[[quoteright:350:[[Music/TheDoobieBrothers http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wb_records_9484.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:The mid-70s "Burbank label". The street doesn't exist, at least not in Burbank; the painting was inspired by art from a 1920s orange crate.]]

->''"Whenever a mystique forms around a corporation, as it has with Apple or Microsoft, and as it did around Warner/[[Creator/RepriseRecords Reprise]], I always think it's excessive, because it's still a corporation. And when you dealt with Warners on business, you may as well have been dealing with a mortgage broker. They were tough. Mo [Ostin], Joe Smith, whomever you dealt with. Though not on record budgets--I never heard that I couldn't use an orchestra, for instance. The main thing about the label, though, is that they gave you the chance to fail. [[DoingItForTheArt They put up with you if what you were doing was good in, let's say, an aesthetic way]]. [[ProtectionFromEditors There was no A&R department that passed judgment]]. If it felt like somebody was doing something---they'd let you fail, and fail again, and fail again. And fail forever. Like me, and [Ry] Cooder, and [[Music/BonnieRaitt Bonnie [Raitt]]], for a time. Now that's gone. You can't find it. And that's a very big thing."''
-->--'''Music/RandyNewman''' on his old employer

Warner Bros. Records began in 1958 as an offshoot of the [[Creator/WarnerBros film studio]]. Like many of its artists, it was given "the chance to fail" until it emerged not only as a successful label, but a major force in the music industry.

Warners had dabbled in the record business as early as the late [[TheTwenties 1920s]], when the company bought Brunswick Records and several music publishers. Like the rest of the record industry, Brunswick suffered due to both TheGreatDepression and the introduction of broadcast radio, so WB sold the label in 1931. Warners stayed out of music, licensing film soundtrack albums (and Creator/MelBlanc's ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' discs) to other labels, for the next 27 years.

By the late [[TheFifties 1950s]], the film industry was in decline thanks to TV and other factors. Meanwhile, the music industry was on an upswing, and movie studios were taking advantage of it. Creator/{{MGM}} Records had been successful for years; Creator/{{Paramount}} had just bought Dot Records; Creator/UnitedArtistsRecords, Creator/TwentiethCenturyFox Records, and Creator/ColumbiaPictures' Colpix label were entering the fray; even Creator/{{Disney}} had a small pop label, Buena Vista, and way-past-its-prime Creator/RKOPictures had a short-lived attempt with the RKO Unique label. (Creator/{{Universal}} reversed the pattern--they were owned ''by'' a record company, US Decca.) The final impetus was provided by Tab Hunter, a Warners contract player who moved into music and had several hit singles--for Dot. After a failed attempt to buy the Imperial label, WB took the plunge; on 19 March 1958, Warner Bros. Records opened for business.

The label's formative years provided a lot of EarlyInstallmentWeirdness. Besides the expected soundtrack [=LPs=], there were stereo demonstration records, {{Concept Album}}s with titles like ''Terribly Sophisticated Songs (A Collection Of Unpopular Songs For Popular People)'', and musical excursions by actors like ''Franchise/{{Dragnet}}'' creator/star Creator/JackWebb, who ''recited'' love songs in his Sgt. Friday monotone. Space Age GenreMotif/{{Jazz}} and GenreMotif/EasyListening ruled, and RockAndRoll was almost non-existent. Unsuprisingly, only a handful of WB's releases charted. The few hits it managed were tied to the studio's popular TV series ''77 Sunset Strip''; the soundtrack album sold well, and actor Edd Byrnes (who played the show's BreakoutCharacter Kookie) had a fluke novelty hit with "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)". Still, the successes were far outweighed by the failures. Warner Bros. Records was losing money, and the company was almost shut down--but fortunately, it was given one more chance to fail. And as with society in general, TheSixties changed everything.

Warner Bros.' salvation began with another group of siblings--Music/TheEverlyBrothers, who had been consistent hitmakers for the independent Cadence label. Warners wooed them away with an unprecedented million-dollar contract in 1960, and while the hits dried up after a while, the Everlys sold well enough to stay on the label for years afterward. WB's next major act was Creator/BobNewhart, whose chart-topping debut album established Warner Bros. as ''the'' label for RecordedAndStandUpComedy for decades to come. The next big signing was FolkMusic trio Music/PeterPaulAndMary, whose numerous hits included "Music/PuffTheMagicDragon".

