Relativity Records

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Relativity Records
Relativity Records logo.jpg
Logo from late 1995 until 1999
Parent companySony Music Entertainment
Founded1982; 37 years ago (1982)
FounderBarry Kobrin
Country of originU.S., U.K.

Relativity Records, often self-identified as Relativity, was an American record label founded by Barry Kobrin at the site of his company, Important Record Distributors (IRD) in metro New York. Relativity released music that covers a wide variety of musical genres; when it entered into a deal with Sony Music Entertainment, it became more known for its metal and hip-hop releases.


Formed in 1979, Important Record Distributors (IRD) was initially focussed on importing records. However, lawsuits from the major domestic labels eliminated the import market and the company switched to independent music distribution, distributing records for small independent record labels.[1] Although it was reportedly established in 1985,[1] there is evidence that the Relativity Records imprint began c. 1982 as an in-house IRD label.

In the 1980s, Relativity Records was mostly focused on rock music, including heavy metal and punk rock. Releases in this genre were split among Relativity and its sister labels Combat and In-Effect Records. Following the recession of 1990, these labels were folded back into the main Relativity label;[1] also in that year, Sony Music acquired a 50% stake in the company.[1] Around 1992, the label underwent restructuring. IRD was renamed Relativity Entertainment Distribution. In 1995, Relativity entered into limited partnership deals with two regional independent hip hop record labels, Suave Records and Ruthless Records in 1995; the company was acquired by Sony in 2007.

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  1. ^ a b c d Bessman, Jim (15 August 1992). "Relativity Goes After Higher Profile". Billboard. Retrieved 10 January 2019.