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Interscope Records

Interscope Records
Parent company Universal Music Group
a subsidiary of Vivendi S.A.
Founded 1989
Status Part of Interscope Geffen A&M Records
Distributor(s) Universal Music Distribution
Polydor Limited
Genre Hip hop, rock, pop, various
Country of origin United States
Location Santa Monica, California
Official website

Interscope Records, Inc. is an American record label that operates as an imprint of Interscope Geffen A&M Records. It was founded in 1989 by Jimmy Iovine as a Hip hop label, which was then half-owned by Atlantic Recording Corporation, until it was fully acquired by the Music Corporation of America, Inc. in 1995 over a contention in Gangsta rap.

Since 1999, the label is one of Universal Music's most transcendent labels and operates as the most active under Interscope Geffen A&M Records subsidiary, which is headquartered in Santa Monica, California. The label's current artists include Eminem, Dr. Dre, Fergie, Phillip Phillips, Maroon 5, Kendrick Lamar, Madonna, Lana Del Rey, Schoolboy Q, OneRepublic, U2, Imagine Dragons, Zedd, and Lady Gaga, among others.

Interscope became the number-one charting label based on Mediabase, and also with the largest label share on over four radio formats, with Adult Contemporary being their largest share of the formats.[1]


1989–95: Beginnings and MCA, Inc

Interscope Records was founded in 1989[2] by Jimmy Iovine and Interscope Communications' Ted Field with financial support from Atlantic Records, which owned a 53% stock in the label. Initially, it was distributed by the Atlantic Records subsidiary EastWest Records America. A&R Executive Tom Whalley, John McClain and producer Beau Hill A&R Joe Lee Jozwiak were also part of the original founding team. The label's first release was Mo' Ritmo by Gerardo.

MCA Inc. acquired Atlantic's stake in the label in 1995 due to controversy over gangsta rap, a genre that Interscope championed.

1999–present: Interscope Geffen A&M, Jimmy Iovine and John Janick

The original focus of the label was on hip-hop and urban music, but by the mid 1990s its range began to expand, to where its roster would be as wide ranging to include the industrial rock artist Nine Inch Nails under Nothing Records, Marilyn Manson, Limp Bizkit, No Doubt, Bush and later the Latin artist Kings Of Flow in a unique partnership with Los Angeles-based indie Latin label.[3]

Following UMG's acquisition of PolyGram in 1998, Geffen Records and A&M Records were merged into Interscope, which formed Interscope Geffen A&M Records in January 1999. In 2001, the company began to distribute a short-lived record label named JCOR Entertainment. In 2004, DreamWorks Records was merged into the Interscope Geffen A&M Records group bringing over artists including Blink-182, The All-American Rejects, Papa Roach, Rise Against, Nelly Furtado, Lifehouse, AFI, Jimmy Eat World and Rufus Wainwright. The artists were divided between Interscope and Geffen, with most going to the latter. In 2005 Interscope launched a new imprint called Cherrytree Records, for emerging artists. This began with the group The Lovemakers and later included Far East Movement, Feist, Natalia Kills, Flipsyde, Tokio Hotel, and Robyn. Lady Gaga is with Interscope, but no longer with Cherrytree as of 2011. LMFAO and Mindless Behavior are also part of the Interscope Records Major Hits.

In May 2007 Interscope announced a joint-venture partnership with Justin Timberlake to create a new recording label called Tennman Records, with the first artist being Esmee Denters.

In 2011, Interscope signed Madonna and Van Halen. Both artists' albums were released in 2012. Both artists were also formerly signed to Warner Bros. Records[4]

On November 8, 2013, it was announced that Interscope Promotion Veteran Greg Marella left the department and became Executive Vice President of promotion at Sony Music's Kemosabe Records, which is headed by Dr. Luke.[5]

On May 13, 2014, Pasquale Rotella's partnered with Interscope Geffen A&M to create Insomniac Records a new EDM imprint, the first artist signed to the label is DJ Arty (Artyom Stolyarov).[6]

On May 28, 2014, Jimmy Iovine, announced that he has stepped down as CEO and Chairman of Interscope Records, a statement on John Janick taking, he said, "John Janick has exactly what it takes to lead Interscope Geffen A&M: he started his own label, he understands the art of making records and the unique dynamic between a record label and artist, as well as the enormous responsibility that comes with representing one of the greatest artist rosters ever assembled." Since the Beginning of May, Janick has been leading the label fully without Iovine. Due to Apple, Inc. acquiring Beats Electronics LLC, Iovine will be joing Apple. Before his job at the Interscope Department, he worked at Fueled By Ramen, a Warner Music Group label.[7]

