The early releases were mostly soundtracks and novelty records. Their biggest selling single was 'Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb.' Biggest selling albums were by Bob Newhart and Allan Sherman.
This slowly began to change in the early 60's with the signing of The Everly Brothers and Peter, Paul and Mary. The acquisition of Frank Sinatra's Reprise label (along with their executives) didn't hurt either.
Over the next few years, the label developed a stable of artists that gave the label a distinct identity. They exploited the similarity of these artists by cross marketing them on loss leader samplers.
The first one was:
The Big Ball (Warner Brothers 1970)
They were offered on the inners sleeves of Warner/Reprise releases. All one had to do was to ruin the inner sleeve of the record by cutting out the order form. The alternative was to take it to the library and have a copy made for a dime. Cost was $2.00. A bargain for a double LP, but cost effective for Warners as they probably introduced the customer to a lot of other artists.