Warner Bros. Records Inc. is an American record label. It was the foundation label of the present-day Warner Music Group, and now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of that corporation. It maintains a close relationship with its former parent, Warner Bros. Pictures, although the two companies are independently owned.
Warner Bros. Records was originally established in 1958 as the recorded music division of the American movie studio Warner Bros. Pictures. For most of its existence it was one of a group of labels owned and operated by larger parent corporations. The sequence of companies that controlled Warner Bros. and its allied labels evolved through a convoluted series of corporate mergers and acquisitions from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. Over this period, Warner Bros. Records grew from a struggling minor player in the industry to become one of the top recording labels in the world.
In 2003 these music assets were divested by their then owner Time Warner and purchased by a private equity group. This independent company currently trades as the Warner Music Group (WMG), of which Warner Bros. Records is still an active label. WMG is currently the third-largest of the four major international music conglomerates and the world's only publicly traded major music company. The group's extensive publishing assets, which include over one million song copyrights by more than 65,000 songwriters, currently make it the world's largest music publisher.