Interscope Records is an American record label owned and founded by Jimmy Iovine and Giorgio Saravia in 1989. It is based in Santa Monica, California and operates as one third of Universal Music Group's Interscope Geffen A&M. The label is home to over 146 artists.
As of 2013, Interscope became the number-one charting label based on Mediabase, and also with the largest label share on over four radio formats, with Adult Contemporary being their largest share of the formats.
Interscope was founded in 1989 by Jimmy Iovine and Interscope Communications' Ted Field with financial support from Atlantic Records, which owned a 53% stock in the label. Initially, it was distributed by the Atlantic Records subsidiary EastWest Records America. A&R Executive Tom Whalley, John McClain and producer Beau Hill A&R Joe Lee Jozwiak were also part of the original founding team. The label's first release was Mo' Ritmo by Gerardo.
MCA Inc. acquired Atlantic's stake in the label in 1995 due to controversy over gangsta rap, a genre which Interscope championed.
The original focus of the label was on hip-hop and urban music, but by the mid 1990s its range began to expand, to where its roster would be as wide ranging to include the industrial rock artist Nine Inch Nails under Nothing Records, shock rocker Marilyn Manson, rock band Limp Bizkit, No Doubt and later the Latin artist Kings Of Flow in a unique partnership with Los Angeles based indie Latin label.
Following UMG's acquisition of PolyGram in 1998, Geffen Records and A&M Records were merged into Interscope. In 2004, DreamWorks Records was merged into the Interscope-Geffen-A&M group bringing over artists including Blink-182, The All-American Rejects, Papa Roach, Rise Against, Nelly Furtado, Lifehouse, AFI, Jimmy Eat World and Rufus Wainwright. The artists were divided between Interscope and Geffen, with most going to the latter. In 2005 Interscope launched a new imprint called Cherrytree Records, for emerging artists. This began with the group The Lovemakers and later included Far East Movement, Feist, Natalia Kills, Flipsyde, Tokio Hotel, and Robyn. Lady Gaga is with Interscope, but no longer with Cherrytree as of 2011. LMFAO and Mindless Behavior are also part of the Interscope Records Major Hits.
In May 2007 Interscope announced a joint-venture partnership with Justin Timberlake to create a new recording label called Tennman Records, with the first artist being Esmee Denters.
In 2011, Interscope signed Madonna and Van Halen, the latter of which reunited with its original lead singer David Lee Roth. Both artists' albums were released in 2012. Both artists were also formerly signed to Warner Bros. Records
On November 8, 2013, it was announced that Interscope Promotion Veteran Greg Marella left the department and became Executive Vice President of promotion at Sony Music's Kemosabe Records, which is headed by Dr. Luke.
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor criticized Universal Music Group for its pricing and distribution plans of Year Zero in Australia. When he asked why it was so much, they replied, "You've got a core audience that's gonna buy whatever we put out, so we can charge more for that ... True fans will pay whatever." After the release of Year Zero Remixed, two Nine Inch Nails albums, Ghosts I-IV and The Slip, were distributed by Reznor's independent record label The Null Corporation. Nine Inch Nails is currently signed with Columbia Records and no longer associates with Interscope.
About his album The Captain & the Kid (2006), Elton John explains to Cameron Crowe: "I was so furious with Interscope Records because they put it out and they dropped it. I had meetings in the South of France, and I said, "I know this isn't a commercial album, I just want you to do your best," and they dropped it like a fucking turd. It's probably why I didn't make another solo record. It was pure heartbreak".
Interscope is heavily known for delaying albums in months and even years. In late 2011, rapper 50 Cent engaged in a feud with Interscope stating that "not everyone is not committed to releasing my new album", referencing his yet-to-be-released, fifth studio album. This album, titled Street King Immortal, was meant to be released in the second quarter of 2013.
In 2012, rapper Eve blamed Interscope for delaying her much-anticipated fourth album, Lip Lock. The album was delayed in approximately 6 years, being announced in 2007 but released only in 2013.
In 2012, rapper and singer M.I.A. announced her fourth album, Matangi, for a December 2012 release with Interscope. The album was pushed back when Interscope shelved the original project claiming it was "too positive". M.I.A. wrote new songs and produced new beats, but the album was again subject to numerous delays. In September 2013, M.I.A. threatened to leak the album on the internet; Interscope responded by announcing the release date as November 5, 2013.
Also in 2012, rapper Azealia Banks announced her debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, for a September 2012 release with Interscope and Polydor. However, the album was subject to multiple delays and remains unreleased. The first single, "Yung Rapunxel", was also delayed in 2 months. She has stated on her tumblr: "So sick of having my plans changed. 'Miss Amor' and 'Miss Camaraderie' should've been out. Secretly missing the days of being unsigned, when all the power was mine. Nowadays I just feel like a bad actress." In January 2014, Azealia slammed Interscope on her twitter, stating: "I REALLY should have signed with Sony. Can someone at Sony buy me off of Universal? I'm really in hell here. I'm literally begging to be dropped from Universal."
Associated record labels under Interscope Records:
19 Recordings (2011-Present),
A&M Octone Records (2007-present),
Aftermath Entertainment (1996-present),
Bad Boy Records (2009-present),
Cherrytree Records (2005-present),
DGC Records (2007-present),
Dreamville Records (2014-present),
EarDrummers Entertainment (2013-present),
Mosley Music Group (2006-present),
N.E.E.T. Recordings (2008-present),
Shady Records (1999-present),
KIDinaKORNER Records (2011-present),
Star Trak Entertainment (2005-present),
Streamline Records (2007-present),
Tennman Records (2007-present),
Will.i.am Music Group (2009-present),
Zone 4 (2007-present) (distribution deal with Island Records),
Former associated labels under Interscope Records:
Atlantic Records (1989-1996; Distribution was ceased when MCA Inc. acquired the label's stake),
eastwest Records (1989-1996; a subsidiary of Atlantic, distributed Interscope until MCA acquired the label),
SKG Music (1999-2004; merged into Geffen and Interscope),
Death Row Records (1992-1997),
El Cartel Records,
Glory Boyz Entertainment,
G-Unit Records (2003-2010),
Nothing Records (1992-2007; closed in 2004, but the label continued publishing until its extinction in 2007),
Trauma Records (1993-2004; Trauma has been shuttered since Interscope Geffen A&M acquired the label),
Current Interscope Records artists,
Former Interscope Records artists