Century Media Records

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Century Media Records
Century Media logo.png
Parent company Sony Music Entertainment (Sony)
Founded 1988
Status active
Distributor(s) RED Distribution (U.S)
Sony Music (worldwide)
Genre Heavy metal, extreme metal, hard rock, punk rock
Country of origin Germany
Location Dortmund (Germany) (headquarters), Hawthorne, California
Official website centurymedia.com

Century Media Records is a rock music record label with offices in the United States, Germany and London. In August 2015, Century Media was acquired by Sony Music Entertainment for US$17 million.[1]


Century Media was founded by Robert Kampfi and Oliver Withöft in Dortmund, Germany in 1988 and has gone on to launch the careers of bands such as Architects, Butcher Babies, Diecast, Divine Heresy, Eyehategod, God Forbid, Iced Earth, In This Moment, Lacuna Coil, Moonspell, Nevermore, Shadows Fall, Suicide Silence, Warbringer, and Winds of Plague. The label specializes in many different styles of heavy metal music.[2] A number of artists listed are licensed to Century Media for the American market from labels mostly based in Europe. Century Media is also home to Arch Enemy, Napalm Death, and Queensrÿche.

The label's most popular band is Lacuna Coil. Shadows Fall experienced its greatest success during its time with the label. Iconic hardcore punk band Sick of It All also resides in the Century Media family. Lacuna Coil's 2002 album, Comalies, became Century Media's first act to crack the Billboard 200 album chart, peaking at No. 178 two years after its release. Their fourth album, Karmacode, improved on that achievement, having sold over 490,000 copies since its release, and peaking at No. 28 on the US Billboard Album Chart. It hit number one on the Top Independent Albums Chart. Shadows Fall's 2004 album, The War Within, set a new milestone for the label with a Top 20 debut on the Billboard 200 and also debuted at number one on the Independent Albums chart, having sold over 300,000 copies since its release. Other notable artists on the label that have also made appearances on the Billboard 200 include In This Moment, Arch Enemy, Stuck Mojo, Nightrage, Behemoth, Strapping Young Lad, Suicide Silence and God Forbid. The Finnish band Sentenced were awarded on August 14, 2008 for their platinum Buried Alive DVD labelled by Century Media. In April 2009, the label announced that they were extending their existing distribution deal with EMI, who had been distributing their releases in the United States since 1997, and in Europe since 2005, to include Australasia. Since being bought out by Sony Music in August 2015, the label's releases will be distributed worldwide by Sony Music while RED will be distributing the label's releases in the U.S.[3]

Century Black[edit]

During the mid to late 1990s, Century Media had a label offshoot called Century Black, which served to be the "Miramax Films" of black metal, releasing or re-releasing hard-to-find black metal albums that normally would be near impossible to find in America (usually released under smaller labels such as Malicious Records or Candlelight Records). By 2000 the Century Black label was discontinued, seeing as more than a few bands under that label either moved on to other labels, changed their musical direction, or became part of the actual "Century Family".

Abacus Records[edit]

Abacus Records was an imprint of Century Media created in 2002, signing mostly metalcore bands. On July 24, 2007, it was reported that Abacus Records had shut down.[4]

Spotify controversy[edit]

In August 2011 Century Media decided to pull all of their acts from Spotify, an online music streaming service, citing this as "an attempt to protect the interests of their artists". Metal blog MetalSucks[5] criticized Century Media in a post, which was later replied to by the label in an email.[6] On July 30, 2012, Century Media Records made their entire catalog available on Spotify again after "impressive debates and messages from fans" and discussions with Spotify.[7]

Death of Oliver Withöft[edit]

On January 21, 2014, it was reported that co-founder Oliver Withöft had died after a long period of illness. Tributes were paid to him by Monte Connor, head of US A&R for Nuclear Blast Records, Nachtmystium's Blake Judd and Sumerian Records publicist George Vallee (a former employee of Century Media), among others. He is survived by his wife Judith and their 3 daughters.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/is-this-the-next-big-major-label-acquisition/
  2. ^ CMR Statement (Accessed July 15, 2007)
  3. ^ "CENTURY MEDIA Extends EMI Deal Down Under". idiomag. 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  4. ^ "Abacus Recordings shuts down". Lambgoat. July 24, 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Neilstein, Vince (August 8, 2011). "CENTURY MEDIA PULLS OUT OF SPOTIFY, BURIES HEADS IN THE SAND". Metal Sucks. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Neilstein, Vince (August 9, 2011). "CENTURY MEDIA RESPONDS TO SPOTIFY UPROAR: VINCE RESPONDS TO CENTURY MEDIA". Metal Sucks. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "CENTURY MEDIA Artists back on SPOTIFY". Blabbermouth.net. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Ryan J. Downey. "Oliver Withöft, Century Media Records Co-Owner, Dies Aged 49". Retrieved 21 February 2014. 

External links[edit]