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Virgin Records is a
record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and adv ...
and music distributor owned by
Universal Music Group Universal Music Group N.V. (often abbreviated as UMG and referred to as just Universal Music) is a Dutch–American multinational . UMG's corporate headquarters are located in Hilversum, Netherlands and its operational headquarters are locate ...
. It originally founded as a British independent record label in 1972 by entrepreneurs
Richard Branson Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is a British business magnate, entrepreneur, investor, and author. In the 1970s he founded the Virgin Group, which today controls more than 400 companies in various fields. Branson expre ...

Richard Branson
, Simon Draper,
Nik Powell Nik Powell (4 November 1950 – 7 November 2019) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern ...
, and musician Tom Newman. It grew to be a worldwide success over time, with the success of platinum performers
Paula Abdul Paula Julie Abdul (born ) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, choreographer, actress, and television personality. She began her career as a National Basketball Association Cheerleading, cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers at the age of ...

Paula Abdul
,
Janet Jackson Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. She is noted for her innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows. Her sound and choreog ...

Janet Jackson
,
Devo DEVO (, originally ) is an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical co ...

Devo
,
Tangerine Dream Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music band founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The group has seen many personnel changes over the years, with Froese having been the only continuous member until his death in January 2015. The best-known line ...
,
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain * Genesis, a fictional character from the ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'' comic-book series * ''Genes ...
,
Phil Collins Philip David Charles Collins (born 30 January 1951) is an English drummer, singer, record producer, songwriter, and actor. He is best known as the drummer/singer of the rock band Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesi ...

Phil Collins
,
the Human League The Human League are an English synth-pop band formed in Sheffield in 1977. Initially an experimental electronic music, electronic outfit, the group signed to Virgin Records in 1979 and later attained widespread commercial success with their thi ...

the Human League
,
Culture Club Culture Club is an English band that formed in London in 1981. The band comprises Boy George George Alan O'Dowd (born 14 June 1961), known professionally as Boy George, is an English singer, songwriter, DJ, fashion designer, photographer and r ...
,
Simple Minds Simple Minds are a Scottish Rock music, rock band formed in Glasgow in 1977. They have released a string of hit singles, becoming best known internationally for "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (1985), which topped the ''Billboard (magazine), Billb ...

Simple Minds
,
Lenny Kravitz Leonard Albert Kravitz (born May 26, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, and actor. His style incorporates elements of Rock music, rock, blues, Soul music, soul, Contemporary R&B, R&B, funk, jazz, reg ...

Lenny Kravitz
, and
Mike Oldfield Mike is a masculine given name. It is also encountered as an abbreviation or shorthand for Michael. Notable people with the name include: People * Mike Adenuga, Nigerian billionaire businessman * Mike Affleck, American football player * Mike ...
among others, meaning that by the time it was sold, it was regarded as a major label, alongside other large international independents such as A&M and
Island Records Island Records is a multinational record label owned by Universal Music Group Universal Music Group N.V. (often abbreviated as UMG and referred to as just Universal Music) is a Dutch–American multinational Music industry, music corpor ...
. Virgin Records was sold to
EMI EMI Group Limited (originally an initialism for Electric and Musical Industries, also referred to as EMI Records Ltd. or simply EMI) was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012 ...

EMI
in 1992. EMI was in turn taken over by
Universal Music Group Universal Music Group N.V. (often abbreviated as UMG and referred to as just Universal Music) is a Dutch–American multinational . UMG's corporate headquarters are located in Hilversum, Netherlands and its operational headquarters are locate ...
(UMG) in 2012 with UMG creating the Virgin EMI Records division. In 2021, UMG's independent music arm Caroline Distribution was renamed as Virgin Music Label & Artist Services (operating as an offshoot of
Capitol A capitol is a building in which a legislature meets, including: Political authority of a territorial unit * United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. * Numerous List of state capitols in the United States, U.S. state and territorial capitols * ...
), with the Virgin Records name continuing to be used by UMG in certain markets such as Germany and Japan.


Virgin Records America

Virgin Records America, Inc. was the company's North American operations founded in 1986. They are still active and headquartered in
Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English, Hiberno-English, Hibernian English, Australian English and Canadian English) or neighborhood (American English; American and British English spelling differences, see spelling ...

Hollywood
,
California California is a in the . With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the and the U.S. state by area. It is also the in North America and the in the world. The area and the are the nation's second and ...

California
, and operate under the
Capitol Music Group Capitol Music Group (abbreviated as CMG) is an American front line umbrella label owned by the Universal Music Group Universal Music Group B.V. (often abbreviated as UMG) is a global Music industry, music corporation that is majority owned by t ...
imprint, now also owned by UMG, since 2012. The US operations have also taken on the name Virgin Records. A minor number of artists remain on Virgin Records America's roster, which is currently mostly occupied with European artists such as
Bastille The Bastille (, ) was a fortress in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents as of 2018, in a ...
,
Circa Waves
Circa Waves
,
Corinne Bailey Rae Corinne Jacqueline Bailey Rae (; born 26 February 1979) is a British singer and songwriter. She is best known for her 2006 single " Put Your Records On". Bailey Rae was named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2006 in an annual BBC pol ...

