WEA Records represents name given to Warner Music Group back in 1971 while it operated in Germany and France. In 1970, the Kinney National Company (later to be known as Warner Communications) assembled a number of labels into a group known as Warner-Elektra-Atlantic, also called WEA for short, or Warner Music Group. The WEA name was also used as a label outside the U.S.
In the mid-1970s, WEA expanded by purchasing Asylum Records and Sire Records. The former was merged with Elektra to form Elektra-Asylum, though the separate names would still be used as well. The latter became a sublabel of WBR.
Warner Music Group (WMG), also known as Warner Music, is an American major global record company headquartered in New York City. The largest American-owned music conglomerate worldwide, it is one of the 'big three' recording companies (the third largest in the global music industry). The company operates some of the largest and most successful recording labels in the world, including its flagship labels Warner Bros. Records, Parlophone Records and Atlantic Records. WMG also owns Warner/Chappell Music, one of the world's largest music-publishing companies.
Formerly owned by Time Warner, the world's largest media conglomerate, the company was publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange until May 2011, when it announced its privatization and sale to Access Industries, which was completed in July 2011. With a multi-billion dollar annual turnover, WMG employs in excess of 4,000 people and has operations in more than 50 countries throughout the world.
After Warner Bros. Records opened regional markets in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, US copyright laws forced it to change its name outside the US to first Kinney Music in 1971, and then WEA Records in 1972. Throughout most of the 1970’s, the company had been content to release records on its constituent labels – Warner Brothers, Elektra and Asylum. In 1978, WEA started a label which bore the corporate name.
WEA’s labels also distributed a number of otherwise independent labels. For example, Warner Bros. distributed Straight Records, DiscReet Records, Bizarre Records, Bearsville Records, and Geffen Records (the latter was sold to MCA in 1990). Atlantic Records distributed Swan Song Records.
In 1989, it was announced that Warner Communications was to merge with Time Inc. to form Time Warner, a transaction that was completed in 1990.
Warner Music is currently known as Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) and is the third largest major record label.