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|Parent company||Universal Music Group|
|Founder||Koninklijke Philips B.V.|
|Distributor(s)|| Decca Music Group |
Verve Label Group
Classical music (current)
|Country of origin||Netherlands|
|Official website|| www|
Philips Records is a record label that was founded by the Dutch electronics company Philips. In 1946, Philips acquired the company which pressed records for British Decca's Dutch outlet in Amsterdam.
A record label, or record company, is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Sometimes, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos, while also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists, and maintaining contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information. Within the mainstream music industry, recording artists have traditionally been reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on music streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels also provide publicists, who assist performers in gaining positive media coverage, and arrange for their merchandise to be available via stores and other media outlets.
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories. In Europe, it consists of twelve provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.
Koninklijke Philips N.V. is a Dutch multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Amsterdam, one of the largest electronics companies in the world, currently focused in the area of healthcare and lighting. It was founded in Eindhoven in 1891 by Gerard Philips and his father Frederik, with their first products being light bulbs. It was once one of the largest electronic conglomerates in the world and currently employs around 74,000 people across 100 countries. The company gained its royal honorary title in 1998 and dropped the "Electronics" in its name in 2013.
The record label was started as "Philips Phonographische Industrie" (PPI) in June 1950 when it began issuing classical recordings. Recordings were also made of popular artists of various nationalities and of classical artists from Germany, France and the Netherlands. Launched under the slogan "Records of the Century" (referring to Philips Industries' UK Head Office at Century House, W1), the first releases in Britain appeared in January 1953 on 10" 78 rpm discs, with LPs appearing in July 1954.
Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820, this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.
Philips also distributed recordings made by Columbia Records (which at the time was a unit of CBS) in the UK and on the European continent. After the separation of the English Columbia label (owned by EMI) and American Columbia, Philips also started distributing original Columbia recordings on the Philips label in the UK.
Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.
CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.
EMI Group Limited was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012, it was the fourth largest business group and record label conglomerate in the music industry, and was one of the big four record companies ; its labels included EMI Records, Parlophone, Virgin Records, and Capitol Records, which are now owned by other companies.
The first batch of eight singles releases in 1953 included British artists such as Gilbert Harding, Flanagan & Allen and Gracie Fields, followed by American Columbia recording artists Jo Stafford, Frankie Laine and Johnnie Ray. The first single on the label to chart was Frankie Laine's "I Believe", which reached the No. 1 chart position in the UK that April. Many of the first British recordings on the label were produced by Norman Newell until John Franz was appointed artists and repertoire (A&R) manager in 1954.
Jo Elizabeth Stafford was an American traditional pop music singer and occasional actress, whose career spanned five decades from the late 1930s to the early 1980s. Admired for the purity of her voice, she originally underwent classical training to become an opera singer before following a career in popular music, and by 1955 had achieved more worldwide record sales than any other female artist. Her 1952 song "You Belong to Me" topped the charts in the United States and United Kingdom, the record becoming the first by a female artist to reach number one on the U.K. Singles Chart.
Frankie Laine was an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career nearly spanned 75 years, from his first concerts in 1930 with a marathon dance company to his final performance of "That's My Desire" in 2005. Often billed as "America's Number One Song Stylist", his other nicknames include "Mr. Rhythm", "Old Leather Lungs", and "Mr. Steel Tonsils". His hits included "That's My Desire", "That Lucky Old Sun", "Mule Train", "Jezebel", "High Noon", "I Believe", "Hey Joe!", "The Kid's Last Fight", "Cool Water", "Rawhide", and "Lord, You Gave Me a Mountain".
John Alvin Ray was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Highly popular for most of the 1950s, Ray has been cited by critics as a major precursor to what would become rock and roll, for his jazz and blues-influenced music and his animated stage personality. Tony Bennett called Ray the "father of rock and roll," and historians have noted him as a pioneering figure in the development of the genre.
In 1958 Philips created a subsidiary label, Fontana Records, which meant that American-Columbia recordings were being issued on both the Philips and Fontana labels. This arrangement lasted until April 1962, when, under pressure from Columbia in America, Philips then created a third label for them, CBS Records (it could not name the label Columbia as the copyright for that name had long been owned by EMI). In late 1964, under the stewardship of U.S. President of Columbia Records Goddard Lieberson, CBS Records formed its own international operations, adopting the name of its then parent CBS. CBS Records set up their UK operation in Theobalds Road in Holborn. Singles and albums on the Philips and Fontana labels by Columbia-owned product were subsequently withdrawn.
Fontana Records is a record label which was started in the 1950s as a subsidiary of the Dutch Philips Records. The independent label distributor Fontana Distribution takes its name from the label.