Corinne Bailey Rae
,
Ella Eyre Ella McMahon (born 1 April 1994), better known by her stage name Ella Eyre, is a British singer and songwriter. She is best known for her collaborations with Rudimental on their UK number one single " Waiting All Night" (2013), which won the ...

Ella Eyre
,
Grizfolk Grizfolk is a Swedish-American alternative rock Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock, or simply alternative) is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely ...
,
Walking on Cars Walking on Cars were a four-piece Irish rock band, whose 2020 line-up consisted of Patrick Sheehy (singer/lyricist), Sorcha Durham (pianist), Paul Flannery (bass guitarist) and Evan Hadnett (drummer). Their debut single "Catch Me If You Can", rele ...
,
Seinabo Sey
Seinabo Sey
, and Prides; American artists include Knox Hamilton, L'Tric, Loren Gray, and
Rise Against Rise Against is an American punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s. Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk bands rejected the perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, f ...
.


Virgin Classics

Virgin ClassicsVirgin Classics was a record label founded in 1988 as part of Richard Branson's Virgin Records. The unit, along with EMI Classics, was acquired by Universal Music in 2012 as part of the takeover of the EMI Group, however the terms of the Europea ...
was founded in 1988 as part of Virgin Records. Along with
EMI Classics EMI Classics was a record label founded by EMI in 1990 in order to reduce the need to create country-specific packaging and catalogues for internationally distributed classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the ...
, it too was acquired by UMG in 2012 as part of the takeover of the EMI Group. But the terms of the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes a ...

European Commission
's approval of the takeover required divestment of the two classical labels. Accordingly, both were sold in February the following year to
Warner Music Group Warner Music Group Corp. (commonly abbreviated as WMG and simply referred to as Warner Music) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multi ...
, and this transaction was approved by the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of that are located primarily in . The union has a total area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. has been established through a standardised that apply in ...

European Union
that May. Warner placed the Virgin Classics artist roster and catalogue in its
Erato Records In Greek mythology, Erato (; grc, Ἐρατώ) is one of the Greek Muses, which were inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. The name would mean "desired" or "lovely", if derived from the same root as Eros, as Apollonius of ...
division, and the "Virgin Classics" name, along with "EMI Classics," disappeared.


History

Branson and Powell had initially run a small record shop called ''Virgin Records and Tapes'' on
Notting Hill Gate Notting Hill Gate is one of the main thoroughfares of Notting Hill Notting Hill is an affluent district of West London, England, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) is an Inner ...
, London, specializing in
krautrock Krautrock (also called , German for ) is a broad music genre, genre of experimental rock that developed in West Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s among artists who blended elements of psychedelic rock, electronic music, and avant-garde m ...
imports, and offering bean bags and free vegetarian food for the benefit of customers listening to the music on offer. The first real store was above a shoe shop at the
Tottenham Court Road Tottenham Court Road (occasionally abbreviated as TCR) is a major road in Central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of E ...
end of
Oxford Street Oxford Street is a major road in the City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London which forms a core part of Central London. It is the site of the Un ...

Oxford Street
. After making the shop into a success, they turned their business into a fully fledged record label. The name Virgin, according to Branson (in his autobiography), arose from Tessa Watts, a colleague of his, when they were brainstorming business ideas. She suggested Virgin – as they were all new to business – like "virgins". The original Virgin logo (known to fans as the "Gemini" or "Twins" logo) was designed by English artist and illustrator Roger Dean: a young naked woman in mirror image with a large long-tailed lizard and the word "Virgin" in Dean's familiar script. A variation on the logo was used for the spin-off
Caroline Records Caroline Records is a record label originally founded in 1973. Initially founded in the United Kingdom to showcase British progressive rock Progressive rock (shortened as prog; also known as classical rock or symphonic rock; sometimes confl ...
label. The first release on the label was the
progressive rock Progressive rock (shortened as prog; also known as classical rock or symphonic rock; sometimes conflated with art rock) is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid-to late 1960s, peaki ...
album ''
Tubular Bells ''Tubular Bells'' is the debut studio album by English multi-instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter Mike Oldfield Mike is a masculine given name. It is also encountered as an abbreviation or shorthand for Michael. Notable people with the name ...
'' by multi-instrumentalist
Mike Oldfield Mike is a masculine given name. It is also encountered as an abbreviation or shorthand for Michael. Notable people with the name include: People * Mike Adenuga, Nigerian billionaire businessman * Mike Affleck, American football player * Mike ...
, who was discovered by Tom Newman and brought to Simon Draper – who eventually persuaded Richard and Nik to present it as their first release in 1973, produced by Tom Newman, for which the fledgling label garnered unprecedented acclaim. This was soon followed by some notable krautrock releases, including electronic breakthrough album '' Phaedra'' by
Tangerine Dream Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music band founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The group has seen many personnel changes over the years, with Froese having been the only continuous member until his death in January 2015. The best-known line ...
(which went Top 20), and '' The Faust Tapes'' and ''
Faust IV ''Faust IV'' is the fourth studio album by the Germany, German krautrock group Faust (band), Faust, released in 1973. The album is included in the book ''1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die'', where it is referred to as a "krautrock classic". ...
'' by
Faust Faust is the protagonist 200px, Shakespeare's ''Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.'' William Morris Hunt, oil on canvas, c. 1864 A protagonist (from grc, πρωταγωνιστής, translit=prōtagōnistḗs, lit=one who plays the first part, chief ...
. ''The Faust Tapes'' album retailed for 49p (the price of a 7" single) and as a result allowed this relatively unknown band a massive audience as the album sold over 60,000 copies and also reached number 12 in the charts, though it was later redacted its spot on the grounds of the cover price. Other early albums include
Gong A gongFrom Indonesian Indonesian is anything of, from, or related to Indonesia, an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It may refer to: * Indonesians, citizens of Indonesia ** Native Indonesians, diverse groups of local inhabitants of the ...
's '' Flying Teapot (Radio Gnome Invisible, Pt. 1)'', which
Daevid Allen Christopher David Allen (13 January 1938 – 13 March 2015), known professionally as Daevid Allen, sometimes credited as Divided Alien, was an Australian poet, guitarist, singer, composer and performance artist. He was co-founder of the psychede ...
has been quoted as having never been paid for. The first single release for the label was
Kevin Coyne Kevin Coyne (27 January 1944 – 2 December 2004) was an English musician, singer, composer, film-maker, and a writer of lyrics, stories and poems. The "anti-star" was born in Derby, Derbyshire, England, and died in his adopted home of Nuremberg ...

