RCA Records

RCA Records (logo).svg
RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music Entertainment's three flagship record labels, alongside Columbia Records and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, rock, hip hop, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. The company's name is derived from the initials of the label's defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It is the second oldest recording company in US history, after sister label Columbia Records. RCA's Canadian unit (formerly Berliner Gramophone Canada, then RCA Victor Company Ltd. Canada), is Sony's oldest label in Canada. It was one of only two Canadian record companies to survive the Great Depression.

Artists currently signed to RCA Records include Britney Spears, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Usher, Charlie Wilson, R. Kelly, Enrique Iglesias, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Kesha, Chris Brown, D'Angelo, Pentatonix, Pink, Craig David, Buddy Guy, Walk the Moon, Pitbull, and Zayn.

In 1929, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company, then the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs (including the famous "Victrola") and phonograph records (in British English, "gramophone records"). The company then became RCA Victor. In absorbing Victor, RCA acquired the New World rights to the famous Nipper/"His Master's Voice" trademark. In 1931, RCA Victor's British affiliate the Gramophone Company merged with the Columbia Graphophone Company to form EMI. This gave RCA head David Sarnoff a seat on the EMI board.

In September 1931, RCA Victor introduced the first 33⅓ rpm records sold to the public, calling them "Program Transcriptions". These used a shallower and more closely spaced implementation of the large "standard groove" found on contemporary 78 rpm records, rather than the "microgroove" used for post-World War II 33⅓ rpm "LP" (long play) records. In the depths of the Great Depression, the format was a commercial failure, partly because the new playback equipment these records required was quite expensive. The format was abandoned by 1933 and two-speed turntables were no longer offered in RCA's consumer products, but some Program Transcriptions lingered in the record catalog until the end of the 1930s.

During the early part of the depression, RCA Victor made a number of attempts to create a successful cheap label to compete with the "dime store labels" (Perfect, Oriole, Banner, Melotone, etc.). The first was the short-lived "Timely Tunes" label in 1931 sold at Montgomery Ward. In 1932, Bluebird Records was created as a sub-label of RCA Victor. It was originally an 8-inch record with a dark blue label, alongside an 8-inch Electradisk label (sold at Woolworth's). Neither were a success. In 1933, RCA Victor reintroduced Bluebird and Electradisk as a standard 10-inch label (Bluebird's label was redesigned as it became known as the 'buff' label). Another cheap label, Sunrise, was produced (although nobody seems to know for whom it was produced, as Sunrise records are exceptionally rare today). The same musical couplings were issued on all three labels and Bluebird Records still survives eight decades after Electradisk and Sunrise were discontinued. RCA Victor also produced records for Montgomery Ward label during the 1930s.

Besides manufacturing records for themselves, RCA Victor operated RCA Custom which was the leading record manufacturer for independent record labels. RCA Custom also pressed record compilations for The Reader's Digest Association.

This page was last edited on 20 May 2018, at 05:05.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RCA_Records under CC BY-SA license.

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