JMusic Glossary: Record Labels

file - 10.22.2008 08:00

All the big names dedicated to bringing you Japanese music.

We all know how important record labels are to a recording artist. Here are a few labels that are fairly well known to the business, as well as a few that are lesser known but no less important.

A-ZAP RECORDS - created in 1997 by Melt Banana. They are the only band under the label, which they primarily use to release their older albums.

AOZORA RECORDS - owned by Clear Sky Corporation. Established in 2000 for Hitomi Yaida's independent release, Howling, in the Kansai region. Artists under the label include SATOMI' and Hitomi Yaida.

Avex Entertainment Inc. - also known as Avex Trax, Avex Group and Avex. One of the larger record labels in Japan. Produces artists such as Koda Kumi, Hamasaki Ayumi, BoA and more.

CLJ Records - record label in Europe that has released Jrock CDs.

Columbia Music Entertainment - artists under the label include Bahashishi and Kimura Kaela.

DANGER CRUE RECORDS - part of the MAVERICK DC GROUP. Started with only 44MAGNUM under the label, but now hosts bands such as ROACH, EARTHSHAKER and NANIWA EXP.

Free-Will - independent record label in Japan that manages Jrock/visual kei artists, also has a branch in America.

Gan-Shin - record label in Europe that exclusively signs Jrock artists, also organizes concerts.

J-Storm - linked to Johnny's & Associates and releases CDs of Arashi, KAT-TUN and Hey! Say! Jump. J-Storm is also the label for any DVD release by a Johnny’s group.

Johnny's Entertainment - label owned by Johnny's & Associates. Responsible for CD releases of KinKi Kids, NEWS and Shounentai as well as those of special one-off units such as Toraji Haiji and Shuji to Akira.

PS COMPANY - well known independent label that represents many popular visual kei bands.

Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. - also known as SMEJ, major record label. Artists on the label include Orange Range, Mika Nakashima, Soul’d Out, L’Arc~en~Ciel, UVERworld, etc.

Teichiku Entertainment - famous label for enka artists, including Ishikawa Sayuri and operatic superstar Akikawa Masafumi. Johnny's 'enka' group, Kanjani8, are also tied to Teichiku.

Tofu Records - the U.S. record label of Sony Music Japan, known for signing L’Arc~en~Ciel. Also brought artists (e.g. L’Arc~en~Ciel and T.M. Revolution) over to the States. Closed.

Undercode Production - a record label started by Phantasmagoria bassist Kisaki, which evolved from his previous label Matina and is known for bands such as Vidoll and 12012.

UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP - one of the four major music labels of the world. Japanese artists under the label include mihimaru GT, WaT, miyavi and The Birthday.

VAP - short for Video Audio Project, part of the NTV Corporation. The label boasts a wide variety of artists such as nightmare, Pay money To my Pain and CANTA.


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