Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Sony Music Entertainment, and operates as an imprint of the Columbia/Epic Label Group. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest brand name in pre-recorded sound, being the first record company to produce pre-recorded records as opposed to blank cylinders. Columbia Records went on to release records by an array of notable singers, instrumentalists and groups. From 1961 to 1990, its recordings were released outside the U.S. and Canada on the CBS Records label before adopting the Columbia name in most of the world.
Until 1989, Columbia Records had no connection to Columbia Pictures, which used various other names for record labels they owned, including Colpix, and later Arista (rather it was connected to CBS - which stood for Columbia Broadcasting System, the former owner). That label is now a sister label to Columbia Records through Sony Music; both are connected to Columbia Pictures through Sony Corporation of America, worldwide parent of both the music and motion picture arms of Sony.