CBS Records International was the international arm of the Columbia Records unit of Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS) that was formed in 1961 and launched in 1962. Previously Columbia Records had been using other record companies to distribute Columbia recordings outside North America, such as Philips Records and its subsidiary Fontana in Europe.
In 1962, Philips Records and Deutsche Grammophon formed the Grammophon-Philips Group joint venture (GPG), which later became PolyGram in 1972. UK pressings were manufactured at the company's large factory based at Walthamstow in N.E. London.
Deutsche Grammophon (DGG) is a German classical music record label that was the precursor of the corporation PolyGram. Headquartered in Berlin Friedrichshain, it is now part of Universal Music Group (UMG) since its merger with the UMG family of labels in 1999. It is the oldest surviving established record company.
PolyGram was a Dutch entertainment company and major music record label. It was founded in 1962 as the Grammophon-Philips Group by Dutch Philips and German Siemens, to be a holding for their record companies, and was renamed "PolyGram" in 1972. The name was chosen to reflect the Siemens interest Polydor Records and the Philips interest Phonogram Records. The company traced its origins through Deutsche Grammophon back to the inventor of the flat disk gramophone, Emil Berliner.
In 1961, after Philips lost its US and Canadian distribution deal with Columbia Records, it entered an exchange agreement with Mercury Records.A year later, Philips' US affiliate Consolidated Electronics Industries Corp. (aka Conelco), bought Mercury and its subsidiary labels, such as Smash. Philips classical, jazz and pop records were marketed by Mercury in the US under the Philips label. The Mercury Living Presence team also made classical recordings for Philips, in July 1961. These records, made in Walthamstow Town Hall near London, included Liszt piano concertos by Sviatoslav Richter and the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kiril Kondrashin; two albums of symphonic "bon-bons" by the London Symphony Orchestra and Charles Mackerras released as "Kaleidoscope"; "Russian Song Recital" by Galina Vishnevskaya and Mstislav Rostropovich; and Beethoven sonata op. 69 for cello and piano by Richter and Rostropovich. The Richter Liszt album was recorded on 3-track 35mm magnetic film and was reissued on CD from a remaster made from the film by original producer Wilma Cozart Fine, (wife of the late recording pioneer Bob) as part of the Philips Solo series.
Classical groups that Philips heavily recorded included the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Beaux Arts Trio, and the Quartetto Italiano. Violinist Arthur Grumiaux and the pianist Claudio Arrau were under contract to Philips. Symphony orchestras under contract, including the LSO, were under the command of prestigious young conductors such as Colin Davis and Bernard Haitink.
From 1961 until the late 1980s, Philips Records (USA) issued many classical titles in US-specific packaging, initially in the same glossy-laminated covers as Mercury Records. The records were pressed at Mercury's plant in Richmond, Indiana, and mastered in New York by George Piros at Fine Recording, using 2-track and mono master tapes provided by Philips. These releases were the PHS 900 xxx series for stereo and the 500 xxx series for mono. Clair Van Ausdal in Mercury's New York office oversaw the Philips classical US releases through the mid-1960s.
Philips also launched an eponymous jazz label in the US, releasing both imported European Philips recordings and making new American recordings of Gerry Mulligan, Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Herman, among others. These records were made through Mercury's existing jazz operations and produced by Jack Tracy and others.
In addition to jazz and classical music, Philips also became a major player in the world of rock and pop music in the late 1950s till late 1970s. In the UK, Philips developed a strong popular music roster, signing acts like Marty Wilde, Roy Castle, Anne Shelton, the Four Pennies, Dusty Springfield, and the Walker Brothers. The American pop label was launched in 1962 starting with the R&B single "Gee Baby" by Ben & Bea and showed a comfortability with folk-country, releasing "Makes You Wanna Sigh" by Ross Legacy in 1969. It signed the Four Seasons in 1964. It also played a major part in promoting the garage rock genre and the psychedelic rock genre in the mid to late 60s, their most successful signing being Blue Cheer.
In the UK during the 1960s and 1970s, Philips turned its attention more to the growing MOR market with artists like Lena Zavaroni, Peters and Lee, Nana Mouskouri and Demis Roussos, as well as issuing novelty records by media personalities like Ed Stewart, Bruce Forsyth, Dave Allen and Chris Hill. In 1970, Philips, Fontana, Mercury Records, and the newly formed Vertigo Records were amalgamated into a new company called Phonogram In Europe, however, Philips was used on a major basis and it became the outlet for Sire Records in America and distributed a number of punk and new wave bands like Talking Heads, the Ramones, and Radio Birdman, who were signed from Australia. It also released some disco records by Donna Summer and the Village People, as their home label Casablanca Records was not cleared for use in all countries around the world. Another important American label signing for the UK was Avco Records, which provided Phonogram with one of their best-selling U.S. acts, the Stylistics. By late 1979 Phonogram signed Dire Straits to the Vertigo label. The band sold huge numbers of records all over Europe and were chosen to promote the initial release of CDs in 1985, with a nationwide road tour in association with Philips/Sony Industries.
