Asylum Records - The Basics:
Asylum Records: Home for Jackson Browne:
Asylum Records was founded in 1971 by David Geffen and Elliot Roberts for one simple reason - to sign Jackson Browne. Browne was a management client of Geffen, and Geffen couldn't get any other labels to bite.
After striking a distribution deal with Atlantic, Geffen made several high profile signings early on, including Linda Rondstadt, Glenn Frey, Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits. Notably, Geffen was also able to convince Bob Dylan to leave Columbia Records behind and sign with them. The move was short lived, however. Dylan only released two albums with Asylum before going back to Columbia.
Elektra/Asylum and Geffen Departure:
Just one year after the label was launched, Warner came in, bought out Asylum and merged it with Elektra to create Elektra/Asylum Records. Geffen sold the label for $2 million cash and an additional $5 million in Warner stock, which made him one of Warner's largest shareholders. He served as Elektra/Asylum president until 1975 and then decided to try his hands in movies, taking over Warner Pictures.
By the 1980s, Elektra began to develop a name in its own right, and eventually the labels were split. After splitting with Elektra in 1989, Asylum became all but dormant for a few years.
Country Relaunch and Re-Relaunch:
Warner decided to resurrect the Asylum imprint in 1992, this time as a country label. Though the label had some success in the mid-1990s, it was not profitable enough to keep going. By the end of the decade, Asylum ground to a halt again and the country label was dissovled.
In 2003, the Asylum name again entered the country music world, this time as a joint project with successful country indie Curb Records. The Asylum-Curb label is home to some of country's biggest names, such as LeAnn Rimes, Hank Williams, Jr, and Wynonna Judd.
More Life for the Asylum Name:
Asylum was recreated again in 2004, this time as a hip hop label. The hip hop Asylum briefly functioned under WMG's Independent Label Group but was eventually moved back under Warner Brothers. The label works with mainstream, top 40 style hip hop acts. The exception is the metal band Sevendust, which the label signed and releases albums by but does not promote on its website.