History

1811


Chappell & Co. opens for business on London’s Bond Street as a shop for sheet music and musical instruments.

1819


Ludwig Van Beethoven sends a letter to a friend praising Chappell & Co. as "one of the best publishers" in the business.

1925


Warner Bros. Studios purchases exclusive rights to the Vitaphone, allowing them to synchronize music and effects to silent film.

1929


Louis Drefus acquires Chappell & Co. beginning a period of rapid expansion for the company.

Jack Warner founds Music Publishers Holding Company to acquire music copyrights for use in films.

1947


Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson found Atlantic Records.

1950


Jack Holzman founds Elektra Records.

1951


Word Records founded by Jarell McCracken as one of the first companies in the contemporary Christian music.

1953


Jerry Wexler joins Atlantic Records.

1958


Jack Warner founds Warner Bros. records as a soundtrack factory for Warner Bros. movie studios.

1960


Warner Bros. gets its first No. 1 hit, Bob Newhart’s Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart.

Frank Sinatra founds Reprise Records and names Mo Ostin to lead it.

1963


Warner Bros. and Reprise merge.

1964


Jac Holzman founds Nonesuch Records as a licensee of classical music.

1966


Seymour Stein and Richard Gotterher found Sire Productions, which is later renamed Sire Records.

1967


Seven Arts buys Warner Bros. Studios, renames itself Warner-Seven Arts acquires Atlantic Records.

Seven Arts Records of Canada established.

1969


Steve Ross’s Kineey National Co. acquires Warner Seven Arts.

1970


Elektra and Nonesuch become part of Kinney National.

Kinney National becomes Warner Communications and forms WarnerElektra-Atlantic (WEA Corp.), the first major music distribution company in the U.S., marking the origins of the Warner Music Group.

1971


Nesuhi Ertegun forms WEA International, forming the basis of WMG’s international division; WEA Australia and WEA Japan are created followed by WEA Germany, WEA France and WEA Canada.

David Geffen founds Asylum Records.

1973


Warner purchases Asylum Records.

WEA International opens offices in New Zealand.

1976


WEA International enters Latin America.

1978


WWG acquires half of Sire Records.

WEA International opens offices in Southeast Asia.

1980


Roadrunner Records is launched in the Netherlands.

WMG acquires Site Records in full.

1981


Randy Thornton and Mike Dowdle form Non-Stop Music, a music production library business, in Salt Lake City.

1983


Rykodisc founded by Arthur Mann, Rob Simonds, Doug Lexa and Done Rose.

1986


WEA creates WEA Manufacturing, its first `CD manufacturing plant.

1987


Warner Communications acquires Chappell & Co., createsWarner Communications acquires Chappell & Co., creates Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, at the time the world’s largest music publisher.

Warner Communications merges with Time Inc. to from Time Warner.

WEA Latina renamed Warner Music Latina.

1992


Rhino and Atlantic from worldwide distribution agreement.

1993


Alternative Distribution Alliance founded.

1998


Rhino acquired by WMG.

2000


WMG offers a library of digital downloads in the U.S. and Canada for the first time.

2001


WMG acquires Word Entertainment.

WMG begins selling its music through iTunes.

2002


WMG becomes the first major music company to deliver a comprehensive wireless music service using a leading wireless provider platform.

WMG sell its first MP3 downloads through AOL.

2003


Time Warner announces the sale of WMG to a private investment team led by Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

WMG partners with Sprint to create comprehensive streaming music service.

WMG sells WEA Manufacturing to Cinram International.

Warner Music offered a library of digital downloads in the UK.

2004


WMG launches industry-leading environmental initiatives, which were rebranded “WMGreen” in 2008.

WMG acquisition closes.

WEA became Warner Bros. UK.

Warner Music began selling its recorded music through iTunes in the UK.

2005


WMG listed in the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker WMG.

Elektra founder Jac Holzman forms Cordless Recordings, one of the industry’s first online-only labels, and rejoins EMG as a special advisor to the Chariman.

2006


WMG purchases Ryko Corporation and forms Independent Label Group with the mission of empowering labels and artists in the independent music community.

ADA has its first release in the UK.

2007


WMG Announces it will begin selling DRM-free music through Amazon.com’s MP3 Music store.

WMG enters joint venture with Sinatra family to form Frank Sinatra Enterprises.

WMG enters joint venture with Sinatra family to form Frank Sinatra Enterprises.

WMG purchases majority stake in Japanese management firm Taisuke.

WMG acquires a majority stake in Roadrunner Records. Warner/Chappell acquires production music production library company, Non-Stop Music.

Fortune magazine names WMG one of Americas “Most Admired Companies.”

2008


Atlantic Records recognized in the New York Times as the first records label to achieve more than 50% of its music sales in the U.S.from digital products.

WMG partners with two other major labels and MySpace to form the MySpace Music joint venture.

Warner Music makes its complete music catalogue available DRM-free through 7digital. Other major retailers followed.

2009


Fast Company magazine names WMG one of the world’s “50 Most Innovative Companies.”

Warner Music makes Vodafone customers the first to have 100% major label coverage for DRM-free over-the-air downloads.

Fast Company magazine names WMG one of the world's "50 Most Innovative Companies".

2010


WMG celebrates the 60th anniversary of Elektra Records.

In Q4 2010, WMG announces that new revenue streams (digital and non-traditional businesses) made up 40% of company revenue, up from essentially zero in 2004.

The percentage of expanded rights deals for WMG's active global recorded music roster passes 50% for the first time.

2011


Access Industries, Inc. acquires WMG for $3.3billion.  As a result WMG becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Access and is no longer publicly-traded on the NYSE.

2013


WMG acquired the Parolophone Label Group, which is comprised of the historic Parolophone, Chrysalis and Ensign labels in the United Kingdom, EMI Classics and Virgin Classics and the EMI operating companies in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.