"defunct" as a somewhat derogatory term for labels?


#1

Hi! I’ve been told that “defunct” (which we use for all labels that no longer operate) has a connotation of “went bankrupt” or “went out of business” (as in a bad way), which is not what we’re hoping to indicate here. Is this actually the case, and if so what would be a better wording?


#2

Hmm, I’d disagree: “defunct” is a neutral term meaning “no longer functioning”. It has no “bad” connotations beyond its literal meaning that I’m aware of (as a native English speaker).


#3

This link says “in a business context, refers to the condition of a company, whether publicly traded or private, that has gone bankrupt and ceased to exist”. Of course, later it says “Companies may also become defunct as a result of merger and acquisition activity, in which their operations, personnel, brands and trademarks are rolled into the acquiring company”, but I must admit the article looks mostly grim :smiley:


#4

I’d take a dictionary definition over an online trading site

I’ve always just read it as Blue Parrot material - it has ceased to be.

That second part of your quote shows that “bankrupt” is only one of many ways that a company stops using a name. I think that business site is trying to talk within just their own specific context. As I read the page it starts with a sharp definition, but then opens that out to cover many other more usual cases.

To me defunct just means it came to some kind of natural end after a long time. Ceased Functioning.


#5

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#6

In the business world, very few businesses are allowed to “just disappear” because they are fictitious organizations. You almost have to go bankrupt even if the bankruptcy filing shows $0 of debt. It is just a formal way of announcing the end of business.


#7

How dare you disagree with my dictionary definition. Outside… now. Duelling pistols at dawn! [/sarcasm]

You are sooooo right on your comment. Made me laugh. Discussion and debate are so old fashioned - now it is “agree with me or else”. :grin:

We need a poll:

  • I agree that defunct is wrong
  • Never trust a businessman
  • The sky is blue

0 voters

Defunct is such a nice clean snappy little word. To me it sums things up neatly. The label has gone for one of many possible reasons.

What other words have been proposed? Or was this businessman just complaining without coming up with any sensible alternative.

I like puzzles like this… and it got me having a quick look. And I think that businessman is the only one who thinks it means “bankrupt”. His definition seems to be the narrowest reading around.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/defunct
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/defunct
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/defunct

Other words to use?
https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/defunct


#8

How about ’ ended '?


#9

If a label goes out of business because George Clinton left…

… they’d be defunkt!


#10

Who exactly might take offense to this?

Corporations don’t have feelings, after all, and even if they did the ones we’re talking about no longer exist!


#11

In this specific case, a worker from a small label that got acquired and felt that “defunct” made it sound like the small label had failed instead (and made the founders look bad).


#12

Maybe it already exists, but I don’t do much with labels, so I don’t know…
But I do like the idea of some sort of “merged with” option. That way we keep people aware that, as example, it was a private company before 1969 when it was became part of a larger label.


#13

I would definitely be in favor of a “merged into” or “acquired by” or “became part of” AR. The last one seems the best/most general purpose phrasing: “merged into” suggests a joining of equals, while “acquired by” seems too specific.

As for how to rephrase ‘defunct’, how about “ceased operations”? Although that doesn’t quite seem to fit if the facts are more that they “continued operations as a division/brand/operation of a larger organization”.


#14

No, in that case they’d be d-void of funk. Now if they went under because Joseph Bowie left, then they really would be defunkt.


#15

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#16

Given the addition of an AR (as proposed above) to indicate that the label was acquired by or otherwise rolled into a different label (including cases where they "rebranded, including a new LC; I don’t think we handle those purely via aliases, I believe), perhaps this could just be improved in the UI.
When the status is “defunct” (which still sounds perfectly fine to me), and such an AR is present, show (a form of) that AR link in place of the “defunct”. If there’s more than one such AR, maybe show the oldest or newest (they’ll still all be present on the Relationships tab, so the specific choice does not matter).


#17

A label that is no longer active is “dormant”. Would that wording be better ?

Be aware that we have labels for companies and otherd for imprints, distributors, holdings, etc.

The term needs to apply to all.

NB: I think I prefer “ended” like someone said in the thread…


#18

Dormant makes it seem as if they could come back.