WWE Music Group

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WWE Music Group
WWE Music Group logo.jpeg
Parent companyWWE
Founded2003
FounderVince McMahon
Distributor(s)TuneCore, Sony Music
GenreVarious
Country of originUnited States
Official websitewwe.com/inside/wwemusic

WWE Music Publishing, Inc.;[1][2][3] trade name WWE Music Group, LLC., is an American record label funded and operated by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It was manufactured and co-marketed by Columbia Records and was distributed by Sony Music.[4][5] The label specializes in compilation album of the WWE wrestlers' entrance themes, often by contributing performing artists, but also releases titles that have been actually performed by the wrestlers themselves, including the various-artists album WWE Originals and John Cena's You Can't See Me.

Historically, most WWE entrance themes have been created by Jim Johnston since the 1980s,[6] while in recent times, themes have been written or performed by John Alicastro and Mike Lauri,[7] known collectively as CFO$ from 2014 to 2020.[8]

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

The series of WWE (WWF) produced albums began in 1985 with The Wrestling Album.[9] The album contained the song "Land of a Thousand Dances", recorded by a majority of the WWF roster at the time (including Roddy Piper, Jesse Ventura, and Randy Savage). The locker room would later reconvene for the song's music video.[9]

Later in 1993, WrestleMania: The Album was released, but it failed to chart on the Billboard 200. By 2002, however, it had sold a total of 91,000 copies.[9]

Format change and success[edit]

The format of the wrestling albums changed in 1996, as the focus went from the wrestlers themselves singing to a compilation of various wrestlers' entrance themes.[9] WWF Full Metal: The Album was the first album released with the new focus, and included the Monday Night Raw theme "Thorn in Your Eye" by Slam Jam, a supergroup composed of members of metal bands Anthrax, Savatage, Pro-Pain, and Overkill.[9] In October, the album reached No. 184 on the Billboard 200 and by 2002, had sold 173,000 copies.[9] This new format proved to be a success. The follow-up album, WWF The Music, Vol. 2, which was released two years later, spent sixteen weeks on the chart and sold over 480,000 copies.[9]

WWF The Music, Vol. 3 and WWF The Music, Vol. 4, released in December 1998 and November 1999 respectively, each sold over one million copies.[9] In particular, Vol. 3 reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200, spent thirty weeks on the chart, and sold over 1.21 million copies.[9] The album reached position No. 4 in its début week, stayed on the charts for twenty weeks, and sold over 1.13 million copies.[9]

On March 21, 2000, the company worked with Priority Records to release a hip hop music album titled WWF Aggression,[10] which involved rappers such as Snoop Dogg, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, and Kool Keith, all of whom recorded versions of various wrestlers' entrance themes.[9] This album differed from previous albums, which were more along the lines of rock music.[9] Despite the change, the album still sold approximately 640,000 copies.[9]

In October 2000, WWE announced the launch of the record label under the name SmackDown! Records, with Ron McCarrell as the president.[11][12][13]

In February 2001, WWF The Music, Vol. 5 débuted on the Billboard 200 at position No. 2, spending two weeks in the top twenty and selling 176,000 copies.[9] as well as reaching No. 2 in the UK Albums Chart and No. 5 in the Canadian Albums Chart.[14] The album included an original song by Dwayne Johnson.[9] By 2002, Vol. 5 had sold 640,000 copies.[9] In September 2001, the WWF Tough Enough album sold 138,000 copies.[9]

In May 2001, WWE signed their first act, the heavy metal band Neurotica,[15] and released their third album in June 2002,[16] the only non-wrestling related album released on the label so far, before they disbanded.