Kevin Coyne
's "Marlene" (b/w "Everybody Says"), taken from his album ''
Marjory Razorblade ''Marjory Razorblade'' is a Double album, double-Gramophone record, LP by English rock singer Kevin Coyne and was one of the earliest releases on Virgin Records, which had launched four months earlier in June 1973. The double album includes the son ...
'' and released in August 1973. Coyne was the second artist signed to the label after Oldfield.


Rebranding

Although Virgin was initially one of the key labels of English and European progressive rock, the 1977 signing of the
Sex Pistols The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a compos ...

Sex Pistols
(who had already been signed and then dropped by both
EMI EMI Group Limited (originally an initialism for Electric and Musical Industries, also referred to as EMI Records Ltd. or simply EMI) was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012 ...

EMI
and A&M) reinvented the label PM in a new-wave outpost, a move that plunged the record company into the mainstream of the punk rock era. Under the guidance of Tessa Watts, Virgin's Head of Publicity (and later, also Director of Production), the Pistols rocketed the label to success. Shortly afterwards, the Nottingham record shop was raided by police for having a window display of the Sex Pistols' album ''
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols ''Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'' is the only studio album by English punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s. Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk bands rejected the perceived excesses ...
'' in the window. Afterwards they signed other new wave groups:
Public Image Ltd Public Image Ltd (abbreviated and stylized as PiL) are an English post-punk band (and incorporated limited company) formed by singer John Lydon, guitarist Keith Levene, bassist Jah Wobble, and drummer Jim Walker (drummer), Jim Walker in 1978. ...
,
Boxer Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves and other protective equipment such as hand wraps and mouthguards, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring. Amateur boxin ...
,
Culture Club Culture Club is an English band that formed in London in 1981. The band comprises Boy George George Alan O'Dowd (born 14 June 1961), known professionally as Boy George, is an English singer, songwriter, DJ, fashion designer, photographer and r ...
, Fingerprintz, Gillan,
Holly and the Italians Holly Beth Vincent (born Holly Beth Cernuto in 1956) is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. In her youth Vincent sang and played drums and guitar in several bands and took part in the Los Angeles punk subcu ...
,
Human League The Human League are an English synth-pop band formed in Sheffield in 1977. Initially an experimental electronic music, electronic outfit, the group signed to Virgin Records in 1979 and later attained widespread commercial success with their th ...
(whose "
Don't You Want Me "Don't You Want Me" is a single by British synthpop Synth-pop (short for synthesizer pop; also called techno-pop; ) is a subgenre of new wave music that first became prominent in the late 1970s and features the synthesizer A synt ...
" was the label's first chart-topping single, in 1981),
Magazine A magazine is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential ...
, Skids,
the Motors The Motors were a British Pub rock (United Kingdom), pub rock band, formed in London in 1977 by former Ducks Deluxe members Nick Garvey and Andrew McMaster (songwriter), Andy McMaster together with guitarist Rob Hendry (who was replaced in May 19 ...
, Penetration,
the Ruts The Ruts (later known as Ruts DC) are an English reggae Reggae () is a music genre that originated in Jamaica Jamaica () is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning in area, it is the third-largest island of the Gr ...
, Shooting Star,
Simple Minds Simple Minds are a Scottish Rock music, rock band formed in Glasgow in 1977. They have released a string of hit singles, becoming best known internationally for "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (1985), which topped the ''Billboard (magazine), Billb ...

Simple Minds
, and
XTC XTC were an English rock band formed in Swindon Swindon () is a large town in Wiltshire, England, between Bristol, to the west, and Reading, Berkshire, Reading, the same distance to the east; the town is west of London. At the United King ...

