Atlantic Records

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Atlantic Records (Atlantic Recording Corporation, parent Warner Music Group) is an American record label, and operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

The label was founded in 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Upon its creation, Atlantic was principally a jazz and R&B label, though it also released some country western recordings as well. In the early fifties Ahmet was joined by Jerry Wexler and then Nesuhi Ertegün. From 1955 Nesuhi headed the company’s jazz division and was responsible for major signings such as Charles Mingus and John Coltrane; later Joel Dorn filled this position. Although it began as an independent record company, it became a major player in the music business in the 1960s, with mainstream pop signings like Sonny and Cher. Competing record labels included Columbia Records and rca Records.

The engineer, and later producer, Tom Dowd headed Atlantic’s engineering department. Several sub-labels have been created or acquired since then. Atco Records was started in 1955 by Herb Abramson. Spark Records (the record label of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller) was purchased in November 1955. Others including Lava Records, and 143 Records became part of the Atlantic group. In 1960, Wexler began a distribution relationship between Atlantic and Memphis-based Stax Records. The association with Stax ended in 1968. Atlantic was acquired by Warner Bros.-Seven Arts in 1967. It is currently a large part of the Warner Music Group, a former division of media conglomerate Time Warner that was sold to a group of investors in 2004 for several million dollars. From 1968-1973 rock band Led Zeppelin had a deal with Atlantic Records, then formed their own Atlantic distributed label, Swan Song Records.

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