Narada is a record label formed 1983 as an independent New Age music label. Now a fully-owned subsidiary of EMI, Narada evolved through an expansion of formats to include music from other styles including world music, jazz, Celtic music, new flamenco, acoustic guitar and piano genre releases. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Narada created several sub-label imprints to differentiate their offerings in the marketplace, in particular: Sona Gaia, Antiquity Records, Rising Sun Records, Narada World, Narada Jazz, and Narada Mystique. In 1997 (see 1997 in music), along with its affiliated companies, Narada was purchased by EMI and put under the fold of Virgin Records.
Since the acquisition, Narada has become the principal US licensee for Peter Gabriel's Real World Records, the various sub-labels of Narada have been retired and their albums folded into the company's main imprint "Narada." Higher Octave, also acquired by EMI in 1997 was absorbed into Narada in 2004 as a sub-label retaining its imprint but not its staff. Higher Octave's roster of artists and albums was significantly reduced as part of this merge. During the first few years of the decade, Narada created a short-lived sub-label titled Shakti Records for releasing electronic "chill-out" music, but this imprint did not see much activity and was dropped as Narada's focus on contemporary jazz releases increased. Back Porch Records (folk and Americana music) was also acquired by EMI in 1997 and included as a sub-label imprint under the Narada umbrella.
In 2005, Narada was named as #4 in the 2005 top 4 Contemporary Jazz labels in Billboard's year-end issue summary charts.
In 2006, Narada (including Higher Octave and Back Porch Music) was moved by EMI from its original location in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, Wisconsin, to EMI's New York City headquarters, to become part of the newly expanded role for Blue Note Records with EMI, which is to function as EMI's consolidated label group for music for adults. Additional labels joining Blue Note in this new function are Mosaic Records, Capitol Jazz, Roulette Jazz, Pacific Jazz, Manhattan, Angel & Metro Blue. Each of those, including Narada and Higher Octave, will continue to use their existing imprints. As part of this consolidation, Narada's involvement with New Age music has been reduced with Narada's focus narrowed to mainly Contemporary Jazz, while Narada's New Age music content migrates to sister label Higher Octave
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