Music publishers and record labels in the U.S. – additional information
A music publisher protects the copyright of an artist’s composition. They are responsible for ensuring that a songwriter or a composer receives payment when their work is used. Music publishers are often included within a larger record company.
In 2011, there were four major record companies operating in the U.S. They were Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI. EMI held a 5.7 percent market share of record companies, in terms of label ownership when it disbanded in 2012. In comparison, during the same year, Universal held a 23.9 percent market share. Universal continued to dominate the market in the first half of 2014 with a 28.2 percent share. However, more than any other single record company; independent labels have held the largest share of the market since 2011, with their share reaching 35.1 percent in the first six months of 2014.
Independent labels, however, do not dominate the market share of record companies when it comes to album sales. In the first half of 2013, Universal held the biggest market share with 37.7 percent. Sony was ranked second with a 30.38 percent share and Warner, in third, held a 20.79 percent share.
When it comes to the highest-paid female musicians in 2014, the top three record companies are well represented. Beyonce, who is signed to Columbia Records, under the ownership of Sony, who was ranked music’s top earning woman and received an estimated annual income of 115 million U.S. dollars, between June 2013 and June 2014. In second place on the top earner’s list however was Taylor Swift, proving that you don’t need to be signed to one of the leading record companies to be successful. Swift has been signed to the independent record label Big Machine Records since 2006 and under their guardianship, earned herself 64 million U.S. dollars in 2014.