Capitol Records Nashville is a major United States-based record label located in Nashville Tennessee operating as part of the Capitol Music Group. Capitol Nashville was formerly known as Liberty Records from 1991 until 1995 when it was changed back to Capitol. In 1993 Liberty opened a sister label, Patriot Records, but it was closed in 1995. In 1999 EMI launched Virgin Records Nashville but by 2001 Capitol absorbed the short-lived label. Capitol Nashville remained a stand- alone label until 2010 when it launched EMI Nashville.
Capitol Nashville is also home to several successful comedy artist’s who remain on their roster today. On March 23, 2011, Alan Jackson signed with Capitol’s EMI Nashville division in conjunction with his own ACR Records label. In late 2012 Capitol Records Nashville became part of the Universal Music Group after a merger between EMI and UMG.
EMI Records Nashville was formed in 2010 and served as a sister label to Capitol Records Nashville it’s flagship artist was Troy Olsen other artist’s signed to EMI include Eric Church and Alan Jackson which is a shared agreement with his own ACR Records. UMG acquired EMI in 2012 EMI is currently a part of the Universal Music Group along with sister label Capitol Records Nashville.
MCA Nashville started out as the country music division of Decca Records in 1945, founded by Paul Cohen in New York. In 1947, Cohen hired Owen Bradley as his assistant working in Nashville. The country music division moved to Nashville in 1955 as much of the country music recording business was locating there. Bradley succeeded Cohen as head of Decca’s Nashville division in 1958 and developed Decca into a country music powerhouse. Decca Nashville was renamed MCA Nashville in 1973.
In 1979, MCA Nashville absorbed the country music roster (including Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell and The Oak Ridge Boys) and back catalogue of ABC Records including the Dot Records catalogue. In the early 1980s, MCA Nashville signed Reba McEntire (who departed the label in late 2008) and George Strait, two of the greatest selling artists of all time and the mega stars on the record label.
In the 1990s MCA Nashville briefly revived the Decca label for country music releases, but it was shut down after Universal Music absorbed PolyGram and chose to reserve the Decca name for classical music releases. While Decca resumed issuing country music in February 2008, the current Decca country music department has no connection with UMG Nashville. However, MCA Nashville continues to reissue past country releases from Decca, as well as those on the Kapp label.
With the absorption of MCA Records into Geffen Records in 2003, MCA Nashville is now, along with UMG’s unit in the Philippines, the only units of Universal Music to still use the MCA name.
The still active Mercury Records was formed in Chicago in 1945 issuing recordings in a variety of genres including country music. The Nashville office of Mercury began as a joint venture between Mercury and “Pappy” Daily’s established country music record label Starday Records in January 1957. In July 1958, the Mercury/Starday joint venture was dissolved and Starday record producer Shelby Singleton stayed on with Mercury in Nashville, becoming head of Mercury’s Nashville office by 1961. Singleton left Mercury in 1966 to form his own company which bought Sun Records in 1969.
In 1997, PolyGram, which owned Mercury, consolidated all its Nashville operations under the Mercury name. When PolyGram was purchased by Universal Music Group in 1998, the resulting record label consolidations left Mercury under the The Island Def Jam Music Group umbrella making Mercury in the USA dormant until recently, but still active internationally. The consolidations in Nashville which created UMG Nashville kept the Mercury Nashville imprint active.
Reissues of country music recordings first issued on the MGM, Polydor, and other former PolyGram labels bear the Mercury Nashville imprint (with some exceptions).