The Difference Between Asylum, Atlantic and Warner Brothers

25 11 2008


atlantic_recordsbmpI learn alot about the URBAN music industry from blogs and actual testimony from people that are in it and live it.  (Shout out to Tracey @ Chopper City) .  So i came across this blog entry @ Word of I’m not sure who its written by.  I want to give him his due, but man.  The entry is really informative.  It describes the difference between Asylum, Atlantic and Warner Brothers.  They are all the same company but have different breakdowns.  Check it out below.

A lot of people who visit my site are often confused about the relationship between Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, and Warner Bros. Records, since some of Asylum’s artists such as Paul Wall and Webbie have had the Atlantic Records logo on their albums. Well, let me try my best to explain this to you all to where it will make sense. First, let me give you a brief history on Asylum Records. Asylum Records has been around for a long time, since 1971 to be exact. However, it did not focus on Urban/Hip-Hop until 2004, when it the label was revamped into an urban music-based label independently managed by Warner Music Group (WMG). In 2006, WMG shifted Asylum to operate solely as an independent. Some of Asylums more known artists are Lil Boosie, Mike Jones, Webbie, Paul Wall, Shawty Lo, Bun B, and C-Murder. Asylum Records is an incubator to Warner Music Group and WMG operates as the parent label to Atlantic Records and Warner Bros. Records. Asylum works with independent labels that are currently buzzing regionally and help them take their records nationally. The label has a much smaller staff than Atlantic and Warner and it really helps the label when it comes to working with the acts signed to their labels. If an artist on Asylum who gains enough radio spins and the executives at the label believe that the album has legs for two or three singles, then the project potentially can be up-streamed to either Atlantic or Warner. This is what happened to Paul Wall where he was up-streamed and his album “The Peoples Champ” was released in conjunction with Atlantic Records and went on to go platinum. The same thing happened with Mike Jones and his platinum album “Who is Mike Jones?,” which was released in conjunction with Warner Bros. With some projects, Atlantic will provide help to Asylum with things that they can provide a bigger scale to. For Webbie’s last album, “Savage Life 2,” Atlantic came in and handled the radio campaign with his hit single “Independent.” Everything else with the project was strictly handled by the Asylum staff. I asked Theda Sandiford (Theda dotcom LLC) whom is an independent contractor of Asylum Records why Atlantic will not take on more Asylum artists and she told me that it all begins with the artist, the labels that they are on, and its supporting cast. Most of the artists that are on the Asylum roster are signed to independent labels such as Rap-A-Lot Records, Trill Entertainment, SwishaHouse, and D4L Records. The foundation is laid with those independent labels and then they team up with Asylum to construct the biggest situation possible for that specific artist at the time. Atlantic rarely takes a shot on an unproven artist especially when they invest lots of money in their artists, so Asylum artists need to show and prove before they receive help from the larger company. “Atlantic has a lot of Hip-Hop on their roster, so an Asylum act has to really have a great song and work ethic to break through and get up-streamed status,” says Theda. Atlantic rarely takes shots on unproven commodities, but Warner is less willing to do so, but that is not due to them not believing in Asylum. “Warner Bros doesn’t have as much Hip-Hop, but they are heavy on the rock side of things, so a certain crossover project would make more sense for them,” Theda explained to me when asked why they do not take on more artists. Mike Jones is the only artist on Asylum’s roster to be up-streamed to Warner. A factor that also weighs into the decisions on whether Atlantic or Warner takes on an Asylum artist is their current release schedule. If they already have a heavy workload of Hip-Hop acts to come out in a timeframe, then it would not make business sense for Asylum to up-stream one of their artists to one of the two labels because it would receive less attention being that they are not one of the labels artists. Theda also went on to explain to me that even though there are a lot of perks for starting out on Asylum well and moving up to Atlantic or Warner when their album is released, if that artists project does not perform up to par they can be down-streamed back to Asylum Records.




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