Ndegeocello
Warner Bros. Records inactive (managed by Warner Bros. Records since 2006)
Nothing Records Trent Reznor 1992 Nine Inch Nails
Marilyn Manson
Meat Beat Manifesto
12 Rounds
Pop Will Eat Itself
The The
Universal Music Group under Interscope Records
defunct as of 2004. Reznor has now formed a similar label, The Null Corporation
Grand Royal Beastie Boys 1992 Beastie Boys
At the Drive-In
Jimmy Eat World
Atari Teenage Riot
Sean Lennon
Luscious Jackson
Bran Van 3000
Capitol Records dissolved in 2001. Back catalogue distributed by GR2 Records, created when a group of fans purchased Grand Royal's assets.
Total Vegas Recordings[2] Terrorvision 1992 Terrorvision EMI Records
Pearl Records Garth Brooks 1992 Garth Brooks Liberty Records/Capitol Records under EMI (1992 - 2005)
RCA Records (2005 - 2016)
Independent (2016–present)
inactive; partnership with Liberty/Capitol/EMI ended in 2005,[3] and partnership with RCA ended in 2016.[4][5] Now an independent label.
Discipline Global Mobile Robert Fripp 1992 Robert Fripp
King Crimson
The ProjeKcts
Fripp & Eno
David Sylvian & Robert Fripp
Adrian Belew
Bill Bruford
Bruford Levin Upper Extremities
California Guitar Trio
Europa String Choir
Trey Gunn
Peter Hammill
John Paul Jones
Tony Levin
Bill Nelson
E.G. Records/Virgin Records (1992-2002)
Sanctuary Records (2002-2007)
Independent (2007–present)
Peak Records Russ Freeman 1994 David Benoit
Eric Marienthal
The Rippingtons
Russ Freeman
Concord Music Group active (2007)
Gotee Records TobyMac 1994 Out of Eden
Family Force 5
House of Heroes
EMI Christian Music Group inactive
Moonfog Productions Satyricon 1994 Darkthrone, Satyricon, DHG, Khold Tatra Records active (2009)
SYUN Susumu Hirasawa 1994 Syun
Phnonpenh MODEL
Tadahiko Yokogawa
Fukō Project
Teruo Nakano
DIW inactive since 1996
Never Broke Again NBA Youngboy Cash Money Records active (2022)
Roswell Records Dave Grohl 1995 Foo Fighters
originally Capitol Records, then RCA Records (Foo Fighters)
Southern Lord Records (Probot)
active (2012)
Palace Records Will Oldham 1996 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
Will Oldham
Papa M
Matt Sweeney
Drag City active (2007)
TESLAKITE Susumu Hirasawa 1996 Susumu Hirasawa
Wataru Kamiryo
Susumu Hirasawa + InhVmaN
Nippon Columbia (1996-1998)
MAGNET Records (1999)
Chaos Union (2000–present)
active (2012)
Melankolic Records Massive Attack 1996 Alpha
Horace Andy
Craig Armstrong
Day One
Lewis Parker
Virgin Records active (2007)
Aftermath Entertainment Dr. Dre 1996 Eminem
50 Cent
Busta Rhymes
Slim da Mobster
Kendrick Lamar
Universal Music Group under Interscope Records active (2008)
Vapor Records Neil Young 1996 Neil Young
Jonathan Richman
Tegan and Sara
Los Abandoned
originally Sanctuary Records, then Universal Music active (2007)
Hellcat Records Tim Armstrong 1997 Rancid
Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
The Slackers
Dropkick Murphys
The Distillers
Epitaph Records active (2007)
Adeline Records Billie Joe Armstrong 1997 Green Day
The Living End
Jesse Malin
Warner Music Group active (2007)
Elementree Records[6] Korn 1997 Videodrone
Epic Records dissolved after Korn's departure from Epic
ATO Records[6] Dave Matthews 1997 Ben Kweller
David Gray
My Morning Jacket
Crowded House
Gov't Mule
Sony BMG active (2007)
Mötley Records Mötley Crüe 1997 Mötley Crüe Hip-O Records (former), Warner Music Group (current) active
Tool Dissectional Tool 1999 Tool Volcano Entertainment/Zomba active
Way Moby "Weird Al" Yankovic 1999 "Weird Al" Yankovic Volcano Entertainment/Zomba active
E Works Eels 2000 Eels DreamWorks active
Big Brother Recordings Oasis 2000 Oasis
Happy Mondays
Sony BMG active
Honest Jon's Damon Albarn 2000 The Good, the Bad & the Queen
The Ailerons
active (2007)
Shady Records Eminem 2000 Eminem
Obie Trice
50 Cent
Slim da Mobster
Universal Music Group active
Flawless Records[6] Fred Durst 2000 Puddle of Mudd
She Wants Revenge
Big Dumb Face
Universal Music Group under Geffen Records
active (2007)
Serjical Strike Records Serj Tankian 2001 Axis of Justice
Bad Acid Trip
Death by Stereo
Fair to Midland
Kittens for Christian
Serj Tankian
Universal Music Group under The Universal Motown/Universal Republic Group active (2009)
UTP Records Juvenile 2001 Juvenile
Young Buck (until 2002)
2 Pistols
Warner Music Group
1st & 15th Entertainment Lupe Fiasco 2001 Lupe Fiasco
Sarah Green
Pooh Bear a.k.a. MDMA
Warner Music Group under Atlantic Records active (2012)
US Records Usher 2002 One Chance
Rico Love
Ryon Lovett
Justin Bieber
J Records
active (2007)
Brushfire Records Jack Johnson 2002 Jack Johnson
Matt Costa
G. Love & Special Sauce
Rogue Wave
Animal Liberation Orchestra
Universal Music Group under Universal Republic active (2007)
Grand Hustle Records T.I. 2003 T.I.
