Epic Records is a record label launched in 1953 by CBS. Its bright-yellow and black logo became a familiar trademark for many jazz and classical music releases. This has included such notables as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Juilliard String Quartet, Antal Dorati conducting the Hague Philharmonic and George Szell conducting the Cleveland Orchestra. Ten years later, Epic earned its first gold records and developed into a formidable hit-making force in rock, R&B, and country. Among its many acts were Bobby Vinton, Sly and the Family Stone, The Dave Clark Five and Donovan. During the 1970's, the label's success extended to include The Hollies, Edgar Winter ABBA and Tammy Wynette. The 1980's and 1990's saw Epic releasing numerous multi-platinum albums from artists such as Meat Loaf, The Jacksons, Sade, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper and others.
In 1978, an independent branch of Epic Records was established in Japan as "Epic/Sony Records" by Sony Music Japan. In 2001, this branch was incorporated as Epic Records Japan Inc. and it remains independent from the US branch of Epic Records. In 1988, Sony purchased the music division of CBS Inc., including the Epic label. In 2005, Epic became part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment except in Japan, where Epic continued to be managed by Epic Records Japan Inc.. When Sony BMG ended in 2008, Epic again became a part of Sony Music Entertainment.
WARNING: Codes with the following prefixes should not be entered as catalogue number: XSS, ZSS, AL, BL. These codes are matrix numbers unique for each side of a vinyl release and should be entered in the Barcode and Other Identifiers section. The actual catalogue number is usually printed above these matrix numbers. European releases in the 1980's until the late 1990's often had supplementary or full catalogue numbers printed on the release in the following format: xx-xxxxxx-xx (e.g.: 01-497424-10 in addition to short catalogue number 497424.) It is assumed that the prefix refers to the country of release, the main number is the short catalogue number, normally found elsewhere on the release and the suffix relates directly to the format of the item in question. However there is one exception. The "08" prefix relates specifically to releases manufactured at Sony/CBS, Haarlem and later inherited by Record Industry for a short while. These are not distribution codes or catalogue numbers and should only be entered as sequential numbers belonging to the manufacturer of the release. For the dating of the several label design versions have a look to the VinylBeat link below.