Brunswick Records is a record label founded in the United States in 1887 .
Company foundation / advancement
The company had its beginnings as a subsidiary of the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company, later the Brunswick Corporation , a manufacturer primarily of sports equipment. This company began producing phonographs in 1916 before marketing their first recordings. These were only issued in small numbers and distributed exclusively in Canada.
In January 1920, a new edition of Brunswick Records was introduced in the USA and Canada. The parent company marketed the company very intensively and so in just a few years the company rose to become one of the largest record labels in the USA. In 1925, Brunswick took over Vocalion Records , which was best known for its blues and jazz recordings. Together with the Victor Talking Machine Company and Columbia Records , Brunswick Records was one of the so-called "Big Three" in the record business.
Brunswick published almost every style of music that existed in the 1920s. In addition to jazz artists such as Al Jolson , Isham Jones , Ben Bernie and Abe Lyman , classical orchestras such as the New York String Quartet, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic were also under contract. Even folk - and old-time musicians like Frank Ferera , Buell Kazee , Dock Boggs , Mac and Bob , Vernon Dalhart , Lowe Stokes and Hoke Rice took on Brunswick plates. The label was less successful in the blues , although every other company had so-called "race records" recorded during this time, which were aimed specifically at the Afro-American market. One of the few black groups at Brunswick were Andrew & Jim Baxter .
In 1926, the German Polyphonwerke AG signed a contract with Brunswick Records to exchange licenses and matrices. As a result, records appeared in Germany primarily with American jazz music under the trademarks Brunswick-Balke, Brunswick-Balcolco or Brunswick-Ba-Co. The German Patent Office rejected the word "Brunswick" without additions until 1930 because the name of a city had to be freely available. Only then was the label approved as "known to the public".
Subsidiary of Warner Brothers
In April 1930, the Brunswick Corporation sold the Brunswick Records company to Warner Brothers, who hoped to use the company to better manage the switch to the sound film. A number of well-known artists were signed under Warner Brothers, including Noah Beery , Charles King , J. Harold Murray , the Mills Brothers and Bing Crosby , who quickly became the label's biggest star.
Lease to various companies
Due to technical problems and the slump in sales as a result of the Depression, Brunswick Records was leased to the American Record Corporation (ARC) in December 1931 . Business figures continued to deteriorate and the company was forced to sell the bankrupt British subsidiary Brunswick Limited to Decca Records .
In 1939 ARC was taken over by the well-known media company CBS . This stopped the production of the Brunswick label in 1940. This, as well as sales figures that did not correspond to the lease agreement, led to the termination of the lease agreement between Warner Brothers and ARC or CBS. As a result, the label was sold to Decca Records USA, in which Warner Brothers was also involved.
Subsidiary of Decca Records
In 1944, Decca revitalized the Brunswick label, mainly by re-issuing previous hits, particularly Bing Crosby's 1931 hits and jazz music from the 1920s.
Since Decca Records USA only had the naming rights to Decca in the USA, one released after the Second World War outside the USA under the labels Brunswick Records. From 1962 the American Decca Records Inc. became a division of MCA Inc. , which in 1968 united the labels Brunswick Records and Coral Records under the new label MCA Records.
Notable artists who were under contract with Brunswick between 1916 and 1940 include:
- Bing Crosby
- Buell Kazee
- Wendell Hall
- Hoke Rice
- Duke Ellington
- AA Gray
- Vernon Dalhart
- Louis Armstrong
- Lowe Stokes
- Teddy Wilson
Brunswick also played an important role in rock'n'roll in the 1950s. Some of these artists were:
- Official site
- Brunswick Records: The Early Years by RJ Wakeman ( Memento from February 10, 2005 in the Internet Archive )
- Brunswick Records: From Brunswick to Warner Bros., Decca, et al.
- History of Brunswick and Vocalion