Vanity Label



A vanity label (related to the term ‘vanity press’) is an informal name given to a record label founded as a wholly or partially owned subsidiary of another, larger and better established (at least at the time of the vanity label’s founding) record label, where the subsidiary label is (at least nominally) controlled by a successful recording artist, designed to allow this artist to release music by other artists he or she admires. The parent label handles the production and distribution and funding of the vanity label, but the album is usually released with the vanity label brand name prominent. Usually, the artist/head of the vanity label is signed to the parent label, and this artist’s own recordings will be released under the vanity label’s brand name.

Creating a vanity label can be an attractive idea for the parent label primarily as a ‘perk’ to keep a successful artist on the label’s roster happy, providing an ego boost and a venue to bring fellow artists to the public’s attention. The parent label also hopes that the vanity label’s association with the famous artist will entice that artist’s audience to purchase other records on the vanity label, although only a relatively small number of new artists introduced by vanity labels have gone on to become major successes in their own right.

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