Columbia Records (also known simply as Columbia) is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment (SME), a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, Inc., the United States division of Sony Corporation. It was founded in 1887, evolving from an earlier enterprise named the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, being the second major record company to produce recorded records. Columbia Records went on to release records by an array of notable singers, instrumentalists, and bands. From 1961 to 1990, its recordings were released outside the U.S. and Canada by the CBS Records label (which was named after the Columbia Broadcasting System) to avoid confusion with the EMI label of the same name, before adopting the Columbia name internationally in 1990. It is one of Sony Music's three flagship record labels alongside RCA Records and Epic Records.
Until 1989, Columbia Records had no connection to Columbia Pictures, which used various other names for record labels they owned, including Colpix Records, Colgems Records, Bell Records and later Arista Records. Rather, as above, it was connected to CBS (which stood for Columbia Broadcasting System), a broadcasting media company which had purchased the company in 1938, and had been co-founded in 1927 by Columbia Records itself. Though Arista Records was sold to Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), it would later become a sister label of Columbia Records through its mutual connection to Sony Music. Both Columbia Records and Columbia Pictures are connected through their parent company Sony Corporation of America, which is the parent of both the music and motion picture arms of Sony in the United States.
Artists that have recorded for Columbia Records include, but are not limited to, AC/DC, Bob Dylan, Celine Dion, David Bowie, Harry Styles, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Pink Floyd, Tony Bennett, Roger Waters, Adele, Barry Gibb, Beyoncé, Susan Boyle, Billy Joel, Calvin Harris, Depeche Mode, Daft Punk, David Gilmour, Destiny's Child, John Mayer, Little Mix, One Direction, Pharrell Williams, Robbie Williams and System of a Down.
The Columbia Phonograph Company was founded in 1887 by stenographer, lawyer and New Jersey native Edward Easton (1856–1915) and a group of investors. It derived its name from the District of Columbia, where it was headquartered. At first it had a local monopoly on sales and service of Edison phonographs and phonograph cylinders in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Delaware. As was the custom of some of the regional phonograph companies, Columbia produced many commercial cylinder recordings of its own, and its catalogue of musical records in 1891 was 10 pages. Associated Artists