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A record company is

an entity that invests in, produces, and markets sound recordings of musical works, and distributes such sound recordings for remuneration through multiple sales channels, including a corporate affiliate of such an entity engaged in distribution of sound recordings.[1]


The record industry (also called the recording industry) is the part of the music industry that earns profit by selling sound recordings of music. In the early years of the phonograph in the late 19th century, the music industry was dominated by the publishers of sheet music. With the start of the 20th century the importance of recorded sound grew, and at about the end of the first World War, records supplanted sheet music as the largest player in the music business. Since that time the music business has largely been dominated and controlled by the record industry, as the economics of mass-production of copies allow the manufacture of sound recordings for a tiny fraction of their sale price.


  1. 17 U.S.C. §115(e)(26).

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