Big Machine Label Group

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Big Machine Label Group owns a couple different labels.
They each have different names, so there really is no confusing one with the other (except for Big Machine Records being confused with the parent company).

But MB has listings like “Big Machine Label Group” and “Big Machine Label Group LLC”, and “Big Machine Records” and “Big Machine Records LLC”.
And there are 3 variations of the Valory brand.

Is there a reason why they are separate, or should I merge?

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Please add links to the labels, and I’ll have a look and try to help.

Big Machine Label Group - (the parent company)

Big Machine Records

Valory Music Co.

These are also brands owned by the parent company, but I believe that these are their only listings.

OK, I wouldn’t recommend merging any of these right now, although I understand why you might want you. There are a couple of unresolved issues with the way we handle labels that are relevant here.

  1. Many of the releases on these labels are from iTunes. iTunes releases often list a holding company (such as Big Machine Records, LLC) as the copyright holder. There’s disagreement as to whether such holding companies should be used to fill out the release label field, they often are, but this complicates things as holding companies are not used as release labels on physical releases. There’s a ticket STYLE-563 related to this.

  2. If some of these labels are merged there would be some data loss, for example if you merged Big Machine Records, LLC into Big Machine Records the “LLC” part would be lost. Also see this thread for prior discussions on this issue.

So I expect some of these labels may be merged at some point in the future, but I wouldn’t do it right now.

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I don’t think copyright holders and imprints should be merged, even if we got “artist credits” for labels in MBS-8948.

To provide an example I’m more familiar with, see “Sony Music Records” (formerly “Sony Music Records Inc.”…), a Japanese label group. They are nice enough to provide a banner image on their Twitter account with their current 6 flagship labels - - which include things like “Sony Records” and “gr8! Records”. Their release labels are mutually exclusive, meaning that a release wearing “gr8! Records” would not wear “Sony Records” and vice-versa. However, the typical sound copyright holder on the releases from these 6 labels is always “Sony Music Records” (formerly “Sony Music Records Inc.”). Clearly there’s no way to merge the “company name” with an “imprint”, because then you’d also be merging 6 different labels (imprints) into 1.

So if “Big Machine Records, LLC” happens to hold copyrights on any releases which don’t wear the Big Machine Records imprint, then the same problem applies.

The only unambiguously correct application of MBS-8948 I can think of would be to vary the legal status of the company’s name. e.g.,

  • “Sony Music Records Inc.” used to be a standalone company. Because it is currently a division of Sony Music Labels Inc., its name no longer includes “Inc.”
  • Universal Music Japan’s actual current legal name is Universal Music LLC (ユニバーサル ミュージック合同会社). Previously, its legal name was Universal Music K.K. (ユニバーサル ミュージック株式会社). (There are English articles in Wikipedia: K.K.; LLC)

(Coincidentally, these MB Labels are currently merged.)

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And that gets a little more technical than I was asking, and it then crosses over into an entirely different situation ----

Valory Music LLC is not the label putting out music, Valory Music is doing that.
Valory Music LLC could “rent” their holdings(aka, copyright) to K-Tel, Rhino, or Time Life if they chose. That does not make them a label, Rhino would be the label.

So, by your example, we should be removing Valory Music LLC as the label simply because they are not labels. But we should not merge them with Valory Music because they are two separate entities.

*Please note, I used Valory Music, because Big Machine Label Group does own Big Machine Records, Big Machine Publishing, and BMLG Records — I just wanted to keep any confusion to a minimum.