XTC
. After modified versions of the twins label came the red, white and blue design introduced in 1975, which coincided with the height of punk and new wave. The current Virgin logo (known informally as "the scrawl") was created in 1978, commissioned by Simon Draper, then managing director of Virgin Records Limited. Brian Cooke of Cooke Key Associates commissioned a graphic designer to produce a stylised signature. The logo was first used on Mike Oldfield's '' Incantations'' album in 1978 and by the Virgin Records label exclusively until gradually other parts of the
Virgin Group Virgin Group Ltd. is a British multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state ...
adopted it, including
Virgin Atlantic Virgin Atlantic, a trading name A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpos ...

Virgin Atlantic
,
Virgin Mobile Virgin Mobile is a wireless communications brand used by seven independent brand-licensees worldwide. Virgin Mobile branded wireless communications services are available in Colombia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Chile, Russia, Saudi Arab ...

Virgin Mobile
and
Virgin Money Virgin Money is a financial services brand used by three independent brand-licensees worldwide. Virgin Money branded services are currently available in Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Virgin Money branded services were formerly of ...

Virgin Money
.


Purchase by Thorn EMI

Virgin Records was sold by Branson to
Thorn EMI Thorn EMI was a major British company involved in consumer electronics, music, defence, and retail. Created in October 1979, when Thorn Electrical Industries Thorn Electrical Industries Limited was an electrical engineering business. It was lis ...
in June 1992 for a reported US$1 billion (around £560 million), with a special non-competition clause that would prevent Branson from founding another recording company during the five years following the agreement (see the final paragraph in EU Merger Decision IV/M202 of 27 April 1992). It now faces competition from Branson's new label:
V2 Records V2 Records (or V2 Music; V2 being an abbreviation for Virgin 2) is a record label that was purchased by Universal Music Group in 2007 and sold to PIAS Group,
IAS IAS may refer to: Science * Institute for Advanced Study The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), located in Princeton, New Jersey, in the United States, is an independent center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. It has serv ...

IAS
in 2013. In the Benelux, V2 operates separately from PIAS, as the label bought its ...
. Branson sold Virgin Records to fund
Virgin Atlantic Virgin Atlantic, a trading name A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpos ...

Virgin Atlantic
which at that time was coming under intense anti-competitive pressure from
British Airways British Airways (BA) is the flag carrier A flag carrier is a transport Transport (commonly used in the U.K.), or transportation (used in the U.S.), is the Motion, movement of humans, animals and cargo, goods from one location to a ...

British Airways
. (In 1993 BA settled a libel action brought by Branson over BA's " dirty tricks" campaign, giving him £500,000 and a further £110,000 to his airline). After being acquired by Thorn EMI, Virgin launched several subsidiaries like ,
Innocent Records Innocent Records was a Pop music, pop record label created to cater to for EMI's Virgin Records more pop oriented acts. Following the success of the Spice Girls, Virgin Records decided to delve into the pop market. In doing so they poached Hugh ...
, blues speciality label
Point Blank Records Point Blank Records is a record label subsidiary of Virgin Records Virgin Records Ltd was a British independent record label founded by entrepreneurs Richard Branson, Simon Draper, Nik Powell, and musician Tom Newman in 1972. It grew to ...
, and indie music label
Hut Recordings VC Recordings trading as Hut Records was a British record label brand which was started in 1990 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Virgin Records Virgin Records Ltd was a British independent record label founded by entrepreneurs Richard Bra ...
, and continued signing new and established artists like
Korn#REDIRECT Korn Korn (stylized as KoЯn) is an American nu metal band from Bakersfield, California, formed in 1993. The band is notable for pioneering the nu metal genre and bringing it into the mainstream. Originally formed in 1993 by three ...

Korn
,
A Fine Frenzy Alison Sudol (born December 23, 1984) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and music video director. She is known as the singer A Fine Frenzy, and also for her role as Queenie Goldstein in the '' Fantastic Beasts'' films '' Fantastic Beas ...
,
Thirty Seconds to Mars Thirty Seconds to Mars (commonly stylized as 30 Seconds to Mars) is an American Rock music, rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1998. The band consists of brothers Jared Leto (lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards) and Shannon Leto ...
,
Tina Turner Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 26, 1939) is an American-born Swiss singer, songwriter and actress. Widely referred to as the "Honorific nicknames in popular music, Queen of Rock 'n' Roll", she rose to prominence as the lead sing ...

Tina Turner
,
Beenie Man Anthony Moses Davis (born 22 August 1973), better known by his stage name Beenie Man, is a Jamaican dancehall Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to lar ...
,
The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones are an English band formed in London in 1962. Active for almost six decades, they are one of the most popular and enduring bands of the rock era. In the early 1960s, the Rolling Stones pioneered the gritty, heavier-drive ...

