Major label - A major label is owned by an enormous corporation. Majors have tons of money to throw into promotion and tour support advertising. Major labels are more strict about what they let their artist release as they don't want to pay for something that's going to fail.
Independent label- Independent labels are low key and they will sign an artist whether they think sound good and have a future in music. If you are signed into an independent label you will have to pay for the equipment that they will need to create the music.
The Big 3
Sony BMG - Sony BMG was a founded March 3rd 2004 and holds a share of 25% of the music market. They have offices in more than 30 countries around the world. They and own and distribute more than 20 labels, some which are big in the business, such as: SoSo Def, Red Music Distribution and J records. They also have some of the top selling artists such as: Britney spears, Justin Timberlake, Leona Lewis, etc...
Warner Music Group - Warner Brothers movie studio began the label in 1958 as a way to release the soundtracks from their films. The time they created the label was good due to the increase in popularity of rock and pop music. 1968 they acquired Atlantic Records, which at the time was well know for it's jazz and R&B. They expanded again, by buying Elektra Records and changed their names to Warner Communications but was better known as Warner Elektra Atlantic (WEA). In1987 they merged with Time corporation forming Time Warner. They sold Warner Music in 2003 for $2.3 billion.
The Universal Music Group - The Universal Music Group is an American multinational company - a subsidiary of Universal Studios. In the early days, Universal Records was seen as an unimportant extension of the Universal Pictures Group who were the most successful movie studios in Hollywood. Some artists signed with Universal or with their subsidiaries include Kayne West, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and Gwen Stefani.
Fanfare records - Fanfare records was a British record label that was founded by Iain Burton and Simon Cowell which was used to make Simon break into the music business. Burton and Cowell worked together at Fanfare Records for eight years. The label was most successful during the mid 1980s to early 1990s. The label became known and successful when they came with Sinitta.