In 1963, Warners bought Music/FrankSinatra's struggling indie label Creator/RepriseRecords, just in time for Ol' Blue Eyes to begin a CareerResurrection. A few years later, Reprise manager Mo Ostin helped bring both labels into the PsychedelicRock era by signing Music/JimiHendrix to Sinatra's imprint. Music/TheGratefulDead were already part of the Warner Bros. stable, and these two acts became the wave of Warners' future, attracting the new generation of GenreMotif/{{Rock}} musicians with their combination of artistic credibility and high sales.

By TheSeventies, Warners had become one of the biggest labels in the music business, with a diverse roster ranging from soft rock performers like Music/JamesTaylor and Music/{{America}} to HeavyMetal bands like Music/BlackSabbath and Music/DeepPurple. It also became part of WEA Records (now Creator/WarnerMusicGroup), an entity formed when Warners' corporate parent bought two more record labels, Creator/ElektraRecords and Creator/AtlanticRecords.

Today, Warner Bros. Records remains an industry leader, despite the decline of record labels in general and the loss of key executives during corporate shakeups in the 2000s. It's no longer under the same corporate umbrella as the Creator/WarnerBros film studio--Time Warner sold Warner Music Group in 2004--but still has a royalty-free license to use the name and trademarks.

For an extensive label history, see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warner_Bros._Records the entry]] at Wiki/{{Wikipedia}}. For a ''truly'' exhaustive look at the company, read Warren Zanes' 2008 book ''Revolutions in Sound: Warner Bros. Records--The First Fifty Years'', source of the Randy Newman page quote.

Like its parent company, the label was known as Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Records between 1967 and 1970.

Also see Creator/SireRecords, which WB distributes.

