Record labels

Published sound recordings, which are mass-produced for commercial release, normally have printed labels affixed to the surface of the disc, spool or cassette. These labels denote the brand or trade name which the record company uses to market the recording, and also indicate the holder of the recording rights (i.e. the record company). Record companies often market sound recordings under a variety of labels. The different labels are designed to appeal to different sectors of the market, and to promote different types (styles, genres) of recordings. Labels have also been used to indicate pricing levels, e.g. whether a prestigious (expensive) first release or a budget (inexpensive) re-release.

Record labels are also bought and sold by companies, so that over time a particular label (and the recording rights associated with it) may pass through various ownerships.

For sound recordings, it is the record label which is presented as the publisher of a commercially issued (i.e. published) sound recording (see 3.D.2).

Although, not part of the information to be included in Area 3, the record catalogue number (which sometimes includes a prefix and/or suffix) for a published sound recording is inextricably associated with the label name. Record catalogue numbers are given in Area 8 together with the label name in The IASA Cataloguing Rules.