Many people wonder why there are so many record labels and why do sometimes an artist is going from one to another label. The reason is both quite simple and complicated. Simple because distribution companies or greater record labels had their own sublabels and selecting a record label was part of the market for which the record was intended or as a factor for distribution. We can see Joe Yellow - "Lover to lover" first being published at Hole Records, a very small label, but the repress has got a Baby Records code and sleeve. The reason is that "Lover to lover" had success and to sell more records it is better to be on a bigger label with a better distribution deal. But on the other hand it can also be complicated because of the publishing rights or record label owner. A nice example is the Euro Energy label owned and created by Robert Zanetti, aka Savage. We can see in his early career that he did some tracks on the Discomagic label and with the money he made he started his own label Euro Energy, but since he made a good deal with Severo Lombardoni, the Discomagic company did the distribution. So in this case Euro Energy is the label, Roberto Zanetti the holder of the artist name Savage and Discomagic the distribution company (but also having it's own record label): this explains why Savage was first on the Discomagic label and later on the Euro Energy label, distributed by Discomagic.
In order to give you a good overview we've made a list of the biggest distribution companies and the connections with other labels plus a short story concerning the owner(s) and history.
Discomagic - Milano
Connected or sublabels: Discomagic, Out Records, Sensation records, Academy Records, Bianco & Nero, Biba Records, Chorus Records, Clown Records, Cocaine Records, Disc-o-Very, Disco Energy, Energy Release, Essecio Records, Eurobeat Records, Euro Energy Records, Evolution Records, Finzy Records, Fly Music, Go Ahead Records, Groove Groove Meldoy, Havanna Productions, High Eenergy, Hole Records, Hot Records, House of Music, Italian Company Records, Leader Records, Lombardoni Publishings, London Records Productions, Lupomannaro, Macho records, Magic Service, Magnum Records, Modern Music, Oak Shield Records, Ra-Re Productions, Radiorama Records, Ram Records, Reform Records, Remix Records, Selector Records, Speed Records, Stargo Records, Sunshine Records, Trancebeat Records, Trash Records, World Direction and World Energy.
Founder of Discomagic was Severo Lombardoni (who passed away in early 2012), he believed in publishing large numbers of vinyl releases to earn good money. His company produced and pressed thousands of records from 1980 - 1998. The big success came with Ryan Paris - "Dolce vita" in 1983 but due to problems in the 90s he was forced to sell the main catalogue in 1998 to the German company ZYX Records, also well known for publishing (as licensees) a lot of Italo Disco Records. Lombardoni went on selling records under the name Hitland and DV More Records which nowadays still exist but on a much smaller scale than Discomagic once was. The Discomagic catalogue officially begins with the hit single of Ryan Paris - "Dolce vita" (Mix # 117), before this release there are many illogical codes which do not make much sense, unfortunately there is no complete list of those early releases. Lombardoni released a lot in the years 1980 -1983, still much to be discovered though not all productions are disco or dance.
CGD - Milano
Connected or sublabels: Art Records, Bootlegs, Chapulin, Derby Records, Holly Records, Progress Records, VIP Records. This record label is based in Milano and used to have their own music department/recordstore/recording studio's called Messaggerie Musicali in downtown Milano. The smaller labels have some interesting obscure Italo stuff, the large CGD label did also a lot of foreign licenses of big artists like New Order, Trans-X, Bobby 0 and so on. The company also produced a large amount of Italian pop artists.
II Discotto - Milano
Connected or sublabels: II Discotto, American Disco, Tanga label, Crash Records, Art Retro Ideas, Big Records, Blood Records, DID Records, DR Records, FDT Records, Hiss Records, Land Records, Peecker Meldody, Platonic Love/Edizioni Pavone, Shure Music, WMB Production.
Founder of il Discotto was Roberto Fusar Poli. The company existed from 1982 - 1986 and was forced to close down due to some financial problems in 1986. Some years later the legacy of il Discotto had a rebirth with the distribution and record company Dig It International (see below).
