Music & Arts is owned and operated by Music and Arts Programs of America, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to informal education in the arts, established in California in 1984. The label first issued original digital recordings of classical music along with historical recordings of live performances and broadcasts. Recording premieres of new music by Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Elliott Carter, Aaron Copland, George Crumb, Henry Cowell, David Del Tredici, Lukas Foss, John Harbison, Lou Harrison, Leon Kirchner, Charles Wuorrinen and other 20th century American composers earned Music & Arts international acclaim. Some of these projects were supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund, and various private foundations. In 1989 new improv jazz and traditional jazz (presented in original digital recordings as well as reissues) were added to its offerings. The label has released classical co-productions with the Eastman School of Music, the University of Iowa Center for New Music, Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (the central German radio archive), the Austrian radio system ORF 1, the German radio stations NDR, BR, HR, MDR, and DR, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.
Music & Arts is distributed in the U.S.A. by Albany Music Distributors, in Australia by Mainly Opera, in Austria by Gramola, in Canada by SRI Canada Ltd, in China by Sunrise Music, in the Czech Republic by Euromusica S.R.O., in Denmark by Danacord, in Germany by Note 1, in Greece by Classical Disc Center, in Hungary by Rozsavolgyi, in Japan by Tobu Land System Co. Ltd., in Korea by C-sharp Media, in Mexico by Vergel Musical, in Poland by Gigi Distribution, in Sweden by Euroton, in Switzerland by Harmonia Mundi - Musicora AG and in France, the Benelux countries, Italy, the U.K. and Norway by Codaex.