Jive Records

Jive Records

Jive Records
Parent company Sony Music Entertainment
Founded 1981[1]
Founder Clive Calder
Status Defunct, 2011
Distributor(s) RCA Music Group (U.S.)
RCA Records
Crown Music Entertainment (U.S)
Genre Various
Country of origin U.S.
Location New York, New York
Official website .com.jiverecordswww

Jive Records was an American record label under the RCA Music Group formed in 1981 by Zomba Records. Formerly headquartered in New York City, known for a string of successes with hip hop artists in the 1980s, and also in teen pop and boy bands during the late 1990s/early 2000s.

Jive Records operated as an independently managed label until 2003, when Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) acquired the remainder of its parent company Zomba for US $2.74 billion, which at the time was the largest-ever acquisition of an independent label with major-label distribution. Jive's best-selling artists worldwide were the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.


  • History 1
  • Discography 2
  • Artists 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In 1971, South African musicians Clive Calder and Ralph Simon began a publishing and management company. It was named Zomba Records and relocated to London, England, four years later; their first client was a young Robert "Mutt" Lange. Zomba originally wanted to avoid record labels, choosing instead to focus on their songwriters and producers while allowing other established labels to release the material.[2] Later that decade, the company opened offices in the US, where Calder began a business relationship with Clive Davis, whose Arista Records began releasing material by Zomba artists. In 1981, Zomba formed Jive Records, whose operations began with the release of British dance and pop music such as Q-Feel, A Flock of Seagulls, and Tight Fit.[1] Its name was inspired by township jive, a type of music that originated in South Africa.[3] Davis had hoped that Zomba's connection with Mutt Lange would help alleviate the difficulties Arista was having finding potentially successful rock acts.

By 1982, Calder was introduced to Barry Weiss, a young college graduate who took Calder out to hip-hop clubs in New York City for his job interview with Zomba. He was immediately impressed: Together, they began grooming musicians for what would eventually become Whodini. After two days, the group created and recorded its hit single "Magic's Wand." While the group would eventually leave Jive, the early success allowed the label to focus on hip-hop artists throughout the 1980s.[1] In 1987, Jive cut distribution ties with Arista, effectively separating them from Davis's authority, who eschewed hip-hop. As the 1980s drew to a close, the label entered a deal with RCA Records, and it continued to sign hip-hop acts including DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, The Skinny Boys, Too $hort and Schoolly D. By the early 1990s, Jive had become a premiere label in the genre of hip-hop with the success of D-Nice, E-40, A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One/Boogie Down Productions, R. Kelly and temporarily Aaliyah.

By the late 1990s, Jive began signing pop acts Epic Records, while others stayed with Jive as it moved under the RCA Music Group.[5][6] In April 2011, it was widely reported that Jay-Z had outbid executives at Jive to acquire independent record label Block Starz Music.[7][8] On October 7, 2011, it was announced that Jive, along with Arista and J Records would be shut down to refresh and re-brand RCA by not confusing or diluting it with other labels.[9] All artists on those labels were moved to RCA Records.[10]

Jive Records remains active in France as Jive Epic,[11] serving as the main label for international pop.




  1. ^ a b c Malan, Rian (25 July 2002). "The $3 Billion Man: Clive Calder".  
  2. ^ Knopper, Steve (2009). Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age. New York: Free Press. pp. 80–104.  
  3. ^ History of Zomba Records Ltd. – FundingUniverse
  4. ^ [2] Archived December 11, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Peter Edge Appointed CEO of RCA Music Group | Billboard
  6. ^ L.A. Reid's First Week at Epic Has Some Staffers Feeling 'Energized' | Billboard
  7. ^ http://perezhilton.com/2011-04-05-jay-z-outbids-universal-jive-records-for-smal-independent-german-label
  8. ^ http://www.contactmusic.com/news/jay-jay-z-acquires-independent-german-label_1211060
  9. ^ 'RCA Execs Confirm Jive and Arista Labels Shut Down', by Shirley Halperin, Hollywood Reporter, 10/7/2011.
  10. ^ RCA's Peter Edge, Tom Corson on the Shuttering of Jive, J and Arista | Billboard
  11. ^ http://www.sonymusic.fr/labels/

External links

  • Zomba Label Group
  • Sony BMG Music Entertainment
  • Video interview with Jeff Fenster (Senior Vice President of A&R at Jive Records)
  • Jive Records discography at Discogs
  • Jive Records publishing catalog at MusicBrainz