Sony Music Entertainment (known professionally as Sony Music and abbreviated as SME) is an American music company owned by Sony that is incorporated as a general partnership of Sony Music Holdings Inc. through Sony Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. The company was first founded in 1929 as American Record Corporation and renamed Columbia Recording Corporation in 1938, following its acquisition by the Columbia Broadcasting System. In 1966, the company was reorganized to become CBS Records. Sony Corporation bought the company in 1987 and renamed it Sony Music Entertainment in 1991.
In 2004, Sony and Bertelsmann established a 50-50 joint venture called Sony BMG Music Entertainment and transferred businesses of Sony Music Entertainment (former CBS Records) and Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG; Ariola, Arista, RCA Records, etc.) into the joint venture, although later in 2008, Sony acquired Bertelsmann's stake and the company reverted to the SME name. The buyout led to the dissolution of BMG, which relaunched as BMG Rights Management. Sony Music Entertainment is one of the "Big Three" record companies, being the second largest after Universal Music Group (UMG) and ahead of Warner Music Group (WMG).