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Warner Music Group is one of the recording industry's most successful conglomerates. It's also the only one that isn't part of a larger entertainment company, although that wasn't always the case.

WMG's roots go back to 1958, when the Warner Bros. film studio formed Warner Bros. Records, which in turn bought Reprise Records in 1963. In 1967, the studio (then known as Warner Bros.-Seven Arts) increased its presence in the music industry by acquiring Atlantic Records. In 1970, Warner's corporate parent (then Kinney National Company) added Elektra Records to the roster, and WEA Records (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) was born.

For decades, WEA (which was eventually renamed Warner Music Group) was one of the most profitable divisions of the Warner conglomerate, which was variously known as Warner Communications, AOL Time Warner, and Time Warner. This lasted until 2004, when debt-ridden Time Warner sold WMG to a group of independent investors, who in turn sold it to its current owner, Access Industries, in 2011.

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In 2013, Warner Music Group became even larger after the British music conglomerate EMI went out of business; EMI's assets were divided between a Sony/ATV-led consortium (songwriters), Universal Music Group (which got EMI's American assets, most notably Capitol Records and its catalog, as well as rights to The Beatles), and WMG, which got Parlophone Records (owner of EMI's British and European catalog, except for the aforementioned Beatles). Ironically, WMG and EMI had tried to merge and/or buy each other out several times beforehand.

In the world of fandom, Warner's lawyers have a reputation for zealously defending the company's copyrights; many YouTube videos have been removed or altered for using WMG-owned songs. Also, the WMG-affiliated publisher Warner/Chappell Music once claimed to own "Happy Birthday to You!", resulting in its conspicuous absence from media for many years, until a legal challenge ended with the song definitively entering the Public Domain.

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Artists/songwriters whose copyrights are with Warner/Chappell Music:


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