In 2002, WWF Forceable Entry sold 145,000 copies in its first week to enter the Billboard 200 at position No. 3.[9][17] It was the fourth consecutive WWE album to début in the top ten of the Billboard 200.[17] Forceable Entry also débuted on the Billboard Hard Rock Albums Chart.[17] The album included music from Creed, Our Lady Peace, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Kid Rock, Drowning Pool, Rob Zombie, Sevendust, and Saliva.[18][19] Later in the year, WWE Anthology was certified platinum after just 10 days of release.[20]

As of March 2006, WWE officially announced the launching of the "WWE Music Group" under the management of Neil Lawi,[21][22] who not only maintains the label but selects songs to be used on television and pay-per-view events, and regularly scouts new talent to showcase via WWE.[23] Within two months of operation, the newly restructured label had an album reach the top 10 of the Billboard 200 when WWE Wreckless Intent, with songs by artists such as Motörhead, Three 6 Mafia, P.O.D., and Killswitch Engage, reached No. 8.[24][25] In 2007, the label released ¡Quiero Vivir!, the début album of WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia, in conjunction with Universal Music Latin Entertainment.[26]

In 2007, WWE released WWE The Music, Volume 7, the company's first digital-only album, on iTunes,[27] and starting in 2012, WWE began making old albums available through online stores, starting with the first five "Volume" albums released from 1995 to 2001.[28]

On April 20, 2013, the entrance theme of wrestler Fandango reached No. 44 in the UK Singles Chart,[29] after briefly being close to the Top 10 in the mid-week charts.[30] Following the NXT Arrival show on February 27, 2014, WWE released singles of eight NXT wrestlers created by CFO$,[31] and it was followed in May by the music video and single of Tyler Breeze.[32]

On November 30, 2017, it was reported that Jim Johnston's contract with the WWE had expired and that the company had released him after more than thirty-two years of employment.[33][34]

Disputed issues[edit]

Composer James D. Papa filed a lawsuit against the WWE Music Group, Michael Hayes, and Jim Johnston in July 2012 over the use of the music from World Championship Wrestling, citing redirected royalty payments to several wrestling related songs he either wrote or co-wrote by securing the rights to music unlawfully. Along with the defendants of the case were long with VE Newco LLC, the parent company of Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment (distribution of WWE DVD and Blu-rays), Yuke's (WWE video games), and Take-Two Interactive (who owns the WWE video game license after THQ filed for bankruptcy in January 2013) were added in September 2013.[35]

The filing noted that the two sides resolved their issues following an alternative dispute resolution conference because there are a number of WWE Network versions of list of NWA/WCW closed-circuit events and pay-per-view events using all 11 songs from the Slam Jam CD that were placed on the Network, replacing versions of the PPV that had edited out the original music. A similar lawsuit brought against the company by Harry Slash & The Slashtones and Roderick Kohn over the rights to original music used by Extreme Championship Wrestling that WWE had been using during the Invasion was resolved with a settlement that saw WWE purchase the catalogue outright in January 2005 along with the assets in 2003 in bankruptcy court.

The case was then settled in court on May 5, 2014, before the March 23, 2015, trial date. However, WWE has again denied any wrongdoing and claimed that since Papa "consented to use" of his music in WCW and World Class Championship Wrestling broadcasts, and subsequently, WWE would have the rights to his material since they acquired the copyrights lawfully. WWE also said that the music in the World Class documentary would be "fair use" and that Papa did not have any copyright for the "clone song" that Johnston created, so any claim against that song should be thrown out.[36]

In other media[edit]