Young Dro
DJ Drama
Big Kuntry King
Iggy Azalea
8Ball & MJG
Warner Music Group under Atlantic Records active (2010)
Jaded Records Jay Sean 2003 Jay Sean Universal Music Group under Cash Money Records active
Attack Records Morrissey 2003 Morrissey
Nancy Sinatra
Damien Dempsey
James Maker
Kristeen Young
Sanctuary Records active (2005)
G.O.O.D. Music Kanye West 2004 Common
Kid Cudi
Pusha T
Cyhi Tha Prynce
Big Sean
Mr Hudson
John Legend
Mos Def
Sony Music Entertainment and Atlantic Recording Corporation (2005-2011)
Universal Music Group under Def Jam Recordings (2011–present)
active (since 2005)
Machine Shop Records Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson of Linkin Park 2004 Linkin Park
Fort Minor
Skylar Grey
Alexa Ray Joel
Army of Anyone
Warner Bros. Records active (2012)
Heiress Records Paris Hilton 2004 Paris Hilton Warner Bros. Records inactive
DC Flag Records Joel and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte 2004 Hazen Street
Lola Ray
MC Chris
Epic Records active
Knockout Entertainment Ray J 2005 Ray J
Shorty Mack
Willie Norwood
Michael Copon
E1 Music active (2008)
Konichiwa Records Robyn 2005 Robyn
Universal Music Group active
Decaydance Records[6] Pete Wentz 2005 Fall Out Boy
Gym Class Heroes
Four Year Strong
Panic! at the Disco
The Academy Is...
Cobra Starship
The Cab
The Hush Sound
Warner Music Group under Fueled By Ramen active (2009)
Axtone Records Axwell 2005 Axwell
Thomas Gold
Hard Rock Sofa
Universal Music Group active
Big Orange Clown Records Shawn Crahan 2005 Gizmachi Sanctuary Records active (2008)
Raybaw Records Big & Rich 2005 James Otto
Cowboy Troy
Warner Bros. Nashville dissolved in 2008
Liberty & Lament Records Lucero 2005 Lucero Warner Bros. active (2007)
Young Money Entertainment Lil Wayne
Mack Maine
2005 Lil Wayne
Nicki Minaj
Mack Maine
Gudda Gudda
Jae Millz
Christina Milian
Lil Chuckee
Lil Twist
T Streets
Short Dawg
Cory Gunz
Shanell aka SnL
Porcelain Black
Cash Money Records active
Helium-3 Muse 2006 Muse Warner Bros. active (2007)
Born & Bred Records Dropkick Murphys 2007 Dropkick Murphys Warner Bros. active (2007)
Ragged Flag The Prodigy 2007 The Prodigy Cooking Vinyl inactive
Sergeant Records Douglas Vale 2007 Douglas Vale
Tyler Hilton
Kejsi Tola
Sunrise Avenue
Pharoahe Monch
Warner Music Group active (since 2008)
Tennman Records Justin Timberlake 2007 Esmée Denters Interscope Records active (since 2007)
RBMG Usher 2008 Justin Bieber Island Def Jam Music Group
active (2013)
1017 Brick Squad Gucci Mane 2008 Waka Flocka Flame
OJ Da Juiceman
Wooh Da Kid
Slim Dunkin
Warner Bros. active (2009)
Average Joes Entertainment Colt Ford 2008 Colt Ford
Montgomery Gentry
Bubba Sparxxx
Average Joe's Entertainment Group, LLC active
Take Me to the Hospital The Prodigy 2008 The Prodigy Cooking Vinyl active
Tass Radio Records T-Beats and Unkgeta 2008 T-Beats
Universal Music Group under Interscope Records active
N.E.E.T. Recordings M.I.A. 2008 Nguzunguzu
Sleigh Bells
Rye Rye
XL Recordings, Interscope Records inactive, founding artist now signed to Interscope
Search & Destroy Fightstar 2009 Fightstar Gut Records active (2009)
Roc Nation Jay-Z 2009 Jay-Z
J. Cole
Meek Mill
Jay Electronica
Rita Ora
Sony Music Entertainment/Atlantic Recording Corporation active (since 2009); partnership with Sony/Atlantic ended in 2013, currently in partnership with Universal Music and owned by Live Nation.
Juonbu Records Babymetal 2010 Babymetal Toy's Factory inactive; replaced by BMD Fox Records in 2013 when Babymetal graduated from Sakura Gakuin and was launched as a standalone unit.
Ticker Tape Radiohead 2011 Radiohead XL Recordings active
Blackened Recordings Metallica 2012 Metallica Rhino Entertainment (North America), Universal Music (worldwide) active
K-BAHN Backstreet Boys 2013 Backstreet Boys BMG Rights Management, RED Music active
BMD Fox Records Babymetal 2013 Babymetal Toy's Factory active; preceded by 重音部 Records.
Unsub Records[7] Katy Perry 2014 Ferras
Capitol Records active
Nash Icon Music Scott Borchetta 2014 Reba McEntire
Ronnie Dunn
Martina McBride
Big Machine Records inactive


  1. ^ a b c d e "Rock Star Vanity Labels - Blog - Mojo". Archived from the original on 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  2. ^ "Terrorvision Discography". Discogs. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Garth Splits with Capitol". Billboard. 3 June 2005.
  4. ^ "Garth Brooks parts with RCA, looks for promo team". The Tennessean.
  5. ^ Burchard, Jeremy. "Garth Brooks Leaves Label, Announces Independent Albums". Wide Open Country. Archived from the original on 14 August 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d "Slash's Label Leads the List of Silly Vanity Imprint Names". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  7. ^ "Katy Perry launches record label, Metamorphosis Music". 18 June 2014.