By 1980, PolyGram consolidated all of its U.S. operations, Phonogram, Inc. Mercury Records, RSO, Casablanca and Polydor Records and associated labels into PolyGram Records and it was based in New York City. Under the new company, PolyGram decided to discontinue Philips as a pop and rock label in the UK and throughout much of Europe, though it was still frequently issued records in France and South East Asia by Chinese and Hong Kong pop artists. The majority of PolyGram's rock and pop music signings went to Mercury, and Polydor in the UK and Europe, though the label was used sparingly in America. Philips became part of PolyGram Classics as a classical music label along with Decca Records and Deutsche Grammophon.
From the early 1970s, Philips classical records were not being produced in the US any more; rather they were made in the Netherlands and sold as imports in the American market. Philips reissued a group of Mercury Living Presence titles as "Mercury Golden Imports", with manufacture in the Netherlands and masters cut from 2-track production tapes, as opposed to the original-issue method of mixing stereo LPs directly from the edited 3-track master tapes and films.
In the 1980s Philips Classics Records was formed to distribute its classical artists, although classical recordings have also been issued on the regular Philips label. In the US, Philips eventually handled distribution and sales for Philips, Mercury, British Decca (sold under the London label in the US) and Deutsche Grammophon.
In 1983, Philips became one of the first record labels to issue compact discs, using digital recordings that had been recorded since 1978.
Philips and its subsidiaries eventually re-issued many of its pre-digital stereo and mono recordings on compact disc. Philips and DuPont partnered in four CD manufacturing plants in Hanover, Germany; Blackburn in the UK (formerly the Philips Laservision Disc factory); Kings Mountain in North Carolina, and Louviers in France. By the mid-1990s, Polygram Classics handled the classical labels (Philips, Mercury, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon) and Verve Music Group handled the jazz back catalogue (from Verve, Mercury, etc.) and new jazz releases. Mercury continues to manage the Philips pop back catalogue to this day.
Philips Records has been part of Universal Music since 1998, the name continuing to be licensed from the label's former parent company. In 1999, Philips Classics was absorbed into the Decca Music Group, and Philips recording and mastering operations in the Netherlands were shut down. Former employees bought the Philips Recording Center in Baarn, Netherlands, and formed Polyhymnia International (a recording and mastering company) and Pentatone Records (which specializes in SACD releases).
Many of the Philips classical recordings have been reissued on the Eloquence label. Universal also released a "Philips 50" series marking the 50th anniversary of Philips Records in the early 2000s; some of those CDs are still in print. Pentatone has released Philips Quadraphonic sound recordings from the early and mid-1970s in 4-channel SACD format, as their RQR Series.
Philips' classical catalog was issued on CD under the headings Digital Classics, Legendary Classics and Silver Line Classics. Many of these titles have been reissued on the Decca label.
The "Philips Connoisseur Collection" issued world music and other genres.
Decca Records is a British major record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934 by Lewis, along with American Decca's first president Jack Kapp and later American Decca president Milton Rackmil. In 1937, anticipating Nazi aggression leading to World War II, Lewis sold American Decca and the link between the UK and U.S. Decca labels was broken for several decades. The British label was renowned for its development of recording methods, while the American company developed the concept of cast albums in the musical genre. Both wings are now part of the Universal Music Group, which is owned by Vivendi, a media conglomerate headquartered in Paris, France. The US Decca label was the foundation company that evolved into UMG.
MCA Records was an American record label owned by MCA Inc., which later gave way to the larger MCA Music Entertainment Group, which the label was part of until its dissolution in 2003. The label's country division MCA Nashville is a still active imprint of Universal Music Group Nashville.
Polydor Records Ltd. is a British record label and company, that operates as part of Universal Music Group. It has a close relationship with Universal's Interscope Geffen A&M Records label, which distributes Polydor's releases in the United States. In turn, Polydor distributes Interscope releases in the United Kingdom. Polydor Records Ltd. was established in London in 1954 as a British subsidiary of German company Deutsche Grammophon GmbH. It was renamed Polydor Ltd. in 1972.
Mercury Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group. In the US, it operates through Island Records; in the UK, it is distributed by Virgin EMI Records.
