Columbia Records

Columbia Records is an American record label and is a member since 1988 of the major label Sony Music Entertainment. Until then, it occurred exclusively in the U.S. under this name, but internationally under CBS Records on. The American label is not to be confused with the up to the 1970 year in British Columbia operated by EMI Records, although the latter initially became independent from the European branch of the American label.

History of the brand name

Columbia Records is the world's oldest continuously used brand name in the field of audio recording and went through numerous changes of ownership. Founded in 1888 by the North American Phonograph Company, the label in 1894 for Columbia Phonograph became independent. 1922, the U.S. company sold its UK subsidiary Columbia Graphophone Company, in 1926, again bought up the American parent company and the Gramophone Company in 1931 to eventually merged to EMI. Due to U.S. competition law, the EMI, however, had to separate again in 1934 from their North American companies. This created an American and a European label with name Columbia Records. The American Columbia Records were eventually taken over by buying by several different companies in 1938 by CBS. Since the European EMI label Columbia Records, except in the United States exercised distribution rights worldwide, founded in 1962, the CBS label CBS Records for international distribution of the American Columbia Records. 1988, the entire CBS Music Group were acquired along with the Columbia label of Sony. Since the rights to continue using the brand CBS Records was contractually limited temporarily, Sony acquired on January 1, 1991, the international rights to the brand name of Columbia Records who continue the EMI was responsible, although they already no longer used these since the 1970s. The decline in on now at CBS rights to the brand were revived CBS Records in 2006 with a new label, CBS Records.



Originally Columbia was the local distributor of Edison phonographs and phonograph cylinders in Washington, DC, Maryland and Delaware (USA). This resulted from the fact that in 1887 the "North American Phonograph Co. " ( NAPCO ) was established by purchasing the rights to sell the phonograph by Thomas Alva Edison by businessman Jesse Lippincott and on March 26 the following year with Edison's rival, the "American Graphophone Company " signed a cooperation agreement completed; the NAPCO sales now parallel the Edison Device and the Bell and Tainter Graphophone the "American Graphophon Company". For marketing of units, NAPCO founded a variety of largely independent subsidiaries who received the sole license to sale and manufacture of phonograph for particular regions of the United States. One of these contractors was the " Columbia Phonograph Company " under the guidance of the entrepreneur Edward Easton, who owned the license for the " District of Columbia " with the cities of Washington and Baltimore. As in some of the regional phonograph companies was customary at the time, Columbia produced many of their own rolls.

Independence and advancement

While most regional subsidiary of NAPCO marketed the phonograph according to Edison's original intent solely as a dictation machine for office use, Easton and his colleague Victor H. Emerson believed early on in a future of the device in the entertainment industry, which is why they made 1889 commercial sound recordings that primarily at public " phonographic parlors " and traveling showmen were delivered, who presented the phonograph at fairs and trade shows. 1891 Columbia released the first recordings catalog in the world. Just two years later, 1893, Columbia broke up by Edison and the "North American Phonograph Company" and sold in the period following only their own recordings and phonograph. The business division of Columbia production was taken over a part of the "American Graphophone Company " for the production of Graphophonen, on the other part of the " Columbia Phonograph Company" to the rolling production. Another company, the " Volta Graphophone Company ", which held up as the patents for it existed.

Due to legal problems after the collapse of NAPCO allowed to sell Edison from 1894 to 1896 in the United States no phonograph and rolling. This phase took Columbia to build a nationwide sales network and to other expansion measures. 1895 presented Columbia the first spring plant -driven phonograph, the drive technology became the model for the majority of all subsequent roll player and such a low-cost production allowed that he became affordable also as an entertainment device for private individuals, which in turn has been very beneficial for the sale of pre-recorded rolls. After returning to the market Edison's Columbia could not completely maintain the leading position, but remained next to Edison's new " National Phonograph Company" by the world's most important producer of phonographs and cylinders.

1901 began large-series production normal -sized shellac records and matching players for which you initially retained the name " Graphophone ". The panel urged production in the following years the rolling production at Columbia more and more into the background, what the market trend reflected - Records were at the expense of the rollers increasingly popular. For a decade, Columbia was one of the big three in the audio recording business in competition with the Edison Phonograph Company - rolls and the " Victor Talking Machine Company " records.

1904 propagated Columbia was the first manufacturer 78 revolutions per minute than standard speed for all shellac records; in the same year, the first in multi-layer laminate technology crafted out of high quality shellac pressings appeared. 1907 Guglielmo Marconi developed for Columbia marketed as unbreakable "Velvet Tone " plates, the year after the mass production of the first recorded on both sides record was begun. In July 1912 Columbia, decided in future to focus exclusively on records and ceased production of new rolls and phonographs; were pressed and sold, however, still one or two more years rolled copies of the rolls in the archive recordings. The matrices were then sold to the company " Oxford Records" and, to a large part of the American mail-order Sears Roebuck &.

One of the most famous advertising slogans of Columbia Records from the shellac era was: Columbia recordings never die - they just wear out!

