RCA Records has announced that it’s shutting down three of the labels in its umbrella: Arista, Jive, and J Records. This doesn’t mean RCA is simply demolishing those labels; instead, it’s bringing all the artists from those labels’ rosters into RCA proper. (I would not, however, want to be a low-selling Arista band or a low-level Jive employee today.)
Even if this move won’t affect the actual music being released by RCA, it still seems significant that the labels are ending, since Arista and Jive, at least, have some serious history. Clive Davis founded Arista nearly 40 years ago, and the label released some truly huge hits by artists like Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston. And Jive was a hugely important early rap label, releasing music from artists like a Tribe Called Quest, Boogie Down Productions, Too Short, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, and Aaliyah, before the label went on to become ground-zero of the late-’90s teenpop explosion. Also, I totally went to the Jive Records offices once when the teenage rapper Lil Mama had a press conference. They had a chocolate fountain there. Have you ever had strawberries dipped in a chocolate fountain? That shit is delicious.