Discography[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Album Release date Tracks Notes
The Wrestling Album 1985 10
Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II 1987 10
WrestleMania: The Album July 1993 10
WWF Full Metal: The Album 1996 14 Reissued outside North America as WWF Champions: The Album – Full Metal Edition in 1996
WWF The Music, Volume 2 November 18, 1997 15
Hits of the World Wrestling Federation: We Gotta Wrestle 1997 15 Alternate version of Volume 2 released outside the United States
WWF The Music, Volume 3 December 29, 1998 14
WWF The Music, Volume 4 November 16, 1999 14
WWF Aggression February 29, 2000 13 Featured songs by commercial artists performing themes
WWF The Music, Vol. 5 January 12, 2001 14
WWF Forceable Entry March 26, 2002 18 Last album sold under the WWF banner
WWE Anthology November 20, 2002 86 Three-disc compilation
WWE Originals January 13, 2004 17 Original songs recorded by wrestlers
ThemeAddict: WWE The Music, Vol. 6 November 15, 2004 16 Released with a bonus DVD featuring entrance videos
WWE Wreckless Intent May 23, 2006 15
WWE The Music, Vol. 7 March 16, 2007 21 Download only
RAW Greatest Hits: The Music December 18, 2007 19
WWE The Music, Vol. 8 March 25, 2008 (US)
March 24, 2008 (UK)
14
Voices: WWE The Music, Vol. 9 January 24, 2009 (Australia)
January 27, 2009 (US)
April 13, 2009 (UK)
13
WWE The Music: A New Day, Vol. 10 January 28, 2010 14 .
Stone Cold Steve Austin: The Entrance Music EP June 13, 2011 4
Hall of Fame 2012 – The Music March 25, 2012 16
WWE The Music: The Beginning July 16, 2012 80
WrestleMania – The Music 2013 April 1, 2013 23
SummerSlam – The Music 2013 August 16, 2013 20
The Federation Era April 1, 2014 23
The Music of WCW April 1, 2014 60
WrestleMania – The Music 2014 April 7, 2014 62
The Music of the WWE Network April 14, 2014 8
Total Divas: The Music March 6, 2015 12
WWE Tough Enough: The Music June 22, 2015 3
WWE: Undertaker – From the Vault March 20, 2016 21
WWE: Uncaged December 16, 2016 16
WWE: Uncaged II March 17, 2017 16
WWE: Uncaged III August 21, 2017 16
WWE: Uncaged IV November 20, 2017 12
WWE: Uncaged V August 20, 2018 14
WWE: Uncaged VI October 26, 2018 14
WWE: Uncaged VII January 25, 2019 13
WWE: Uncaged VIII May 17, 2019 13
WWE: Uncaged IX August 9, 2019 21
WWE: Uncaged X October 4, 2019 25
WWE: Uncaged XI January 31, 2020 12
WWE: Uncaged XII April 3, 2020 14
WWE: Uncaged XIII August 21, 2020 15
WWE: Uncaged XIV November 20, 2020 53
WWE: Uncaged XV February 7, 2021 25

Single-artist albums[edit]

Album Tracks Release Date Notes
Neurotica
(Neurotica)
11 June 25, 2002[16]
You Can't See Me
(John Cena & Tha Trademarc)
17 May 10, 2005 (US)
May 30, 2005 (UK)
¡Quiero Vivir!
(Lilian Garcia)
12 October 9, 2007 Joint release with Universal Music Latino
A Jingle with Jillian
(Jillian Hall)
7 December 11, 2007
Walk with Elias
(Elias)
4 July 22, 2018
Universal Truth
(Elias)
4 October 26, 2020

Soundtrack albums[edit]

