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Interscope Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Interscope Geffen A&M imprint. The label was established in 1990 by Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field as a $20 million joint venture with Atlantic Records of Warner Music Group. Within a year of finding, Interscope first hit record arrived, and it achieved profitability in 1993. Jimmy Iovine remained the Chair and CEO until May 2014, when he was succeeded by John Janick.
Interscope’s structure differed from most record companies by letting A&R staff control decisions and allowing artists and producers full creative control. Based in Santa Monica, California, Interscope’s artist roster includes Lady Gaga, Blackpink, Dr. Dre, Eminem, DaBaby, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Selena Gomez, Playboi Carti, Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, Maroon 5, Moneybagg Yo, Gwen Stefani, Juice WRLD, Rae Sremmurd, and U2.
In 1992, Interscope secured the exclusive rights to distribute and market releases from the hardcore hip hop label “Death Row,” whose artists included Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. This decision ultimately put Interscope at the center of the mid 90s gangsta rap controversy. As a result of this move, Time Warner, owners of Atlantic, severed ties with Interscope by selling its 50% stake back to founders Field and Iovine for $115 million in 1995. A year later, the same 50% stake was acquired by MCA Inc. (now Universal Music Group) for a reported $200 million.
Despite the controversies that trailed the label in the late 90s and early 2000s, Interscope returned to the industry and global prominence in the late 2000s and early 2010s. In June 2010, when Eminem’s Recovery Album entered the Billboard 200 at number one, his sixth album was to do so at the time. Likewise, in May 2011, Born This Way by Lady Gaga debuted at number one in 23 countries. The album sold more than one million copies in the US in its first week, becoming the highest first-week album sales in five years. Also, four singles on the album—”Born This Way,” “Judas,” “The Edge of Glory,” and “You and I”—charted in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
Six Interscope releases appeared in the Billboard year-end album charts in 2014: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 by Eminem, Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey, V by Maroon 5, Native from OneRepublic, Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP, and Oxymoron by Schoolboy Q. In December 2014, Selena Gomez, previously signed to Hollywood Records, had signed with Interscope.
As part of its expansion and attempt to cement its place globally, Interscope entered a global partnership with YH Entertainment to represent Blackpink. As a result of this deal, Interscope and Universal Music Group would represent the girl group outside Asia and globally.
In May 2019, following their departure from Capitol Records, Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer signed with Interscope Records and released their fourth studio album under the label on March 27, 2020. The album was a commercial success and received positive reviews from critics who praised the brand’s artistic growth and maturity through the years. The album charted in more than 25 countries on several charts, including peaking in the top 10 and 17 charts. It debuted atop the charts at number one in Australia, Scotland and the UK.