Trouble in St Louis. How the Victor Company got its name.

This is the third in a series of articles about the great Eldridge Johnson and his Victor companies. By Carey Fleiner Ever tried to think up a name for a fledgeling company? It’s more difficult than you think. You can go literal BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) or abstract such as Google or Yahoo. Why didContinue reading “Trouble in St Louis. How the Victor Company got its name.”

The record business? Its always been about the technology.

Edison, Berliner, Johnson invented the record business. They brought into being the modern music industry. Capturing sounds from the air so that they could be played back in any place and at any time. Imagine the revolution in thinking that brought about. And what do the three fathers of the music business have in common?Continue reading “The record business? Its always been about the technology.”

The Four Major record companies in the UK (in 1924). #1

We’ve stumbled across a wonderful book called “The Talking Machine Industry” written by Ogilvie Mitchell in 1924. It is a bit of a hack job to be frank. Mr Mitchell’s style is frothy and he gallops across a range of subjects to do with the history of recorded music at that point (i.e. less thanContinue reading “The Four Major record companies in the UK (in 1924). #1”

Recorded music sales are growing exponentially. Supply can’t keep up with demand….

….in 1898! We followed how the Gramophone Company and its German sister company had some significant teething problems with the production of discs during the first year of business in 1898. Whilst the English company was dependent upon its discs coming from Germany it had also agreed to source its gramophones from the American manufacturingContinue reading “Recorded music sales are growing exponentially. Supply can’t keep up with demand….”

Memoirs of a Musical Dog – Edison to The Beatles

As part of their Omnibus series, The BBC made a documentary about the history of recording in the late 1980’s which was called Memoirs of a Musical Dog. It aired on Friday May 27, 1988. It’s very good and thanks to the power of youtube, you can see it here: Part One Early years ofContinue reading “Memoirs of a Musical Dog – Edison to The Beatles”

Rivalry and co-operation

We’ve seen that Alfred Clark left Berliner’s employ in favour of Edison and moved to Paris to set up a rival to the Gramophone Company in Europe. This put the two old friends, Alfred Clark and Fred Gaisberg, in direct competition for new recordings in 1899. Clark, pictured above, proved to be a canny businessman.Continue reading “Rivalry and co-operation”

The first music industry format war hots up: cylinders v discs

(This blog entry is a bit of a catch up in the story of the Gramophone Company…..) In 1899, Alfred Clark left Emile Berliner’s employment and went back to working for Thomas Edison’s rival business which sold cylinders rather than discs. Clark, you may remember had set up the world’s first record (disc) shop inContinue reading “The first music industry format war hots up: cylinders v discs”

The main problem with starting new businesses…

…is getting all the ducks in a row. The early recording business proved no different. Emile Berliner decided to set up his European disc pressing factory in Germany rather than England in 1898. In doing so he created the German Gramophone Company – aka Deutsche Grammophon (DG). Berliner’s European operations were therefore split in two.Continue reading “The main problem with starting new businesses…”

How Deutsche Gramophone was born

We saw how Trevor Williams and William Barry Owen set up The Gramophone Company in England in 1897-8 to exploit Emile Berliner’s new gramophone technology by finding & recording artists and marketing and selling their records – as well as selling the gramophones to play them on. Under their deal with Berliner, Williams and OwenContinue reading “How Deutsche Gramophone was born”