Album Tracks Release Date Notes
Legendary (Music From the Motion Picture)
(James Alan Johnston & Various Artists)
26 September 28, 2010
Knucklehead (Music From the Motion Picture)
(James Alan Johnston and various artists)
26 November 2, 2010
The Chaperone (Music From the Motion Picture)
(James Alan Johnston and various artists)
21 February 18, 2011
Inside Out (Music From the Motion Picture)
(James Alan Johnston and various artists)
22 September 8, 2011
The Reunion (Music From the Motion Picture)
(Jim Johnston and various artists)
31 October 20, 2011
WWE 2K15: The Soundtrack
(Various Artists)
10 October 21, 2014 Released through Atlantic Records.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/World_Wrestling_Entertainment_(WWE)/Subsidiaries_World_Wrestling_Entertainment_Inc[dead link]
  2. ^ http://www.wrestlenewz.com/wwe-news/songwriter-files-lawsuit-against-wwe-over-unauthorized-use-of-wcw-theme-music/
  3. ^ https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1091907/000095013099005812/0000950130-99-005812.txt[bare URL plain text file]
  4. ^ "Columbia Records Enters Into New Agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc". Sony Columbia Records. December 4, 2007. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  5. ^ "WWE Music Group profile in discogs".
  6. ^ Ali, Reyan (April 3, 2013). "The Man Who Writes WWE Wrestlers' Theme Music Is a James Taylor Fan". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  7. ^ "Biography: John Alicastro & Mike Lauri". Wind-up Records. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  8. ^ "WWE.com feature on the CFO$".
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Basham, David (April 5, 2002). "Got Charts? Wrestling With WWE LPs". MTV. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  10. ^ "WWE Entertainment and Top Hip-Hop Artists Team Up For Aggression: 13 rap versions of the official WWE Superstar themes". WWE. March 16, 2000. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  11. ^ "SmackDown! Records: WWE Entertainment Launches New Record Label with Ron McCarrell Named President". WWE. October 10, 2000. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  12. ^ Lisi, Clementine (October 7, 2000). "WWE to Smack Down Own Label on Records". New York Post. Retrieved July 9, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "WWE launches own record label". Slam Sports. October 6, 2000. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  14. ^ "WWE The Music: Volume 5 CD Debuts at NO. 2 on Billboard Top 200". WWE. March 1, 2001. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "SmackDown! Records Announces The Signing of Neurotica and The Release of New Album". WWE. July 16, 2001. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  16. ^ a b Taylor, Jason D. (June 25, 2002). "Neurotica – Neutorica". AllMusic. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  17. ^ a b c "WWE Forceable Entry Debuts At no.3 On Billboard Top 200". Business Wire. April 4, 2002. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  18. ^ "Hard Rockers Square Off On 'WWE Forced Entry'". Billboard. February 8, 2002. Retrieved July 9, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Rock's Hottest Stars Get Down & Dirty on WWE Forceable Entry CD Featuring Creed, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Drowning Pool, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Sevendust, Saliva, & Others". Sony Columbia. March 4, 2002. Retrieved July 9, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "WWE Anthology hits Platinum 10 days after shipping". WWE. November 25, 2002. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  21. ^ "WWE Launches the WWE Music Group, Neil Lawi named General Manager". WWE. March 27, 2006. Archived from the original on March 19, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2008.
  22. ^ "WWE enters the ring with music venture". New Zealand Herald. March 27, 2006. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  23. ^ High, Kamau (June 15, 2008). "Music a key element in WWE brand profile". Reuters. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  24. ^ Hoffman, Brett (May 31, 2006). "Wreckless Intent debuts in Top 10". WWE. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  25. ^ Hillhouse, Dave (June 6, 2006). "Wreckless Intent – Silly title, good CD". Slam Sports. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  26. ^ "WWE and Universal Music Latino release Lilian Garcia's "Quiero Vivir"". WWE. September 24, 2007. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  27. ^ Dee, Louis (April 3, 2007). "iTunes and WWE team up again". WWE. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  28. ^ ""WWE: The Music, The Beginning" released digitally". WWE. July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  29. ^ "WWE – Chachalala (Fandango)". Official Charts Company. April 20, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  30. ^ "Fandango's catchy entrance music shoots up the iTunes charts". WWE. April 10, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  31. ^ "The music of WWE NXT". WWE. March 5, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  32. ^ Rueter, Sean (June 6, 2014). "Tyler Breeze world premiere music video from WWE NXT (June 5, 2014)". CageSide Seats. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  33. ^ "Legendary entrance music composer Jim Johnston released by WWE". Daily Mirror. December 2, 2017.
  34. ^ "WWE Release Jim Johnston". December 2017.
  35. ^ "WWE: Breaking News, Rumors & Highlights".
  36. ^ "WWE: The Latest on James D. Papa's Lawsuit over WCW Music".
  37. ^ "John Cena's Theme Song is Now Being Used to Sell Toyota Camrys". September 4, 2017.
  38. ^ "CFO$ on Instagram: "As gamers and hockey fans, it's an honor to be featured in #NHL17 with our track #BreakAway 🏒🏆 #CFOS #WWE #NHL #OttawaSenators 🇨🇦 #GoalSong"". www.instagram.com. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved July 19, 2018.

External links[edit]