This musical family is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Along with Atlantic Records Group, Warner Bros. Records is one of the flagship label units of Warner Music Group (WMG). Warner Bros. Records encompasses several top US imprints, including Reprise Records, Sire Records, and Warner Bros. Nashville, as well as its own Warner Bros. label. Its stable of pop performers includes Green Day, Linkin Park, and R.E.M., while its country artists include Big & Rich, Faith Hill, and Randy Travis. In addition, it oversees specialty units Nonesuch Records (adult contemporary) and Word Records (Christian music). The Warner imprint was founded in 1958 as an offshoot of the Warner Bros. movie studio.
As part of an executive shake up in 2010, Chairman and CEO Tom Whalley left the company. Producer and music industry veteran Rob Cavallo was named Chairman and Todd Moscowitz (formerly CEO of WMG's Independent Label Group and President of Asylum Records) was named CEO. Warner Bros. Records is hoping the new braintrust can navigate the company through the persistantly dense market and the continuing evolution of music marketing and distribution in the digital age.
Madonna's album Celebration, a career-spanning greatest hits compilation released in 2009, was her last release under Warner Bros. The Material Girl left the record label for a deal with concert-promotion giant Live Nation. (That company became an even bigger giant when it purchased Ticketmaster to become Live Nation Entertainment.) Despite the defection, the company still owns her catalog of recordings from the past 25 years. (Warner and Madonna have ties that go back to 1992, when the two co-founded her record label, Maverick Recording Company.)
In 2008 the company celebrated its 50th anniversary with the release of Revolutions In Sound, a 240-page hard cover book accompanied by a USB flash drive containing 320 recordings (the equivalent of 20 CDs) of notable music from the label.
Originally focused on releasing soundtrack albums, Warner Bros. Records began to expand in the 1960s with albums from the Everly Brothers and Peter, Paul & Mary. In 1963 it acquired Reprise, started by Frank Sinatra two years earlier, and it formed a distribution partnership with Sire (founded in 1966 by Seymour Stein) in 1976. Warner acquired the label outright in 1980.