!!Warner Bros. Records performers, past and present, with Wiki/TVTropes pages:
* Music/TenCc*
* Music/{{aha}}++
* Music/AliceCooper
* Music/{{America}}
* Music/LaurieAnderson
* Music/AshleyTisdale*
* Music/AvengedSevenfold
* Music/TheB52s *++
* Music/{{Badfinger}}
* Music/TheBeeGees++
* Music/TheBlackKeys
* Music/BlackSabbath*++
* Creator/MelBlanc
* Music/DavidBowie*[[note]]he issued one early single, "Can't Help Thinking About Me", on the label in 1966; it was his first American release[[/note]]
* Music/MichaelBuble+
* Music/BuiltToSpill
* Creator/HamiltonCamp
* Music/CaptainBeefheart*+
* Music/RayCharles
* Music/CheapTrick
* Creator/CheechAndChong
* Music/{{Cher}}
* Music/{{Chic}}
* Music/{{Chicago}}
* Music/TheChurch
* Music/{{Ciara}}
* Music/EricClapton++
* Music/PaulaCole
* Creator/BillCosby
* Music/ElvisCostello
* Music/BingCrosby++
* Music/SherylCrow
* Music/MilesDavis
* Music/DeathFromAbove1979*
* Music/DeepPurple*
* Music/{{Devo}}
* [[Music/RonnieJamesDio Dio]]*
* Music/DireStraits*
* Music/TheDoobieBrothers
* Creator/DrDemento
* Music/DuranDuran
* Music/EarthWindAndFire
* Creator/ClintEastwood
* Music/{{Echosmith}}
* Music/ElectricLightOrchestra[[note]]not in America, but in some international markets[[/note]]
* Creator/BillEngvall
* Music/BrianEno
* Music/TheEverlyBrothers
* Music/{{Faces}}
* Creator/JimmyFallon
* Music/FlamingLips
* Music/FleetwoodMac+
* [[Music/CreedenceClearwaterRevival John Fogerty]]
* Creator/JeffFoxworthy
* [[Music/GeorgeClinton Funkadelic]]
* Music/GangOfFour*
* Music/{{Glassjaw}}
* Music/TheGooGooDolls
* Music/{{Gorillaz}}*
* Music/TheGratefulDead
* Music/JoshGroban++
* Music/BillHaleyAndHisComets [[note]]His signing in 1960 was the label's first attempt, before the Everly Brothers, to break into the rock-and-roll market. It failed miserably because Haley was past his prime by then.[[/note]]
* Music/HerbieHancock
* Music/FaithHill
* Creator/ParisHilton
* Music/HuskerDu
* Music/IronAndWine*
* Music/TheIsleyBrothers
* Music/JanAndDean
* Music/JanesAddiction
* Music/TheJesusAndMaryChain*
* Music/SpikeJones
* Music/CledusTJudd
* Creator/SamKinison
* Music/KingCrimson*
* Music/{{Kraftwerk}}*
* Music/AdamLambert
* Creator/LarryTheCableGuy
* Music/GordonLightfoot+
* Music/{{Lights}}
* Music/LilJon
* Music/LinkinPark
** Music/FortMinor
* Music/DuaLipa
* Music/{{Madonna}}
* [[Music/ManfredMann Manfred Mann's Earth Band]]*
* Creator/LauraMarano
* Music/JohnnyMarr [[note]]UK only[[/note]]
* Music/TheMarsVolta
* Creator/SteveMartin
* Music/JohnMcLaughlin
* Music/MeekMill
* Music/MegAndDia
* Creator/IdinaMenzel
* Music/{{Metallica}}*
* Creator/BetteMidler
* Creator/DennisMiller
* Music/MacMiller
* Music/{{Ministry}}
* Music/JohnMichaelMontgomery
* Music/VanMorrison
* Music/MrBungle*
* Music/MysterySkulls
* Music/NapoleonXIV
* Creator/BobNewhart
* Music/RandyNewman+
* Music/TheOakRidgeBoys [[note]]They released their first single on Warners in 1963[[/note]]
* Creator/PattonOswalt
* Music/JohnOtway
* Music/BuckOwens
* Music/PeterPaulAndMary
* Music/TomPetty++
* Music/ThePrettyThings
* Music/{{Prince}}
** Music/PrincesAssociates
* Music/TheProdigy*
* Creator/RichardPryor+
* Music/PublicImageLtd*
* Music/BonnieRaitt
* Music/RedHotChiliPeppers
* Music/LouReed++
* Music/{{REM}}[[note]]now owned by Concord Music Group[[/note]]
* Music/BebeRexha
* Music/CliffRichard*
* Creator/DonRickles
* Music/KennyRogers
* Music/DavidLeeRoth
* Music/RoxyMusic*+
* Music/TheRutles
* Music/SaintEtienne*
* Creator/AdamSandler
* Music/XimenaSarinana
* Music/ScrittiPolitti*
* Music/SexPistols*
* Music/BlakeShelton
* Creator/AllanSherman
* Music/CarlySimon
* Music/PaulSimon
* Music/{{Slayer}}[[note]]When WB distributed Creator/GeffenRecords[[/note]]
* Music/SleepingWithSirens
* Music/{{Sparks}}[[note]]WB released the ''Music/No1InHeaven'' album in France[[/note]]
* Music/RayStevens
* Music/RodStewart
* Music/DonnaSummer (non-USA)
* Music/TakingBackSunday
* Music/JamesTaylor
* Music/TeganAndSara
* Music/ThinLizzy*
* Music/RichardThompson*
* Music/AshleyTisdale
* Music/TheTravelingWilburys
* Music/RandyTravis
* Music/ConwayTwitty
* Music/UriahHeep*
* Music/FrankieValliAndTheFourSeasons
* Music/VanHalen
* Music/WakaFlockaFlame
* Creator/JackWebb
* Music/TheWhiteStripes*
* Music/TheWho*
* Music/HankWilliamsJr
* Music/{{Wire}}*
* Creator/StevenWright
* Music/WuTangClan
* Music/TheYardbirds*
* Music/FrankZappa+
* Music/ZZTop

[=*=] Signed in the US and Canada only\\
[=+=] Transferred from Creator/{{Reprise|Records}}\\
[=++=] Transferred ''to'' Reprise