The Rolling Stones
,
Spice Girls The Spice Girls are a British girl group A girl group is a music act featuring several women in music, female singers who generally vocal harmony, harmonize together. The term "girl group" is also used in a narrower sense in the United States ...
,
The Smashing Pumpkins The Smashing Pumpkins (or Smashing Pumpkins) are an American alternative rock band from Chicago. Formed in 1988 by frontman Billy Corgan (lead vocals, guitar), D'arcy Wretzky (bass), James Iha (guitar), and Jimmy Chamberlin (drums), the band has ...
,
We Are Scientists We Are Scientists is a New York City-based rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chem ...

We Are Scientists
,
The Kooks The Kooks () are an English indie rock band formed in 2004 in Brighton. The band consists of Luke Pritchard (vocals/rhythm guitar), Hugh Harris (lead guitar/synthesizer/bass) and Alexis Nunez (drums). Their music is primarily influenced by th ...

The Kooks
, dcTalk (mainstream releases, contract ended in 2000),
Belinda Carlisle Belinda is a feminine given name of unknown origin, apparently coined from Italian language, Italian ''bella (disambiguation), bella'', meaning "beautiful". Alternatively it may be derived from the Old High German name ''Betlinde'', which possi ...
,
Meat Loaf Michael Lee Aday (born Marvin Lee Aday, September 27, 1947), better known as Meat Loaf, is an American singer and actor. He is noted for his powerful, wide-ranging voice and theatrical live shows. His ''Bat Out of Hell'' trilogy—''Bat Out of H ...

Meat Loaf
,
Placebo A placebo ( ) is a substance or treatment which is designed to have no therapeutic value. Common placebos include inert tablets (like sugar pills), inert injections (like saline), sham surgery, and other procedures. In general, placebos can af ...
,
Janet Jackson Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. She is noted for her innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows. Her sound and choreog ...

Janet Jackson
(contract ended in 2006),
Daft Punk Daft Punk were a French electronic music duo formed in 1993 in Paris by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. Widely regarded as one of the most influential acts in dance music history, they achieved popularity in the late 1990s as p ...

Daft Punk
(contract ended in 2008), , Does It Offend You, Yeah?, The Future Sound of London, The Chemical Brothers, Brooke Allison, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Almost, Mariah Carey (contract ended in 2002), N.E.R.D., Laura Marling, Swami (band), Swami, RBD, Thalía and Priscilla Renea. Because business models increasingly diverged, Thorn EMI shareholders voted in favour of demerger proposals on 16 August 1996. The resulting media company became the EMI Group. In 1997, Virgin absorbed the remainder of EMI Records, EMI USA, which earlier consolidated EMI America Records and Manhattan Records, with Capitol Records acquiring EMI's other American operations, and in 1998, opened a country music division called Virgin Records Nashville, of which record producer Scott Hendricks was president. The label's signees comprised Julie Reeves, Jerry Kilgore (singer), Jerry Kilgore, Roy D. Mercer, Tom Mabe, Chris Cagle, Clay Davidson, and River Road (band), River Road. In 2001, Virgin Nashville closed and its roster was folded into Capitol Records' Nashville division.


Further mergers

Capitol Records and Virgin Records America merged in 2007 to form
Capitol Music Group Capitol Music Group (abbreviated as CMG) is an American front line umbrella label owned by the Universal Music Group Universal Music Group B.V. (often abbreviated as UMG) is a global Music industry, music corporation that is majority owned by t ...
after a massive restructuring of EMI Group Ltd. Stepping down as chief executive of Capitol Records was Andy Slater, with Jason Flom, former executive of Virgin, taking the reins as chairman and CEO of the newly created company. Universal Music Group (UMG) purchased EMI in 2012, thus acquiring Virgin. UMG absorbed Virgin's British operations to create Virgin EMI Records in March 2013. On 16 June 2020, Universal rebranded Virgin EMI Records as EMI Records and named Rebecca Allen (former president of UMG's Decca label) as the label's president, with Virgin Records now operating as an imprint of latter label. In February 2021, the
Universal Music Group Universal Music Group N.V. (often abbreviated as UMG and referred to as just Universal Music) is a Dutch–American multinational . UMG's corporate headquarters are located in Hilversum, Netherlands and its operational headquarters are locate ...
announced that it will rebrand the Caroline Records, Caroline Music Group as Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, the name change was "inspired and influenced by the spirit and ethos of the iconic Virgin Records label".


American editions

The Virgin label was distributed in the US by Atlantic from 1973 to 1975. During this period, 14 albums were issued. All had been previously issued in the UK on Virgin, although one album, ''
Marjory Razorblade ''Marjory Razorblade'' is a Double album, double-Gramophone record, LP by English rock singer Kevin Coyne and was one of the earliest releases on Virgin Records, which had launched four months earlier in June 1973. The double album includes the son ...
'' by Kevin Coyne, was truncated from a 20-song double album to an 11-song single album. Beginning with Mike Oldfield's ''Ommadawn'' album in 1975, American distribution switched to Columbia Records. Columbia was unwilling to release all Virgin artists, and so many were licensed to other labels: Epic Records, Epic (the sister company of Columbia) (
Mike Oldfield Mike is a masculine given name. It is also encountered as an abbreviation or shorthand for Michael. Notable people with the name include: People * Mike Adenuga, Nigerian billionaire businessman * Mike Affleck, American football player * Mike ...
[1980s releases], Captain Beefheart (1982's Ice Cream For Crow),
Culture Club Culture Club is an English band that formed in London in 1981. The band comprises Boy George George Alan O'Dowd (born 14 June 1961), known professionally as Boy George, is an English singer, songwriter, DJ, fashion designer, photographer and r ...
(1982-1986),
Holly and the Italians Holly Beth Vincent (born Holly Beth Cernuto in 1956) is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. In her youth Vincent sang and played drums and guitar in several bands and took part in the Los Angeles punk subcu ...
, some
XTC XTC were an English rock band formed in Swindon Swindon () is a large town in Wiltshire, England, between Bristol, to the west, and Reading, Berkshire, Reading, the same distance to the east; the town is west of London. At the United King ...

