Rhino Entertainment

Rhino Entertainment

infobox record label
name = Rhino Records

parent = Warner Music Group
founded = 1978
founder = Harold Bronson
Richard Foos
distributor = Atlantic Records (In the US)
WEA International (Outside the US)
genre = Various
country = US
url = [http://www.rhino.com/ Official Web site of Rhino Records]

Rhino Entertainment Company is an American specialty record label and production company, owned by Warner Music Group.

Company history

Rhino was originally a novelty song and reissue label in the 1970s and 1980s, releasing compilation albums of Pop Music, Rock & Roll, and R&B hits from the 1950s through the 1980s. They were also known for releasing retrospectives of famous comedy performers, including Richard Pryor, Stan Freberg, Tom Lehrer, and Spike Jones. Starting in the late 1980s, Rhino transitioned into a full-fledged entertainment unit specializing in home video/DVD re-issues of television shows such as "The Transformers", "G.I. Joe", "Jem", "The Lone Ranger", "My Favorite Martian", and "Mystery Science Theater 3000", and compact disc releases of select artists and movie soundtracks.

Rhino started as a record shop in 1973 by Richard Foos. It became a record label five years later thanks to the effort of then-store manager Harold Bronson. Their early releases were mostly novelty records (with their first single being Wild Man Fischer's "Go To Rhino Records") and some punk rock singles; the difficulties involved in getting airplay and distribution for such material eventually caused Foos and Bronson to take the label in other directions. One of their earliest reissues was by acquiring the rights to the White Whale label including The Turtles. By the mid-1980s most of their releases were reissues of previously released recordings licensed from other companies. Superior sound quality (remastering of the original tapes was done under the direction of Bill Inglot) and creative packaging made Rhino one of the most respected reissue record label getting rave reviews from music collectors, fans, and historians. Rhino was quick to get into the Compact Disc market, releasing dozens of oldies CDs at the dawn of the CD age in 1984. Their retrospective compact disc releases are often remastered to restore or improve upon the original analog release's audio quality.

After they were pioneering reissues in rare or first-time stereo, Rhino and Inglot moved from stereo to mono reissues. Overnight, Rhino, once known for the label that had all of rare stereo became 'the label that reissued hits in mono', angering a lot of stereo collectors.

They also continued to produce new music, with releases on subsidiary labels such as RNA (Rhino New Artists) and Forward, as well as the main Rhino label. However, the labels' artists tended to generate more critical acclaim than public interest. One of Rhino's early artists was The Twisters whose Los Angeles popularity far exceeded their album sales. For the most, sales totals in the low five figures or less were routine for Rhino-produced albums, and the less costly, less risky reissue business remained the company’s primary revenue stream. One exception was the late-1986 hit "At This Moment" by Billy Vera & The Beaters, a 1981 song that unexpectedly made it to the top of the U.S. Billboard charts after being featured in a 1986 episode of the hit NBC-TV series Family Ties. In 1986, Rhino signed a six-year distribution agreement with Capitol Records. In 1989 Rhino and Capitol’s parent EMI made a deal to jointly acquire Roulette Records; Rhino received the US rights to Roulette's catalog, excluding jazz. When the distribution deal with Capitol ended in 1992, Rhino signed a new distribution deal with Atlantic Records, and in turn Time Warner bought a 50% stake in the record company. In 1998, Time Warner bought the other half of Rhino; thus the company became a wholly owned unit of Time Warner and, in 1999, it formed the Rhino Handmade imprint of limited edition reissues.

It is through this merger that the label has released remastered editions of collections from such musicians as Fanny, The Ramones, The Grateful Dead, Emerson, Lake and Palmer,The Beach Boys, Yes, The Doobie Brothers, The Cars, Chicago, Tom Paxton, The Doors, War and most recently The Bee Gees; as well as soundtracks spanning the Turner-owned pre-1986 MGM and pre-1948 Warner Bros. periods, as well as WB's own post-1948 period. Rhino's soundtrack releases include "Gone with the Wind", "The Wizard of Oz", "Easter Parade", "North by Northwest", "Casablanca", "King Kong", "Doctor Zhivago", "Superman", and "Finian's Rainbow".

Rhino also owns the rights to The Monkees’ master tapes and film footage (which they acquired from Raybert Productions in the late 1980s), and thus has released home videos and CDs from the group. Rhino even does its music deals with Viacom.

In 2003, longtime Rhino executives Richard Foos and Harold Bronson left Rhino, reportedly due to frustration at being unable to release compilation albums in an increasingly-competitive market. Soon after, Foos inaugurated a new label, Shout Factory, which began releasing dozens of CDs and videos mirroring the original early-1990s Rhino philosophy.

In 2004, Time Warner spun off its music divisions and today Rhino is part of the newly organized Warner Music Group. Rhino also started the Rhino Handmade division of limited edition releases available primarily from their website. All of these Handmade reissues are limited to about 3000 copies or less and once sold out are not repressed.

In addition to dealing with archive material, the label also manages the US distribution or worldwide production of compilations for more recent Warner acts, including still-active artists such as Enya, New Order, and Chicago.

In May 2007, Warner Strategic Marketing in the UK was dissolved and from its ashes formed Rhino Records UK. The division has two main factions - TV advertised compilations (For example Pure Garage Rewind Back To The Old School) and Catalogue material from the Warner vaults. Led Zeppelin's 2007 release "Mothership" and the soundtrack to the film "Juno" serve as the label's most recent successes.

Similar music companies include Collectables Records, Hip-O Records, Varese Sarabande, and Sony Music's Legacy Recordings, as well as Ace Records of Britain and Bear Family of Germany.

See also

* List of record labels

External links

* [http://www.rhino.com Rhino.com official site]
* [http://www.rhinohandmade.com RhinoHandmade official site]
* [http://www.rhino.co.uk Rhino U.K. official site]
* [http://www.rhino.tv Rhino.tv official video site]

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