Mercury Records is an American-based record label owned by Universal Music Group. In the United States, it operates through Island Records; in the UK, it is distributed by Virgin EMI Records.Since the separation of Island and Def Jam Recordings combining the Island Def Jam Music Group, Mercury Records America's status remains defunct due to Mercury Records UK being wholly absorbed into Virgin EMI Records.Mercury Records America's website remains inoperative as of 2014. Acts originally signed before the collapse of Island Def Jam (Iggy Azalea, Neon Trees, Duffy, and American Authors) have all either moved onto Island-Republic Records or Def Jam Recordings. Iggy Azalea, originally signed to Mercury in the US, had her contract moved over to Def Jam.BeginningsMercury Record Corporation was formed in the American city of Chicago in 1945 by Irving Green, Berle Adams, Ray Greenberg and Arthur Talmadge. They were a major force in jazz and blues, classical music, rock and roll, and country music recordings. Early in the label's history, Mercury opened two pressing plants, one in Chicago and the other in St. Louis, Missouri. With the use of automatic presses and providing 24-hour turnaround, they went into direct competition with major recording labels such as Columbia, Decca, and RCA Victor.