Century Media Records

Century Media Records
Parent company Sony Music Entertainment (Sony)
Founded 1988
Status active
Distributor(s) RED Distribution (U.S)
Sony Music (worldwide)
Genre Heavy metal, extreme metal, hard rock, punk rock
Country of origin Germany
Location Dortmund (Germany) (headquarters), Hawthorne, California
Official website centurymedia.com

Century Media Records is a heavy metal record label with offices in the United States, Germany and London. In August 2015, Century Media was acquired by Sony Music Entertainment for US $17 million.[1]


Century Media was founded by Robert Kampf and Oliver Withöft in Dortmund, Germany in 1988 and has gone on to launch the careers of bands such as Architects, Butcher Babies, Devin Townsend, Diecast, Divine Heresy, Eyehategod, God Forbid, Iced Earth, In This Moment, Lacuna Coil, Moonspell, Nevermore, Shadows Fall, Suicide Silence, Warbringer, and Winds of Plague. The label specializes in many different styles of heavy metal music.[2] A number of artists listed are licensed to Century Media for the American market from labels mostly based in Europe. Century Media is also home to Arch Enemy, Napalm Death, and Queensrÿche.

The label's most popular band is Lacuna Coil. Shadows Fall experienced its greatest success during its time with the label. Iconic hardcore punk band Sick of It All also resides in the Century Media family. Lacuna Coil's 2002 album, Comalies, became Century Media's first act to crack the Billboard 200 album chart, peaking at No. 178 two years after its release. Their fourth album, Karmacode, improved on that achievement, having sold over 490,000 copies since its release, and peaking at No. 28 on the US Billboard Album Chart. It hit number one on the Top Independent Albums Chart. Shadows Fall's 2004 album, The War Within, set a new milestone for the label with a Top 20 debut on the Billboard 200 and also debuted at number one on the Independent Albums chart, having sold over 300,000 copies since its release. Other notable artists on the label that have also made appearances on the Billboard 200 include In This Moment, Arch Enemy, Stuck Mojo, Nightrage, Behemoth, Strapping Young Lad, Suicide Silence, God Forbid and Skinlab. The Finnish band Sentenced were awarded on August 14, 2008 for their platinum Buried Alive DVD labelled by Century Media. In April 2009, the label announced that they were extending their existing distribution deal with EMI, who had been distributing their releases in the United States since 1997, and in Europe since 2005, to include Australasia. Since being bought out by Sony Music in August 2015, the label's releases will be distributed worldwide by Sony Music while RED will be distributing the label's releases in the U.S.[3]

Another Century

In late 2014 Robert Kampf, founder of Century Media Records, launched a new hard rock-focused label named Another Century. This label is leaning away from straight-up metal of Century Media and looking to make a name for itself as a premiere hard rock label. Kampf, who started Century Media Records back in 1988, said in a statement that it’s his, “undying love for rock” that led to the formation of the new label, and he hopes to, “develop and break the best bands in rock.”[4]

Robert Kampf was quoted on his new label: Twenty five years after starting Century Media the excitement to do another version of the label could not be any larger. My undying love for rock has driven the formation of this label ANOTHER CENTURY. Over the years great bands like Otherwise and In This Moment have been released on Century Media but sometimes got lost or felt ill mixed among some of the heavier CM bands. Another Century now has a clear path and mission statement: To develop and break the best bands in rock to come![5]

The label has since acquired breakout bands New Years Day (band), XO Stereo, Like A Storm, Awaken The Empire, and Stitched Up Heart.[6]

Adrenaline Mob and Fozzy, both of whom have released albums on Century Media, are listed on the Artists page of the new Another Century website.[7]

Century Black

During the mid to late 1990s, Century Media had a label offshoot called Century Black, which served to be the "Miramax Films" of black metal, releasing or re-releasing hard-to-find black metal albums that normally would be near impossible to find in America (usually released under smaller labels such as Malicious Records or Candlelight Records). By 2000 the Century Black label was discontinued, seeing as more than a few bands under that label either moved on to other labels, changed their musical direction, or became part of the actual "Century Family".

Abacus Recordings

Abacus Recordings was an imprint of Century Media created in 2002, signing mostly metalcore bands. On July 24, 2007, it was reported that Abacus Recordings had shut down.[8]

Spotify controversy

In August 2011 Century Media decided to pull all of their acts from Spotify, an online music streaming service, citing this as "an attempt to protect the interests of their artists". Metal blog MetalSucks[9] criticized Century Media in a post, which was later replied to by the label in an email.[10] On July 30, 2012, Century Media Records made their entire catalog available on Spotify again after "impressive debates and messages from fans" and discussions with Spotify.[11]

Death of Oliver Withöft

On January 21, 2014, it was reported that co-founder Oliver Withöft had died after a long period of illness. Tributes were paid to him by Monte Connor, head of US A&R for Nuclear Blast Records, Nachtmystium's Blake Judd and Sumerian Records publicist George Vallee (a former employee of Century Media), among others. He is survived by his wife Judith and their 3 daughters.[12]

See also


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