XTC
[1982's English Settlement) and Shooting Star; Atlantic Records, Atlantic (Julian Lennon), A&M (UB40, The Human League,
Simple Minds Simple Minds are a Scottish Rock music, rock band formed in Glasgow in 1977. They have released a string of hit singles, becoming best known internationally for "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (1985), which topped the ''Billboard (magazine), Billb ...

Simple Minds
, Breathe (British band), Breathe, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and The Blue Nile), Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. (
Sex Pistols The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a compos ...

Sex Pistols
, Scritti Politti,
Devo DEVO (, originally ) is an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical co ...

Devo
), Geffen Records, Geffen (XTC - 1983 on), MCA Records, MCA (
Tangerine Dream Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music band founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The group has seen many personnel changes over the years, with Froese having been the only continuous member until his death in January 2015. The best-known line ...
,
Belinda Carlisle Belinda is a feminine given name of unknown origin, apparently coined from Italian language, Italian ''bella (disambiguation), bella'', meaning "beautiful". Alternatively it may be derived from the Old High German name ''Betlinde'', which possi ...
), RCA Records, RCA (the soundtrack of ''Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984 film), 1984'') and Arista Records, Arista (Heaven 17, Jermaine Stewart). Some of these records had a small Virgin logo added to the regular company design on the label. One of Virgin's and Epic's biggest acts of the 1980s was Culture Club. In 1978, Virgin set up US operations first in New York City, New York on Perry Street, with distribution from Atlantic Records. Virgin Records soon moved operations to New Jersey along with a short-lived subdivision called Virgin International, handled by independent New Jersey-based distributor Jem Records. Virgin International was used mainly for progressive rock artists and reissues of earlier Virgin / Atlantic albums such as ''Hergest Ridge'' by Mike Oldfield, and ''Fish Rising'' by Steve Hillage, which Columbia chose not to reissue. Virgin International also issued albums by some of Virgin's reggae artists, including Gregory Isaacs. At the same time, Virgin releases distributed by Columbia continued, distribution returning to Atlantic (later WEA) in 1980, at which time Virgin International ceased operations. In 1986, Virgin Records opened up another American division, Virgin Records America. Its first release was the debut album by Cutting Crew which included the hit single "(I Just) Died in Your Arms". Other Virgin America signings included Camper Van Beethoven, Bob Mould, Warren Zevon,
Paula Abdul Paula Julie Abdul (born ) is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, choreographer, actress, and television personality. She began her career as a National Basketball Association Cheerleading, cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers at the age of ...

Paula Abdul
, T'Pau (band), T'pau, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I., Redhead Kingpin & The F.B.I., Neneh Cherry, Steve Winwood, Hindsight and, after her MCA contract ran out in 1991, Belinda Carlisle. Virgin Records America's releases were distributed through Warner Music Group, WEA again by Atlantic Records until 1992. The label was then acquired by EMI-Capitol Special Markets. Virgin Records America was founded by the executive team of Jordan Harris, Jeff Ayeroff and Phil Quartararo. Another American company called Caroline Records co-existed during this time. Caroline records rarely mentioned a connection with Virgin, and some UK and European Virgin albums that were distributed internationally (instead of being manufactured in each country) named Caroline as their American distributor. Some Caroline records bore the label name Caroline Blue Plate, which was used mainly for reissuing on CD many early progressive rock albums and artists from Virgin and Caroline's UK branches.


Canadian editions

The first Canadian editions were distributed by WEA, and were parallel issues of the same early 14 albums issued in the US by Virgin/Atlantic. In 1975, distribution transferred to Columbia (as it had in the US), but the following year distribution was transferred again to Polydor Records (which changed its name to PolyGram by 1980), and issued a different and larger selection of records from what was being issued in the US. Canadian editions of the Dindisc label were issued as Dindisc/Virgin. Virgin's Canadian division arranged to have Canadian artists Martha & the Muffins and Nash the Slash signed to Dindisc in the UK as well; both artists had releases in Canada and the UK on Dindisc. In 1983, an independent Virgin Records Canada Inc. company was created, three years before a similar move occurred in the US. From this time onward, Virgin Canada used unique label designs not seen in other countries: a red label with five horizontal bars across the top and an extra-large "scrawl" logo from 1983 to 1985, followed by a purple label with round logo up to 1992 when Virgin was acquired internationally.


