Arista is an American record label. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment and operates under the RCA/Jive Label Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for CBS Records (which would become Sony Music Entertainment). Currently, the label is a major distributor and promoter of albums throughout the United States and United Kingdom.
After being fired from CBS Records, Clive Davis was hired by Columbia Pictures to be a consultant for the company’s record and music operations. Assuming the presidency of this division in late 1974, Davis would fold the various Columbia legacy labels (Colpix Records, Colgems Records, and Bell Records) into a new entity named Arista Records, ultimately buying a percentage of the company from Columbia Pictures. The label was named Arista after New York City's secondary school honor society (of which Davis was a member at Erasmus Hall High School). In early 1975, most of the artists who had been signed to Bell were let go, except David Cassidy (left for RCA Records), Tony Orlando and Dawn (left for Elektra Records), and The 5th Dimension (departed for ABC Records). Others, such as Suzi Quatro and Hot Chocolate, were farmed out to the Bell/Arista-distributed label, Big Tree.