The company and record factory Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft mbH or Deutsche Grammophon was founded in Hannover. It operates or has operated famous labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Grammophon, Archiv Produktion, Heliodor, and Polydor.
Deutsche Grammophon GmbH was originally founded on 6th December 1898 by the brothers Joseph, Jacob and inventor Emile Berliner in Hanover as the German branch of E. Berliner's Gramophone Company. The record factory was placed into the J. Berliner - Telefonfabrik. The telephone factory was founded as early as 1881 when the U.S. citizen Emile Berliner visited Hanover. Because of Emil Berliner's innovations to the microphone, gramophone and the gramophone record, Deutsche Grammophon was designed to become a record plant. The client The Gramophone Co. Ltd. for the British markets was founded earlier in the same year in England.
From 1900 to 1937, the company generally traded as Deutsche Grammophon-Aktiengesellschaft (AG) and was lead from Berlin, but starting in 1917, during World War I, DG was part of Polyphonwerke AG and was called Polyphon-Grammophon-Konzern. Polyphonwerke AG was also the early home of label Polydor. The owner, Polyphonwerke AG, was merged with Deutsche Grammophon AG in 1932.
Second history of the Deutsche Grammophon GmbH:
1937: The AG was liquidated and renamed again into Deutsche Grammophon GmbH. The financial owners were Deutsche Bank and Telefunken Gesellschaft. This meant that Telefunken Platte GmbH, which had been founded in 1932, acquired the production plant they needed.
1941: Deutsche Grammophon GmbH was sold to the Siemens & Halske AG electronics company. Siemens Spezial was started for classical records and Siemens Polydor for popular music.
1945: World War II totally ruined the factories and offices at Hanover. A small factory was relocated to Berlin, while the factory and headquarters in Hanover were being rebuilt.
1946: After decades of serving mainly as a record factory for the DG, the old leftover Polydor by Polyphon Musik became a label for popular music. In France, however, Polydor was the only label instead of becoming Deutsche Grammophon-label. No one was interested in buying anything that contained "Deutsche" in its name.
1949: For classical music DGG introduced for the first time a label under its own name, the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft-label. The previously used label, Grammophon, was disbanded. In an agreement dated 5 July 1949, DGG gave an exclusive license to use the Nipper dog with gramophone long to the original owner Electrola, the German branch of EMI, effective 1 July 1951.
1954: The English subsidiary Polydor Records Ltd. was established in London.
1956: The administrative headquarter was relocated to Hamburg. French and Austrian subsidiaries Polydor S.A. Française and Polydor-Schallplatten-Gesellschaft mbH were established in Paris and Vienna respectively.
1958: The final label Deutsche Grammophon adopted the now-famous label design featuring a yellow cartouche bordered by a garland of tulips.
1959: Opening of the manufacturing plant "Werk II" in Langenhagen near Hanover.
1962: Siemens forms a joint venture with Netherlands based Philips to create the DGG/PPI Record Group.
1969: US and Indian subsidiaries Polydor Incorporated and Polydor of India Ltd. were established in New York City and Bombay respectively.
1971: PolyGram was established as a holding company for the DGG company Polydor International and the Philips company Phonogram International.
1987: Siemens sold most of their shares and Philips acquired a 90% ownership of the PolyGram; when the company went public, Philips' ownership was reduced to 75%.
1998: Seagram Company Ltd of Canada purchased PolyGram and merged it with Seagram-owned MCA Music Entertainment. Since then, Deutsche Grammophon has been integrated into the Universal Music Group, becoming a key part of Universal Classics along with Decca. It also manages the classical output of American Decca (2) and Westminster Records, both originally owned by MCA Records.
2000: Seagram sold Universal Music Group to the French media company Vivendi.