Virgin Music Publishers

Soon after Virgin Records was founded, the label created a music publisher (popular music), music publisher for its artists, who also served as songwriters. Starting in the 1980s, Virgin Music signed songwriters from other record labels. After Virgin was acquired by EMI, the publisher was folded into EMI Music Publishing as EMI Virgin Music. In 2012, a consortium led by Sony/ATV Music Publishing acquired EMI Music Publishing for $2.2 billion. However, the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of that are located primarily in . The union has a total area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. has been established through a standardised that apply in ...

European Union
ruled that Sony/ATV would represent over half of all the charting hits in the United Kingdom, and required the company to auction off Virgin Music and Famous Music UK, as well as twelve unrelated authors. In December 2012, BMG Rights Management acquired the Virgin and Famous publishers, and concluded the deal in May 2013. Virgin Music was renamed BMG VM Music, while Famous Music became BMG FM Music. Before its demise, Virgin Music's songwriters included Iggy Pop, Texas (band), Texas, Ozzy Osbourne, Cannibal Corpse, Nirvana (band), Nirvana, Winger (band), Winger, Wax (rock band), Wax, Tears for Fears, The Prodigy, Goo Goo Dolls, Tool (band), Tool, The Crystal Method, Terence Trent D'Arby,
Lenny Kravitz Leonard Albert Kravitz (born May 26, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, and actor. His style incorporates elements of Rock music, rock, blues, Soul music, soul, Contemporary R&B, R&B, funk, jazz, reg ...

Lenny Kravitz
, Ben Harper, Warrant (American band), Warrant, Mark Ronson,
Devo DEVO (, originally ) is an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical co ...

Devo
,
Culture Club Culture Club is an English band that formed in London in 1981. The band comprises Boy George George Alan O'Dowd (born 14 June 1961), known professionally as Boy George, is an English singer, songwriter, DJ, fashion designer, photographer and r ...
, Take That, Bullet for My Valentine, Robbie Williams, Wayne Hector, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and
XTC XTC were an English rock band formed in Swindon Swindon () is a large town in Wiltshire, England, between Bristol, to the west, and Reading, Berkshire, Reading, the same distance to the east; the town is west of London. At the United King ...

XTC
.


Subsidiary labels

*In 1983 Virgin purchased Charisma Records, renaming it Charisma/Virgin, then later Virgin/Charisma, before folding the label in 1986 and transferring its remaining artists to Virgin. In the process they acquired
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain * Genesis, a fictional character from the ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'' comic-book series * ''Genes ...
and comedy group Monty Python. The Charisma label was reactivated in the US in 1990 and enjoyed success with signings such as Maxi Priest, 38 Special (band), 38 Special and Enigma (German band), Enigma. When this Charisma label was retired in 1992, all of its artists were, as before, transferred to Virgin. *In 1987, Venture Records was created for new age and modern classical artists including Klaus Schulze, who had been associated with Virgin since the early 1970s. (Virgin had distributed UK editions of his German albums since 1974, and he had almost been signed as a Virgin artist in 1976, but the deal was cancelled after a conflict between Virgin and his German label.) *10 Records was sometimes branded as Ten, and was part of AVL (Associated Virgin Labels Limited - a marketing company owned by Virgin Records Ltd). *Siren Records was another 1980s label which became part of AVL. An example of an album released under this label was Peace of Mind (Breathe album), Peace of Mind By the British band Breathe in 1990. *Circa Records was another 1980s AVL label, though one which became Virgin's 'strategic marketing' division making TV-advertised compilations such as ''The Best...Album in the World...Ever!'' collections under the label name Virgin TV or EMI/Virgin TV. *Immortal Records *
Caroline Records Caroline Records is a record label originally founded in 1973. Initially founded in the United Kingdom to showcase British progressive rock Progressive rock (shortened as prog; also known as classical rock or symphonic rock; sometimes confl ...
was a budget label used from 1973 to 1977. The name and logo were later used for some American editions of Virgin records in the 1980s and 1990s. Caroline was primarily used for independent distribution until the label was reactivated in 2013. Today, Caroline Records acts as an independent label taking the place of EMI Label Services, after Virgin's former parent company EMI was purchased by Universal Music Group. *Front Line (record label), Front Line Records (or Virgin's Front Line) was a label for issuing Jamaican and English reggae music from 1978 to approximately 1987. It became an actual label name in 1978 when it succeeded a category of Virgin albums and singles marketed as "The Front line Series" which went back to 1976, when a reggae compilation album titled ''The Front Line'' was issued on Virgin. Front Line artists included U-Roy, U Brown, Mighty Diamonds, Keith Hudson, Althea & Donna, Jah Lloyd, Johnny Clarke, The Gladiators (band), The Gladiators, Peter Tosh, I-Roy, Tapper Zukie, Sly Dunbar, Twinkle Brothers, Prince Far I, Big Youth, The Abyssinians, Culture (band), Culture, Gregory Isaacs and Linton Kwesi Johnson. *A short-lived associated label, Dindisc, had Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and The Monochrome Set during its brief existence (1980–1981), after which its recordings became part of Virgin's catalogue. *Noo Trybe Records was a hip hop record label that existed from 1994 to 1999. The label consisted of mostly West Coast hip hop artists such as the Luniz. The label also became the distributor for releases under Rap-A-Lot Records after they switched distribution from Virgin's sister label under EMI, Priority Records in 1994. Noo Trybe also became the home of East Coast rappers AZ (rapper), AZ and Gang Starr after their respective labels
EMI EMI Group Limited (originally an initialism for Electric and Musical Industries, also referred to as EMI Records Ltd. or simply EMI) was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012 ...