Dig It (International) - Milano
Connected labels or sublabels: Crash! Records, D-Boy Records, Dig It All Mark, Domino Records, Exex Records, Hotline Records, No Limits Records, Pull International, Reflex Records, Wicked & Wild Records, X-Energy Records (only distribution), A.Beat-C Records, Hi NRG Attack.
This distribution company was the rebirth of the old il Discotto company. The company existed from 1990- 1999 and was then closed down because of the slow sales of vinyl.
Panarecord - Milano/Roma
Connected or sublabels: Fl Team, Gattocicova, Master Dee Jay, Musix Records, Strong Records, Panarecord.
This distribution company has/had relations with major companies like EMI and Polygram. But the connected labels were quite independent and produced some nice Italo Disco gems. The company also distributes films and other musical products.
Non Stop Distribuzione - Milano
Many Records, A.Beat-C Records (first releases), Proto Records, Man Records, Stil Novo Records, American Disco, Moonray Records, C & R Records, Palmares.
This distribution company was founded by Stefano Scalera in 1983. Unfortunately they closed down because of bankruptcy in 1996. A part of the catalogue moved to the distribution company Venus also based in Milano but this company is/was more specialized in Italian (pop) music.
New Music International - Milano
Connected or sublabels: New Music, Meet Records, LUP Records, Pielle Records
A small distribution company founded by Pippo Landro in 1989. The company still exists but is now more into digital distribution of South American music like salsa and merengue. In the 90s they had some successes with artists like Ti.Pi.Cal, Lady Violett and Neja .
Venus Distribuzione Italia - Milano
Distribution company specialized in Italian pop music. After the bankruptcy of Non Stop they took over some business. In the 90s the brother of Severo Lombardoni, Vittorio Lombardoni worked for this company. They also distributed releases for Italian companies abroad, we can see that e.g. the 49-ers - How longer (Number 1 in the USA Dance chart) is distributed by Venus and not by Non Stop.
Many Records - Milano
Connected or sublabels are: Beverly Hills Records, Many Records, Palmares Records. See also Non Stop distribution company.
ALA Bianca - Modena
Connected or sublabels are Cruisin' Records, BMS Records, Flea Records, Got It Records, Inlite Records, Ongoing Records, Outta Records and SpotSound Records. First the labels were distributed by il Discotto, after 1986 they did their own distribution. Tony Verona was the general manager of the Ala Bianca Music Group.
Self Distribuzione - Milano
Distribution company founded by Giacomo Maiolini. At the end of the 90s when Discomagic closed down Giacomo decided to start his own distribution for his own and other's labels. The company still exists and is the major dance distribution company in Italy.
Level One- Milano
Distribution company that did the "smaller" dance labels in the late 90s and early 2000s. Connected labels: Exe Records, Do It Yourself.
Baby Records - Milano
Connected labels or sublabels are For Sale Records, Gong Records, Zanza Records, Pierrot Lunaire and Rabbit Records.
Founded in 1974 by Freddy Naggiar and during his early years he did a lot with Italian pop artists, also for his brother who sang under the name of Pupo (a well known Italian pop artist). In 1978 Baby Records got international success with the group of Carmelo la Bionda. The single from La Bionda -"One for you, one for me" became a real disco classic. This success opened the door to worldwide distribution deals with a.o. the Ariola and Polygram company. In 1980 Baby Records launched the first extended 12 inch record Harry Thuman -"Underwater" and another 117 releases followed up to 1993. The distribution deals led to success for Italian artists like Den Harrow, Tom Hooker and Albert One. In 1994 they changed the name to Baby Records International and the company still exists but is not publishing a lot of dance or disco style songs. Because of the distribution deals you'll find remarkable things, i.e. the songs of The Soundlovers were also published at Baby Records International in Germany, the original songs were published at Do it Yourself, two companies that have nothing in common in Italy.
