Sony Music Entertainment Company History Timeline


The American Record Corporation (ARC) was founded in 1929 through a merger of several record companies.


The company grew for the next several years, acquiring other brands such as the Columbia Phonograph Company, including its Okeh Records subsidiary, in 1934.


In 1938, ARC was acquired by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) under the guidance of the chief executive William S. Paley.


The company was later renamed Columbia Recording Corporation, and changed again to Columbia Records Inc. in 1947.


Columbia's international arm was launched in 1962 under the name "CBS Records", as the company only owned the rights to the Columbia name in North America.


In 1964, the company began acquiring record companies in other countries for its CBS Records International unit and established its own UK distribution outfit with the acquisition of Oriole Records.


By 1966, Columbia was renamed as CBS Records and was a separate unit of the parent company, CBS-Columbia Group.


In July 1967, the first round of capital deregulation authorized foreign ownership of companies in designated industries.

In summer 1967, Harvey Schein (then president of CBS International and later president of Sony Corporation of America) visited Japan to talk to various record companies.


In March 1968, CBS/Sony Records Inc. was born.

In March 1968, CBS and Sony formed CBS/Sony Records, a Japanese business joint venture.

The process of developing the software side of the business had begun in 1968 with the creation of CBS/Sony Records.


In 1971, CBS Records was expanded into its own "CBS Records Group", with Clive Davis as its administrative vice president and general manager.


In 1973, the company was renamed CBS/Sony Inc., and a new head office building was constructed using the profits made in the five years since its founding.


In August 1978 EPIC/Sony Inc. was established followed by CBS/Sony Publishing Inc. in February of the following year.


Ozawa succeeded Ohga as president of CBS/Sony in 1980, and he continued to develop and grow the group of CBS/Sony companies in the years that followed.


To mark its 15th anniversary, the company was renamed the CBS/Sony Group Inc. in 1983.

By 1983, the CBS/Sony Group's success and accumulated earnings were so impressive that the company was able to build factories and invest in the CD format drawing solely on its own resources, without any injection of funds from either Sony Corporation or CBS.


At the end of 1986, under instructions from Morita and Ohga, Michael Schulhof who was then vice chairman of SONAM, began discussions with CBS Chairman William S. Paley, CBS President Laurence A. Tisch, and CBS Records President Walter R. Yetnikoff.


The negotiations, which covered such issues as the price of the acquisition, continued for almost a year before their conclusion in 1987.


The sale was completed on January 5, 1988.

In 1988, the CBS/Sony Group celebrated its 20 year anniversary.


In 1989, CBS Records re-entered the music publishing business by acquiring Nashville-based Tree International Publishing.


Ten years later, it was used again in to develop the MiniDisc, which brought a new personal music medium to the market in 1992.


An example of this synergy can be found in a new venture which emerged in November 1993.


In December 1994, PlayStation was launched in Japan.


Following this initial triumph in Japan, SCE launched the PlayStation in the United States and Europe in the autumn of 1995 under the new leadership of Tokunaka.

In 1995, Sony and Michael Jackson formed a joint venture which merged Sony's music publishing operations with Jackson's ATV Music to form Sony/ATV Music Publishing.


As of May 1996, the accumulated number of PlayStation units sold worldwide had exceeded 5 million forming a true milestone in Sony's sales history.


In August 2004, Sony entered a joint venture with an equal partner Bertelsmann, by merging Sony Music and Bertelsmann Music Group, Germany, to establish Sony BMG Music Entertainment.


CBS Corporation founded a new CBS Records in 2006, which was distributed by Sony through its RED subsidiary.


On August 5, 2008, Sony Corporation of America (SCA) and Bertelsmann announced that Sony had agreed to acquire Bertelsmann's 50% stake in Sony BMG. The company completed the acquisition on October 1, 2008.


On July 1, 2009, SME and IODA announced a strategic partnership to leverage worldwide online retail distribution networks and complementary technologies to support independent labels and music rights holders.


In March 2010, Sony Corp partnered with The Michael Jackson Company in a contract of more than $250 million, the largest deal in recorded music history.


Doug Morris, who was head of Warner Music Group, and later Universal Music, became chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment on July 1, 2011.


Rob Stringer became CEO of Sony Music Entertainment on April 1, 2017.

As of 2017, Davis was still with Sony Music as chief creative officer.


In April 2021, the Brazilian media company Grupo Globo sold its domestic record label Som Livre to Sony Music for an undisclosed amount.

In 2021, Sony agreed to buy Kobalt neighbouring rights division and independent distribution company AWAL, from the Kobalt Music Group for $430 million.

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Zippia gives an in-depth look into the details of Sony Music Entertainment, including salaries, political affiliations, employee data, and more, in order to inform job seekers about Sony Music Entertainment. The employee data is based on information from people who have self-reported their past or current employments at Sony Music Entertainment. The data on this page is also based on data sources collected from public and open data sources on the Internet and other locations, as well as proprietary data we licensed from other companies. Sources of data may include, but are not limited to, the BLS, company filings, estimates based on those filings, H1B filings, and other public and private datasets. While we have made attempts to ensure that the information displayed are correct, Zippia is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of this information. None of the information on this page has been provided or approved by Sony Music Entertainment. The data presented on this page does not represent the view of Sony Music Entertainment and its employees or that of Zippia.

Sony Music Entertainment may also be known as or be related to American Record Corporation (1929–1938) Columbia Records, USA (1938–1957) CBS Records (1957–1991) Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (first incarnation; 1991–2004) Sony BMG Music Entertainment (2004–2008), Sony Corporation of America, Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment Inc and Sony Music Entertainment, Inc.