Hip-O Records is a record label, currently part of Universal Music Group, which specializes in reissues and compilations. They are currently in the midst of releasing the Complete Motown Singles, a series of twelve box sets which include both sides of every 45 from Motown Records and its subsidiaries during that company's Detroit era. Their catalog also includes a number of previously unreleased albums and compilations from the Motown vaults.
The name is a play on the word "hip" and the already-existing Rhino Records. In fact, the genesis of the formation of Hip-O Records has its roots in Universal Music Group Chairman & CEO Doug Morris' relationship with Rhino. As Co-Chairman of Atlantic Records (part of the Warner Music Group) during the early 1990s, Morris observed Rhino's great financial success at cross country rivals Capitol/EMI. EMI had taken an equity position in Rhino Records as an ideal two way relationship. Rhino provided invaluable assistance in the packaging and marketing of EMI's catalog, and EMI provided Rhino with increasingly difficult to access master recordings. Their association had been extremely prestigious and profitable for both. Morris scooped in during a 1992 renegotiation snafu and took a 50% stake in Rhino, which only energized the profitability and success of both.
Morris left Atlantic Records in 1995 during an internal shake-up and immediately landed at what was then called MCA Music Entertainment Group. He recognized the history of the group's labels provided a parallel opportunity to market the vintage catalog of masters, but Rhino's magical executive team was tied up tight in the deal he signed with them at Atlantic. Morris launched his own catalog label that shadowed Rhino Records in every way, down to the company's name.
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