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Rykodisc, also referred to as simply "Ryko", was founded in 1983 as the first CD-only music label. It was named after the Japanese word "ryko" which means approximately "sound from a flash of light", a reference to the compact disc technology.

In 1986, Ryko gained the license to issue several Zappa albums on CD. However, some of the CD's differed significantly from their LP or cassette counterparts.

In 1994, Ryko gained the rights to the entire Zappa catalog and began a major reissue campaign the following year.[1]

On March 23, 2006, Warner Music Group officially acquired the Ryko Corporation for $67.5 million. As a consequence, the distribution outside of the US is now handled by WEA Corp. (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic). Three years later, Ryko deleted much of Zappa's material. In 2011, the ZFT regained the rights to the Zappa catalog.