On October 7, 2013, it was announced that Interscope Geffen would acquire the A&M/Octone label through a purchase of Octone Records' 50% interest. It was eventually completed in late 2014 thus making Interscope Records take all of the artists from both the A&M and Octone labels.[8]

On December 14, 2014, former Disney Channel-actress Selena Gomez signed a recording contract with Interscope, her last material with Disney-owned Hollywood Records, For You, was released on November 24, 2014.

After recently terminating their contract with Chicago rapper Chief Keef, they signed a recording contract with female rapper Dreezy on December 31, 2014 whom later released a new track "Boss" upon her signage to the label.[9]

Criticisms and controversy

Interscope is known for delaying albums for months or even years. In late 2011, rapper 50 Cent engaged in a feud with Interscope stating that "not everyone is not committed to releasing my new album", referencing his yet-to-be-released, fifth studio album. This album, titled Street King Immortal, was meant to be released in the second quarter of 2013.[10]

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor criticized Universal Music Group for its pricing and distribution plans of Year Zero in Australia. When he asked why it was so much, they replied, "You've got a core audience that's gonna buy whatever we put out, so we can charge more for that [...] True fans will pay whatever."[11] After the release of Year Zero Remixed, two Nine Inch Nails albums, Ghosts I-IV and The Slip, were distributed by Reznor's independent record label The Null Corporation. Nine Inch Nails has recently signed with Sony Music Entertainment via Columbia Records.

Elton John

About his album The Captain & the Kid (2006), Sir Elton John explained to Cameron Crowe:

Legal issues

In September 2011, it was reported by Federal prosecutors that the Interscope Geffen A&M Records building was used by drug-trafficking ring as a transport center for baggages full with cocaine and cash, according to a report in the The Smoking Gun published Thursday. The allegation was later mentioned in a letter that contained evidence against James "Henchman" Rosemond who was the CEO of Czar Entertainment and manager of rapper The Game, who was indicted on 18 felony charges that week for his role in a drug trafficking ring. Rosemond was being held without bail inside Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center.[13]

The Drug Enforcement Administration inspected the year-long case and stated that the Los Angeles offices of Interscope Records were used for pickups and deliveries of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in 2010 and 2011. Rock-It Cargo, a shipping company which has an immense list of musical clients, shipped music cases that allegedly contained drugs to New York City studios. Prosecutor Todd Kaminsky claimed that the documents were "specifically referencing pickups and deliveries at … Interscope Records" and a recording studio on Manhattan's West Side. The Smoking Gun also caught that the road manager for The Game, who records for Interscope, was also implicated in Rock-It Cargo's records.[14]

According to the warrant, road cases containing cocaine would arrive at music studios in New York City for sale by Rosemond's workers. The cash proceeds would then be loaded in the cases and shipped back to Los Angeles. They used the alias "Peter Davis" for shipping and renting studios. After a road case was seized in early 2011, Rosemond allegedly switched to using automobiles with hidden compartments to ship drugs. It was also reported that Khalil Abdullah, a Rosemond associate who then pleaded guilty to narcotics trafficking and obstruction of justice charges, struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors. In 2010, Abdullah tipped DEA agents that a case containing nearly $800,000 was about to be shipped to Los Angeles from New York, which they then caught and seized.[15]

However, after these allegations, Interscope Geffen A&M has responded and denied the claims stating, “Interscope Records has been informed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York that there is no evidence that any employee of UMG or Interscope Records had any involvement in the drug trafficking ring being prosecuted by that office, nor any knowledge of the contents of any of the packages that were purportedly shipped to its offices. Further, neither UMG nor Interscope Records are a subject or target of the investigation. UMG and Interscope will continue to cooperate with the United States Attorney’s Office regarding this matter”[16]


In 2012, rapper Eve blamed Interscope for delaying her much-anticipated fourth album, Lip Lock. The album was delayed in approximately 6 years, being announced in 2007 but released only in 2013.[17][18]

Azealia Banks

Rapper Azealia Banks announced her debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, for a September 2012 release with Interscope and Polydor. However, the album was subject to multiple delays and was eventually released on 9 November 2014 through Prospect Park. The first single, "Yung Rapunxel", was also delayed in 2 months.[19] She has stated on her tumblr:

In January 2014, Azealia slammed Interscope on her Twitter, stating:

Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment

On March 15, 2015, rapper Kendrick Lamar's third studio album and second album for Interscope, To Pimp a Butterfly, was released on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play eight days ahead of its scheduled release date (March 23). According to the CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment, Anthony Tiffith, the album's early release was unintentional, apparently caused by an error on the part of the label.[22]

Tiffith blamed Interscope over Twitter for the unexpected release, in which, the tweet was then deleted. He said:

On the following day, the option to purchase the album was removed from iTunes and the release date was reverted to March 23. On March 16, 2015, the album was digitally released a week ahead of the original schedule. The first short-lived, accidental release might have been the reason for the early release.[24] It did, however, debut at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 for a total of two weeks; with first-week sales of 363,000 copies, streams and singles accounted for (324,000 copies of traditional album sales).[25][26] It gave the rapper his first number-one album in his career.

Associated record labels under Interscope Records

Former associated labels under Interscope Records


See also


  1. ^ "Mediabase - Year End Edition 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  2. ^ "Interscope Records, Inc.: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ Halperin, Shirley (2012-02-08). "Jimmy Iovine on Sound, Vision and Why He Signed Madonna and Van Halen (Q&A)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  5. ^ "Interscope Promotion Vet Greg Marella Joins Dr. Luke's Kemosabe Records". The Hollywood Reporter. 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  6. ^ "Pasquale Rotella's Insomniac & Interscope Geffen A&M Launch New Imprint (Exclusive)". May 13, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ "John Janick to Succeed Jimmy Iovine as Chairman, CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M". Billboard. 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Dreezy signs with Interscope". 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Interscope Delays Major Releases". American Songwriter. 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  11. ^ Q & A with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Herald Sun. Accessed January 6, 2009
  12. ^, ″Elton John: My Life in 20 Songs″, interview with Cameron Crowe, October 24 issue
  13. ^ "Cocaine Ring Used Music Label To Ship Drugs Feds: "Pickups and deliveries" made from Interscope". The Smoking Gun. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (16 September 2011). "Feds: Drug Ring Used Major Record Label's Offices". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  15. ^ "Interscope Offices Used by Cocaine Ring, Federal Documents Say". Billboard (Billboard). Billboard Staff. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "Interscope responds to drugs network claims". Complete Music Update (Complete Music Update). CMU Editorial. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  17. ^ [2][dead link]
  18. ^ Harling, Danielle (2009-02-05). "Eve To Return With New Album | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  19. ^ "Azealia Banks: 'New single is a game-changer' - Music News". Digital Spy. 2013-02-17. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  20. ^ "Azealia Banks sick of single delays: 'I miss being unsigned' - Music News". Digital Spy. 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  21. ^ "Drama: Azealia Banks Slams Label / Begs For Sony To Sign Her | ..::That Grape Juice // || Thirsty?". 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  22. ^ "Kendrick Lamar 'To Pimp A Butterfly' Album Leaked By iTunes". Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  23. ^ "AllHipHop >> TDE CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith Blames Interscope For Kendrick Lamar’s Album Leak". 2015-03-15. 
  24. ^ "Update: Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly' Gets Surprise Digital Release". Billboard. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  25. ^ Keith Claufield (March 25, 2015). "Kendrick Lamar Earns His First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  26. ^ Keith Caulfield (April 1, 2015). "Kendrick Lamar Spends Second Week at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Aftermath Entertainment". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Bad Boy Records". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Cherrytree Records". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Singer Tiara Thomas Signs to Division1/Interscope Records". Vibe. 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  31. ^ "J. Cole "Revenge of the Dreamers" Mixtape, Announces Dreamville-Interscope Partnership". Complex. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  32. ^ "Quincy Jones". Quincy Jones. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  33. ^ "Shady Records". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Streamline Records". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Tennman Records". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  36. ^ " Music Group". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Zone 4". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  38. ^ "A&M Octone Records". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  39. ^ "DreamWorks Records - CDs and Vinyl at Discogs". 2010-07-21. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  40. ^ "Death Row Records (2) - CDs and Vinyl at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  41. ^ "G-Unit Records". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Trauma Records (2) - CDs and Vinyl at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-03-18. 

External links