Irma Group - Bologna
Connected labels or sublabels: Absolut Joy, Eviva Records, Irma, Onizom Music, Trance Records. The Irma Group has connections with Expanded Music and is also based in Bologna. Their catalogue has some Italo Dance records but they are more into lounge and jazzy dance music.
Expanded Music - Bologna
Connected labels or sublabels: Audiodrome, B4 Before Records, Dance and Waves, DFC, Expanded Label, Plastika, PRG Progressive Motion Records, Silykon, Steel Wheel, Third Label.
Energy Production - Roma/Milano
Connected labels or sublabels: D-Vision Records, Extreme Records, Fun Records, Interstate Records, Next records, X-Energy Records
Started in 1982 by Dario Raimondi and Alvaro Ugolini. Had huge success with the group called Fun Fun in the 80s. In the 90s they scored hits with Whigfield and Ann Lee. In the 2000s new success with the artist In-grid ("Tu es foutu") and Benny Benassi (on the sublabel D-Vision).
Antibe Music - Roma
Connected labels or sublabels: Good Vibes, Fulltime Records, Goody Music, Mr. Disc Organization, Spice 7, Xenon Records, Zig Zag. Antibe is in fact a publishing company that is connected with Full Time Records. The company was founded by the brothers Claudio and Franco Donato.
Flying Records - Napoli/Milano
Connected labels or sublabels: Flying Records, Drohm Records, Discoid Corporation, UMM Records, Not Only Music. Had a very good period with the distribution of UMM Records but couldn't survive due to the bad sales at the end of the 90s.
Best Record - Roma
Connected labels or sublabels: Best Record, Ace Records, Best International, House of Music, Jumbo Records, Kaktus Records, SPQR and Smash One Music.
Best Record was founded by Claudio Casalini in 1982, it produced a lot of funky disco records like Full Time Records but also nice Italo Disco style records.
Durium Records - Milano
One of the oldest music labels of Italy, already active since the 1930s. In the late 70s they published also disco orientated records. Italo or disco dance was not their main focus, they just released records that were a-la-mode. You can find a lot of Italo Disco records on Durium, they all start with the code DEX 13xxxx. Besides Italian productions you can find on this label the Italian stamp of records from Boney M., Madleen Kane and The Gibson Brothers. Sublabels of Durium that published Italo Disco records only are Merak Music and Missing Records.
ZAC Music - Milano
This was a small distribution company from Milano that only existed for two years 1995-1997. They wanted to compete with the bigger distribution companies in Milano but unfortunately this didn't succeeded. The founder of ZAC was Emilio Lanotte who also created some records under his own name in the early 90s.
SAIFAM Group - Lugagnano (Verona) and Bomb distribution - Milano
Connected labels or sublabels: 21st Century Records, Asia Records, Boom Boom Beat, CAMM Records, CHR, Decade Records, Egg Records, Interdance Records, New Meal Power Records, One Way records, Union Records, Urban Zoo records and Wild Records.
This record and distribution company was founded in the early 90s by Mauro Farina and Giuliano Crivellente after they ended their contract with Giacomo Maiolini with Time Records and already started to work for Flea Records and their own Asia Records. They decided to start in a new direction and created labels with a "marketing" background. All labels were focused on different markets and were very popular in South East Asia, Japan, Brazil and Europe (Spain and Germany). SAIFAM already existed as a publishing company in the 80s but became also a record company in the 90s and they even owned their own distribution company in the 90s called Bomb Sri in Milano. Unfortunately they had to close down Bomb after three years because the worldwide market for music collapsed by the end of the 90s. Mid 90s Giuliano left SAIFAM to pursue his own business by creating music and study materials for school children. As we look back at the huge catalogue of tracks that the SAIFAM company published it is understandable that Mauro and Giuliano had a lot of help. They worked together with musicians, engineers and producers like Fabio Serra, Fabio Turatti and Johnny Mix.
Mauro Farina still is the owner (2012) and supervisors all projects at SAIFAM. His son Simone Farina is now one of the main producers and composers for the SAIFAM labels. Over the years SAIFAM sold