End of independence, rise in EMI

1921 divided one from the British part of the enterprise, "Columbia Graphophone Company ," of which one, however, was in turn bought out five years later.

Beginning of 1925 began Columbia to record with a new recording method of Western Electric. In a secret agreement with the " Victor Talking Machine Company ", it was decided not to make the new recording technology public. This was done so as not to interfere with the sale of the recordings from the still existing acoustically recorded archive, while a new electronically recorded archive was created. The first artist, who was taken to the Western Electric process, was the Hawaiian musician Frank Ferera.

Following the acquisition by the former British subsidiary " Columbia Graphophone Company " in 1926 to 1931 merged the new company "Electric and Musical Industries" (EMI). However, the U.S. laws on competition law forced the EMI in 1934 to divest all North American operations and to sell. As a result, the independent American Columbia Records label, which (which could only be used outside North America and Japan ) in parallel with an EMI sub- label of the same name existed was first again. Some years we had mutual exclusive distribution agreement, which meant Columbia ( U.S.) sales in the U.S. Title from Columbia ( EMI) and vice versa. In 1972, EMI, the use of the name.

Removal from EMI and decline

EMI was forced to the American Columbia operations to sell; the new owner was the Grigsby - Grunow Company, which was also the manufacturer of the then popular Majestic Radio. But Majestic soon fell into a crisis from which we tried to free himself, among others with marketing campaigns. Noteworthy in this respect was the so-called " Columbia Royal Blue Record ," a brilliant blue laminated vinyl record with its own record label. The " Royal Blue" plates were produced 1932-1935 and enjoyed especially by collectors because of their low production numbers very popular. A short-lived marketing ploy was the " Longer Playing Record", a 10 " 78/min-Platte with finer grooves and 4:30 to 5:00 minutes of playing time per side.

However, Columbia's demise was in a time in which the phonograph increasingly forfeited in popularity unstoppable. In 1934, Grigsby - Grunow under and had to Columbia for only U.S. $ 75,000 to the " American Record Corporation " (ARC ) Sell. ARC already had " Brunswick Records " as a premium label, which is why on Columbia only less sale -oriented publications such as the Hawaiian music of Andy Iona and the then unknown Benny Goodman were laid. Until the end of 1936 all pop releases were discontinued, so the label was almost completely set.

1938 ARC was, including the U.S. Columbia label, bought by William S. Paley from the Columbia Broadcasting System ( CBS) for $ 700,000. (CBS was originally even co-founded by Columbia Records, however, Columbia did pay off soon, leaving only the part of the name Columbia at CBS remained. ) CBS decided to revive instead of the Brunswick label Columbia Records and its sub- label " Okeh Records ".

1948 published the first Columbia LP, which rotated at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute and the standard for analog records was, for almost four decades, even to the standard of commercial music reproduction at all. Presented by Peter Carl Goldmark on 21 June 1948 vinyl record accelerated the decline of gramophone records.

A big boost in popularity gained the label, as in 1950, joined the A & R head of the rival company Mercury, Mitch Miller to Columbia. Miller took a number of young artists to Columbia and built it up at stars, including Rosemary Clooney, Ray Conniff, Doris Day, Frankie Laine, Johnny Mathis, Guy Mitchell, Johnnie Ray and Andy Williams; next he pushed the marketing of already under contract with the label artists like Tony Bennett or Percy Faith.

Miller was later alleged to have underestimated the importance of rock music. This revenue- music division led Clive Davis in the 1960s at Columbia, when he, for example, the first million contract for the label with Neil Diamond signed, which can accommodate up today for Columbia. Even artists such as Janis Joplin, Michael Jackson and The Byrds had their great successes with the label, with the Jackson belonging to the Group under label " Epic Records ".

Change of ownership and current whereabouts of Columbia Records

1988 bought on the Japanese company Sony, CBS Records, including Columbia Records and further sub- label - the upper section was then renamed Sony Music Entertainment in 1991. Since you owned the rights to the name of CBS Records only for limited time, because this was a few years back to the CBS Corporation, is used from then on the label, Columbia Records, for which one of 1990, the naming rights outside the United States, Canada and Japan EMI acquired. Sony Music merged in 2004 with the " Bertelsmann Music Group " (BMG ) to Sony BMG. This new company released still shots under the label Columbia Records. Exception is Japan, where the publications under "Sony Music Japan " run, a further 100 % subsidiary of Sony. In Japan, there is moreover the - independent from Sony BMG - Columbia Music Entertainment, which has its name due to a cooperation agreement with EMI from 1931.

The names of many well-known American musicians associated with Columbia. Among other things, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash released on Columbia. Barbra Streisand and Bruce Springsteen began their careers not only in Columbia but take decades to exclusively for the label, including Bob Dylan, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago got their start there. The impresario John Hammond was decades working for Columbia as a talent scout and took many now famous musicians under contract.

Jazz Collections

At Mosaic Records since 1983 following collections from the CBS / Columbia catalog published: