RCA/Sony Closes Arista, Jive and J Records

Posted October 10, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in News

Sad news for Jive and Arista after closing announcement is released from parent company RCA

RCA, the second oldest music label in the U.S., is making some major transitional moves, after announcing the closings of three of their most famous imprints, including Arista and Jive.

The announcement was made on Friday (Oct 7, a smart trick to avoid major news headlines, but the world eventually spread on network blogs and online news resources. Arista, launched in the late ‘70’s by Clive Davis, was home to major best-selling artists including Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Usher and Barry Manilow. Jive was home to Britney Spears, N’SYNC, Backstreet Boys and Justin Timberlake and was at the cornerstone of pioneering rap with acts like DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and Whodini.

J Records, Clive Davis’s aftermath label after leaving Arista, will also be dissolved of, with artists like Alicia Keys, Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson now scrambling at RCA’s mercy.

In terms of consolidation, their demise was likely a fait accompli when Sony acquired RCA in.

Much of the crisis circulates around RCA’s need to revive the parent name; thinking that the other imprints are killing the brand.

“The business just grew too fast in the ’70s and ’80s,” explained veteran music industry pr man David Salidor.

“New artists abounded and the industry capitalized on the migration of record collections from vinyl and cassettes to compact discs. In those days, every major had literally dozens of custom-labels. Sure, it was ego to a big extent, but the model gave labels like Jive the flexibility and independence to find and develop artists,” he added.

So when the labels ballooned and started overstaffing in the midst of a dying industry and the digital revolution, label cuts and down-sizing was on the rise.

COO Tom Corson says this is part of a plan to “refresh RCA,” but that theoretically the labels could come back down the line.

On a more positive note, the artists from Arista and Jive will move to RCA/Sony in the meantime. No word yet if any of the artists will be dropped, excepy for Season 9 American Idol winner Lee DeWyze, who was cut as of October 6. According to a memo released by Sony, the big changes will not affect the Arista Nashville label, or the other three country music labels that are under the Sony Music Nashville umbrella: RCA, Columbia and BNA.

So what do you think?
Do you think more subsidiaries will be closing by the end of the new year?
What will happen to the bundle of recent American Idol winners? Are they at stake?
Speak your mind.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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