Interscope Records

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Interscope Records
Interscope logo.png
Parent company Universal Music Group
a subsidiary of Vivendi S.A.
Founded 1989
Distributor(s) Universal Music Distribution
Polydor Limited
Genre hip hop, rock and pop
Country of origin United States
Location Santa Monica, California
Official website

Interscope Records is an American record label. An imprint of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, its parent company is the Universal Music Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Vivendi S.A..

Interscope was founded in 1989 by Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field as a $20 million joint venture with Warner Music's Atlantic Records. Due in part to controversy over gangsta rap releases on the label, Atlantic sold its stake back to Interscope in 1996. In February of that year, MCA Music Entertainment Group acquired 50% ownership.[1][2] (MCA Music Entertaniment Group was later renamed Universal Music Group.)[3]

Interscope is headquartered in Santa Monica, California. The label's best-selling artists include Madonna, Eminem, and U2.


Interscope Records was founded in 1989[4] by Jimmy Iovine and Interscope Communications' Ted Field with financial support from Atlantic Records, which owned a 53% stake 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.

Iovine signed Tupac Shakur to a recording contract as one of the first Hip Hop acts on the Interscope label and released his debut album "2pacalypse now" in 1991. Iovine was also responsible for providing distribution, initial funding and financial oversight for the highly successful Death Row Records hip hop label in the early to mid 90's which operated as a subsidiary of Interscope, and was largely responsible for Interscope's initial platinum selling chart successes throughout the decade, which later launched the company into greater success in the 2000's with platinum artists like Eminem and Lady Gaga.

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

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.[5]

Following Seagram 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 2000, 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[6]

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. The transaction was completed in late 2014. A[7]

In May 2014 Iovine resigned as chairman and CEO of Interscope after the company he founded with Dr. Dre, Beats Electronics, was acquired by Apple. John Janick, previously Interscope's COO (and the founder of Fueled By Ramen) was subsequently named chairman and CEO of the label.[8][9]

Recent signings[edit]

On December 14, 2014, former Disney Channel-actress Selena Gomez signed with Interscope. She had previously been signed to Hollywood Records. They signed rapper Dreezy later in December. [10]

British synthpop trio Years & Years have their material distributed by Interscope in the USA as they are signed to Polydor in the United Kingdom.

In July 2015, AlunaGeorge signed with Interscope. In August, Cherrytree/Interscope signed Canadian singer Coeur de Pirate.[11]

Criticisms and controversy[edit]

50 Cent[edit]

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.[12]

Nine Inch Nails[edit]

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."[13] 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.

Sir Elton John[edit]

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

Legal issues[edit]

In September 2011, it was reported by federal prosecutors that the Interscope Geffen A&M Records building was used by a drug-trafficking ring as a transport center.[15] 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.[16] [17]

Interscope Geffen A&M responded to the claims with a statement that read: “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.”[18]


In 2012, rapper Eve blamed Interscope for delaying her much-anticipated fourth album, Lip Lock. The album was delayed for approximately 6 years. It was announced in 2007 and released in 2013.[19][20]

Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg Entertainment[edit]

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.[21]

Tiffith blamed Interscope over Twitter for the unexpected release. The tweet, which was later deleted, 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.[23] 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).[24][25] It gave the rapper his first number-one album in his career.

Associated labels and imprints[edit]

Formerly associated labels and imprints[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hilburn, Robert and, Phillips, Chuck (October 24, 1993). "They Sure Figured Something Out : Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field have broken all the rules at Interscope Records". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Fabrikant, Geraldine (February 22, 1996). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS;MCA Agrees to Buy Stake In Interscope Record Label". New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Trakin, Roy (June 19, 2003). "A Brief History of MCA Records". Hits Daily Double. Hits Magazine. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  4. ^ "Interscope Records, Inc.: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "John Janick to Succeed Jimmy Iovine as Chairman, CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M". Billboard. 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  9. ^ Sisario, Ben (May 28, 2014). "Jimmy Iovine, a Master of Beats, Lends Apple a Skilled Ear". New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "Dreezy signs with Interscope". 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  11. ^ Geslani, Michelle (14 July 2015). "AlunaGeorge signs with Interscope, announces North American tour". Conseqence of Sound. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  12. ^ "Interscope Delays Major Releases". American Songwriter. 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  13. ^ Q & A with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Herald Sun. Accessed January 6, 2009
  14. ^, ″Elton John: My Life in 20 Songs″, interview with Cameron Crowe, October 24 issue
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (16 September 2011). "Feds: Drug Ring Used Major Record Label's Offices". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "Interscope Offices Used by Cocaine Ring, Federal Documents Say". Billboard (Billboard). Billboard Staff. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "Interscope responds to drugs network claims". Complete Music Update (Complete Music Update). CMU Editorial. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  19. ^ [2][dead link]
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ "Kendrick Lamar 'To Pimp A Butterfly' Album Leaked By iTunes". Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  22. ^ "AllHipHop >> TDE CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith Blames Interscope For Kendrick Lamar’s Album Leak". 2015-03-15. 
  23. ^ "Update: Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly' Gets Surprise Digital Release". Billboard. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  24. ^ Keith Claufield (March 25, 2015). "Kendrick Lamar Earns His First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  25. ^ Keith Caulfield (April 1, 2015). "Kendrick Lamar Spends Second Week at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Aftermath Entertainment". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Bad Boy Records". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Cherrytree Records". Interscope Records. Retrieved December 30, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Singer Tiara Thomas Signs to Division1/Interscope Records". Vibe. 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  30. ^ "J. Cole "Revenge of the Dreamers" Mixtape, Announces Dreamville-Interscope Partnership". Complex. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  31. ^ "Pasquale Rotella's Insomniac & Interscope Geffen A&M Launch New Imprint (Exclusive)". May 13, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  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[edit]