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Jive Records (1977)

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  Summary  

Jive Records was a record label based in New York City, operating under RCA Music Group. Jive was primarily known for a string of successes with hip hop artists in the 1980s, and in teen pop and boy bands in the late 1990s. The word "jive" was inspired by Township Jive, a form of South African music and dance. Jive operated as an independently managed label until 2002 when Bertelsmann Music Group acquired the remainder of Zomba for US $2.74 billion, which was at the time the largest-ever acquisition of an independent label with major-label distribution.

  Biography  

 Inception
Zomba, Jive's parent company, was formed in the mid seventies as a publishing and management company on Willesden Street in London and their first client was a young Mutt Lange. Initially, co-founders Ralph Simon and Clive Calder wanted to stay away from record labels, choosing to focus on their songwriters and producers while allowing other established labels to release the material. Later in the seventies, Zomba opened offices in the United States where Calder began a business relationship with Clive Davis, whose Arista Records began releasing material by Zomba artists. Arista had been having trouble pushing rock acts in the US, and Clive Davis had hoped that with Zomba's Mutt Lange connection, the newly formed Jive would fill that role. However, Calder had other ideas. In 1981, Jive began operations by releasing British dance and pop music such as Q-Feel, A Flock of Seagulls and Tight Fit.

 R&B and Hip Hop in the 1980s
By 1982, Calder was introduced to a young college graduate named Barry Weiss who, for his job interview with Zomba, took Calder out to hip-hop and black clubs all over New York City. Calder was immediately impressed and together they began grooming musicians for what would eventually become Whodini. After two days, the group created and recorded "Magic's Wand" which turned into a hit single. While the group would eventually leave Jive after a few albums, the early success allowed the label to focused on hip-hop artists throughout eighties. At a time when the record establishment wouldn't touch "ghetto" music like rap, a white South African successfully marketed some of the edgiest black music.

In 1987, Jive cut distribution ties with Arista, freeing them from the authority of Davis, who was known to be opposed to hip hop at the time. As the 1980s drew to a close, Jive went on to sign a plethora of hip-hop acts, including Too $hort and Schoolly D. By the early nineties, Jive had become a premiere label in the genre of hip-hop, thanks to the success of acts such as Whodini, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, E-40, A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One/Boogie Down Productions, and R&B acts R. Kelly and Aaliyah.

 1990s and Onward
By the late 1990s, despite its reputation for dealing heavily in hip-hop, Jive signed pop acts Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, and Britney Spears—all of whom achieved massive success as the 2000s dawned, and would become the three best-selling acts in the label's history. In 1991, Barry Weiss became CEO and president of Jive Records. In 2010 they introduced a new up and coming artist named Braxton, with and urban vibe and newer hip-hop style it caused him to die down into the industry.

After two decades, Barry Weiss left Jive in March 2011 for Universal Music Group.

The company was later restructured with some Jive artists moving to a restructured Epic Records, while others stayed with Jive as it moved under the RCA Music Group.

 Dissolution
On October 7, 2011, it was announced that Jive, along with Arista and J Records would be shuttered. All artists on those labels were moved to RCA Records.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Jive Records", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.