Volcano Entertainment

Volcano Entertainment (sometimes referred to as Volcano Records) is an American all-round music record label founded in 1996 which released albums by Tool, 311, Size 14, Survivor and "Weird Al" Yankovic (the latter two were former Scotti Bros. Records artists and the only artists retained from the label). It is owned by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

Volcano Entertainment, III
Parent companyIndependent (1996-1998)
Zomba Recording Corporation (1998-2003)
Q Prime (1998-2000)
BMG (2003-2004)
Sony BMG Music Entertainment (2004-2008)
Sony Music Entertainment (2008-present)
FounderSteve Troppoli
StatusActive as of 2019
Distributor(s)Sony Music
(In the US)
RCA Records
(Outside the US)
Legacy Recordings
Country of originUnited States
LocationLos Angeles, New York City


Volcano Records was founded in 1996 by Kevin Czinger.[1][2] It is essentially the continuation of Zoo Entertainment which Czinger bought from BMG in 1996.[1] Initially, the company was meant to have two divisions Zoo/Volcano and Volcano which would be a hip-hop imprint.[3] The first album released with the new ownership was flagship Zoo artist Tool's album Ænima followed by actor Keanu Reeves' band Dogstar's album Our Little Visionary. However, the Zoo name was eventually phased out and many of Zoo artists became the cornerstone of the Volcano roster.

In October 1997, Volcano merged with Dallas Austin's Rowdy Records to become Freeworld Entertainment.[4] Freeworld was short lived as the label was plagued with financial trouble and the relationship with Austin faltered.[5][6] Many of the label's employees were either cut or left.[7] Additionally, the label's flagship artist Tool was attempting to leave the label which resulted in a lengthy lawsuit.[8]

In the spring of 1998, Freeworld was purchased and "saved" by the Zomba Label Group. Though the Zoo branding was briefly reintroduced, Zomba quickly returned the Volcano moniker, abandoning Zoo altogether.[9][10] A month later, Q Prime, led by top managers Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch, purchased a 50% stake in Volcano and made sure that hard-rock artist Tool would stay.[11] They would sell their share back to Zomba in the early 2000s.

1998 also marked the year that Volcano acquired the contracts and masters of Scotti Bros. Records which had just been purchased by Pearson PLC. Volcano also purchased Capricorn Records in December 2000.[12]

In 2002, Zomba was purchased by BMG, returning Volcano to the BMG umbrella it had previously been a part of as Zoo Entertainment in the early nineties.[13] Volcano now controls the Scotti Bros. Records, Capricorn Records (later) and Zoo Entertainment catalogs.

With Yankovic fulfilling his Sony contract on their main label RCA, with his 2014 album Mandatory Fun, Volcano functions primarily as a reissue label and the home of only Tool. The band released its final album for Volcano, Fear Inoculum, on August 30, 2019, fulfilling their five-album contract.[14]



Volcano products were initially distributed by BMG. When Zomba purchased the label in 1998, distribution was handled through the Zomba network which, depending on the territory, may have been BMG, Virgin, Zomba itself or other smaller labels. When Zomba was purchased by BMG, BMG became the sole worldwide distributor again. Between 2004 and late 2008 distribution switched to Sony BMG in accordance with the merger of Sony and BMG. Since early 2009, Sony Music Entertainment distributes Volcano products worldwide.

See also


  1. Taylor, Tess (1996-11-01). "An Interview with Lou Maglia". National Association of Record Industry Professionals. Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  2. Piccoli, Sean (9 March 1997). "BLUE-CHIP HIP". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  3. Jeffrey, Don. "Zoo Acquired by Start-Up Volcano; Firm Also Launches Hip-Hop Imprint" Billboard 108:34 (24 August 1996)
  4. Sandler, Adam (1997-08-18). "Austin, Czinger in biz duet". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  5. Sandler, Adam (1998-04-09). "Q-Prime buys into Volcano". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  6. Furman, Phyllis (1998-03-12). "Local Label in Zomba Spin, Freeworld Founder Shy's Future in Doubt". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  7. Coveney, Janine. "Labels ring in new year with executive shuffling; A&M warms to Ice Cube" Billboard 110:4 (24 January 1998)
  8. "Tool Engaged In Legal Battle With Record Label". MTV News. 1997-09-15. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  9. "Zomba To Save Freeworld Label". The Hollywood Reporter. 1998-03-13. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  10. Pollack, Marc (1998-03-23). "Zomba Puts Lid On Volcano". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  11. "Q Prime Pair Buy Half Of Volcano From Zomba". The Hollywood Reporter. 1998-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  12. Shprintz, Janet (2001-03-23). "Bone sues Capricorn, Walden over label sale". Variety. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  13. "BMG Buys Rest Of Zomba". Billboard Bulletin. 2002-06-11. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
  14. "Tool have "tons of material" for Fear Inoculum follow-up". Metal Hammer. 2019-09-18. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
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