EMI
and Chrysalis Records, Chrysalis were folded in early 1997. *Delabel was one of the main imprints of the French division of EMI, along with Virgin Music, Hostille, Blue Note France and Labels. Delabel had a publishing company and a record label, it existed until 2012 when EMI broke up, and EMI Music France was sold to
Warner Music Group Warner Music Group Corp. (commonly abbreviated as WMG and simply referred to as Warner Music) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multi ...
(along with Parlophone and other EMI divisions) and renamed Parlophone Music France. The publishing company of Delabel, is now owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing (which acquired EMI Music Publishing), meanwhile, the label catalogue now belongs to the new division Parlophone, Parlophone Music France, from Warner Music Group. It signed with Mathieu Chedid,
Daft Punk Daft Punk were a French electronic music duo formed in 1993 in Paris by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. Widely regarded as one of the most influential acts in dance music history, they achieved popularity in the late 1990s as p ...

Daft Punk
, Tonton David and others, It also distributed The Prodigy's releases in France from 1993 to 2006.


Virgin Music international companies

*EMI Records (formerly Virgin EMI Records) is Universal's main label in the United Kingdom after Mercury Records UK has been reduced to a local Universal imprint and its artist moved to the new Virgin EMI label. In 2020, Virgin EMI was rebranded as EMI Records, but the Virgin brand will remain as an imprint of the newly rebranded unit. *Virgin Schallplatten GmbH was the German subsidiary of Virgin Records. It was consolidated into EMI Germany (which is now part of Universal Music Germany). *The Dutch branch of Virgin became independent from (then) parent company Ariola in 1984, although Ariola kept distributing and marketing Virgin's output until it was taken over by EMI in the early 1990s (which also meant the end of Virgin's independent status in the Netherlands). In the late 1990s Virgin launched the Top Notch label which became famous for its Dutch hip hop and rap artists. With Universal's acquisition of EMI in 2012, Virgin became part of the Universal Music Group Netherlands. *Virgin France was founded in 1980 and It was the first international division of Virgin Records, in 2002 it merged with EMI Music France and continued as an imprint, until it was consolidated into EMI France, which has been renamed Parlophone and sold to
Warner Music Group Warner Music Group Corp. (commonly abbreviated as WMG and simply referred to as Warner Music) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multi ...
, just like the divisions in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and Sweden. Universal (who retained Virgin's trademark in France) would later revive Virgin France as an imprint of Mercury Records' French division in 2016; its first artist, Etienne Daho, was one of Virgin France's biggest artists before Warner's acquisition. *Virgin Japan has had three incarnations: **The first was founded in 1987, Virgin Japan, as a wholly owned Virgin subsidiary. In 1989, following the investment by the Fujisankei Communications Group in Virgin Records, a new Virgin Japan company was established focused on domestic repertoire and run by Pony Canyon, the record company of Fujisankei. After EMI's purchase of Virgin in 1992, this incarnation of Virgin Japan was renamed Media Remoras, and it closed in 1997. ** The second incarnation was part of Toshiba-EMI, and had three sublabels: Virgin Domestic, Virgin Tokyo, and Virgin DCT (exclusive to releases from the band Dreams Come True (band), Dreams Come True). All three were folded in 2004 into the label Virgin Music, which was folded into EMI Records Japan in 2013 after its merger with Universal. It should, however, be noted that international Virgin releases were previously handled in Japan by Toshiba-EMI themselves prior to the 1987 establishment of the first incarnation of Virgin Japan. ** The third incarnation, Virgin Music (JPN), was founded as a sublabel alongside EMI Records in 2014 by Universal Music Japan . It was formed after the merger of EMI R, which was renamed Virgin Records, and Delicious Deli Records. * The Brazilian division of Virgin started in 1996 by EMI Music, EMI Music Brasil with artistic direction by Rick Bonadio, with artists like Surto, Charlie Brown Jr. and Tihuana, and existed from 1996 to 2001, when it was absorbed by EMI, and in 2012 by Universal.


See also

*List of record labels *
Virgin Group Virgin Group Ltd. is a British multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state ...
*Virgin Records artists


References


External links

*
Virgin A&R team contact listOfficial Virgin Music BlogOfficial Virgin Music News Channel
as well as th
international
an
Canadian branches
{{Authority control Virgin Records, Record labels established in 1972 1972 establishments in the United Kingdom British record labels Rock record labels Pop record labels IFPI members EMI Labels distributed by Universal Music Group Record labels based in California Companies based in Los Angeles