Columbia (Sony Music, worldwide except JP; formerly owned by CBS between 1938–1990 within US/CA/MX)
Worldwide catalog numbers used by Columbia: https://rateyourmusic.com/wiki/Music:Columbia+Records
Releases that should be added here:
1. all Columbia releases prior to 1931;
2. only US and CA releases between 1931–1990; releases in other countries should generally be added to EMI's Columbia Records (1931-1990: worldwide except US, CA, MX, ES, & JP). (but note exceptions below)
3. all Columbia releases wef Jan 1, 1991 except for Spain (where Sony only acquired the rights in 2004 through its merger with BMG) and Japan. In Japan, Sony reissues this Columbia's physical releases under the Sony Records Int'l imprint to prevent collision with Nippon Columbia's COLUMBIA label that appears on physical releases. (However, Sony Music's Columbia releases many digital download and streaming albums directly under the "Columbia" name in Japan.)
From the late 1890s until the late 1920s, the label was named Columbia Phonograph Company. In 1922, it sold its UK subsidiary, the Columbia Graphophone Company. The latter eventually acquired its former US parent sometime between 1925–1929. In 1931, the Columbia Graphophone Company merged with the UK's Gramophone Company to form EMI, and in compliance with US anti-trust laws, had to let go of its US operations. Ownership of the US-based Columbia then changed hands twice, before Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS, Inc.) eventually bought the label in 1938. Columbia remained with CBS until 1988, when it changed hands once again after Sony Corporation of America acquired CBS Records, and renamed it Sony Music Entertainment Inc. in 1991. Upon securing the international rights to the "Columbia" name from EMI, the flagship label Columbia was also then reintroduced worldwide (except in Japan).
* exceptions to the use of the Columbia name outside US & CA between 1931-1990: EMI had engaged in litigation with CBS regarding the import of US releases bearing the Columbia word mark into countries where EMI had still owned the rights to the name at the time. this might explain the existence of non-US releases with the CBS-owned Columbia label prior to 1991, when rightfully it shouldn't be the case.
For more details on Columbia's history, see:
The Columbia Records Story — An Interactive Timeline
Columbia Graphophone Company
the Columbia "magic notes" mark came into existence in 1908, see: https://78records.wordpress.com/tag/columbia-magic-notes-label/ and http://majesticrecord.com/labelscolumbia.htm
between 2009 and July 2011, Columbia and Epic together with their affiliated labels operated under the umbrella Columbia/Epic Label Group, which also comprised Aware Records, and Daylight Records, while also handling the distribution of E1 Music via Epic Records.
Previously known as: CBS (CBS Records’ international imprint from 1962–1990; renamed since 1991 as Columbia)