Today, Atlantic Records stands as the largest frontline label at Warner Music Group.
Based in New York, and run by Co-Chair and CEO, Julie Greenwald, and Co-Chair and CEO, Craig Kallman, the label’s artists include the likes of Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Burna Boy, Meek Mill, Twenty One Pilots, Charlie Puth, Lil Uzi Vert, Cardi B and many more.
Atlantic Records was originally formed in 1947 by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abrahamson. The record label soon became highly regarded as one of America’s most important labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, and soul music.
The label’s roster over the next couple of decades featured artists such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown, and Wilson Pickett.
In 1967, Atlantic Records became a fully owned subsidiary of Warner Bros, whose music division would go on to become the autonomous Warner Music Group.
Following this buyout, Atlantic expanded into rock and pop music, featuring releases by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Led Zeppelin.
Following the death of Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic’s founding Chairman, in 2006, both Atlantic Records and Elektra, its sister label, were merged into Atlantic Records Group, with Craig Kallman serving as Chairman.
Atlantic Records then operated as the spearhead of a group of associate labels including Big Beat, Elektra and Fueled By Ramen.
In 2018, Elektra Music Group was launched as a standlone frontline label group at Warner Music Group, encompassing Elektra, as well as other former Atlantic sub-labels such as Fueled By Ramen, Roadrunner, Low Country Sound, and Black Cement Records.
Atlantic Records’ artists received 13 Grammy awards in 2018, with Bruno Mars’ picking up multiple awards – icluding Song of the Year Award for “That’s What I Like”, and Record of the Year for “24K Magic”.
Mars also got Album of the Year for “24K Magic.”
According to Julie Greenwald in an interview with Music Business Worldwide from 2016, Atlantic Records “signs stuff that we love, however long the road is going to be”.
Speaking of her hiring and staff development philosophy, Greenwald told MBW: “The only way I can help my company grow is by having better and better executives – so it’s partly about giving something back, but it’s also in our interest to help raise self-confident executives.
“I use every opportunity to teach my young staff to become my senior staff and it’s worked fantastically; one of the reasons we’re such a tight unit is because so many people here have been ‘home-grown’.
In addition to its success with frontline artists, Atlantic Records has recently enjoyed blockbuster results with the official soundtracks to stage shows such as Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, as well as movies including The Greatest Showman.