Virgin Records is a British recording label founded by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, and Nik Powell in 1972 after a period of selling discount records via their small shop in London. The first release on the label was the classic progressive rock album Tubular Bells by multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield in 1973 (see 1973 in music). The group Genesis (first with Peter Gabriel on the vocals; and after that he left the band for a solo career, later with Phil Collins (who is also the band's drummer)) recorded various albums for this record company.
In 1977 they signed the Sex Pistols, which really put the label on the map. Afterwards they signed also groups like Human League, Culture Club, Simple Minds, and others.
Virgin Records was sold by Branson to EMI in 1992 for a reported £550 million. It now faces competition from Branson's new label: V2 Records.
After being acquired by EMI, Virgin launched several subsidiarys like Realworld Records, Innocent Records, Point Black Records and Hut Records, and continued signing new artists like the Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, the Chemical Brothers and the Spice Girls.