London Records is a British record label that marketed records in the United States, Canada, and Latin America from 1947 to 1979 before becoming semi-independent.
MGM Records was a record label started by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio in 1946 for the purpose of releasing soundtrack albums of their musical films. It soon transitioned to a pop music label which continued into the 1970s. The company also released soundtrack albums of the music for some of their non-musical films as well, and on rare occasions, cast albums of off-Broadway musicals such as The Fantasticks and the 1954 revival of The Threepenny Opera. In one instance, it even released the highly successful soundtrack album of a film made by a rival studio, Columbia Pictures's Born Free (1966).
Verve Records, also known as The Verve Music Group, founded in 1956 by Norman Granz, is home to the world's largest jazz catalogue and includes recordings by artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Stan Getz, Bill Evans and Billie Holiday, among others. It absorbed the catalogues of Granz's earlier labels, Clef Records, founded in 1946, Norgran Records, founded in 1953, and material previously licensed to Mercury Records.
Angel Records was a record label founded by EMI in 1953. It specialised in classical music, but included an occasional operetta or Broadway score. The Angel mark was used by EMI, its predecessors, and affiliated companies since 1898. EMI's classical-music operations were sold to Warner Music Group in 2013. The label is currently inactive since 2006, dissolving and reassigning Angel Records' artists and catalogues into its parent label EMI Classics and musical theatre artists and catalogues into Capitol Records. EMI Classics was sold and absorbed into Warner Classics.
The Famous Charisma Label was a British record label founded in 1969 by former journalist Tony Stratton-Smith. He had previously acted as manager for rock bands such as The Nice, the Bonzo Dog Band and Van der Graaf Generator. Gail Colson was label manager and joint managing director.
Philips Classics was started in the 1980s as the new classics record label for Philips Records. It was successful with artists including Alfred Brendel, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Mitsuko Uchida, Julian Lloyd Webber, Sir Colin Davis and André Rieu.
Phonogram Records was started in 1970 as a successor to Philips Phonographic Industries, a unit of the Grammophon-Philips Group (GPG), a joint venture of Philips N.V. of the Netherlands and Siemens A.G. of Germany.
Universal Music Group Nashville is Universal Music Group's country music subsidiary. Some of the labels in this group include MCA Nashville Records, Mercury Nashville Records, Lost Highway Records, Capitol Records Nashville and EMI Records Nashville. UMG Nashville not only handles these imprints, but also manages the country music catalogues of record labels Universal Music and predecessor companies acquired over the years including ABC Records, Decca Records, Dot Records, DreamWorks Records, Kapp Records, MGM Records and Polydor Records.
Lyrita is a classical music record label, specializing in the works of British composers.
Greatest Hits 1976–1986 is a collection of hits by Elton John released in the United States only by MCA Records in 1992. It replaced an earlier compilation, Geffen's 1987 release Elton John's Greatest Hits Vol. 3. This was necessitated because of a shift in the control of copyrights and a resulting reshuffling of compilation albums.
Decca Gold is a United States-based record label focusing on classical repertoire. It falls under the umbrella of Verve Label Group, owned by Universal Music Group. The label has a new roster of classical artists and partnerships, and was inspired by the historic Decca Gold Label Series established in 1956 that featured artists such as Andrés Segovia, Leonard Bernstein, Claudio Arrau and Dave Brubeck. The label's first album, Emerson String Quartet's Chaconnes and Fantasias: Music of Britten and Purcell, was released on April 21, 2017. Decca Gold partnered with the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition to release recordings of the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. That album reached #1 on the Billboard Classical Traditional Chart.
Quintessence Records started in 1976. Quintessence was formed by Pickwick International Inc. as a budget label. Pickwick’s trademark for Quintessence was filed on December 10, 1976 with the initial Q made to look like a clef symbol. The label was devoted to the licensed reissue of historic classical recordings. The idea was printed on the record jackets: "Critically acclaimed recordings of the basic repertoire which belong in every library of great music" and also promised these were "Carefully remastered from the original master tapes, recut on the latest Neumann lathes and pressed on virgin vinyl." R. Peter Munves was the executive responsible for the label. Munves had earlier worked for Columbia Records and RCA Records classical music divisions. He said to Time magazine in 1971 “You can call me the P.T. Barnum of the classics”.
The late piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven usually refer to the last five piano sonatas the composer composed during his late period.
Pentatone is a Dutch classical music label located in Baarn, Netherlands. The name comes from the words penta (five) and tone (sound), meaning five channels of sound. The label is renowned for its high-resolution multichannel surround sound recordings which are released in the Super Audio CD format.