Electric & Musical Industries Ltd.


Major British based multinational conglomerate operating from 1931 to 1971. (Later known as EMI Ltd.) (This is a company, not a label.)
Electric & Musical Industries Ltd. (often simply referred to as EMI.) is represented on releases by its corporate trademark "boxed EMI logo" mostly alongside primary branded labels such as His Master's Voice, Columbia or Parlophone etc, this branding simply indicates that it was released by one of its subsidiary company's or their labels, which formed part of its record division.

aka. Electric & Musical Industries Limited / E.M.I. Ltd.

Principal activities through its worldwide subsidiary companies and branches - included the manufacture and sale of records and tapes, sound recording, music publishing, film production and distribution, retail, medical, industrial and military defence electronics, domestic electronic products and cinemas.

Electric & Musical Industries Ltd. (E.M.I. Ltd.) (EMI) was founded and incorporated on the 20th Apr 1931 through the merger and acquisition of Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd. and The Gramophone Co. Ltd., 2 principal companies that were already operating established international branches and subsidiaries in other parts of world, including France, Germany, US, Australia, New Zealand, India and Africa.

Following the merger, Radio Corporation Of America, Inc (RCA) initially had a stake in the new company due to its links with The Gramophone Co. Ltd., until selling their equity in 1935, but because of its takeover of Victor Talking Machine Co. in 1929, RCA retained the North and South American rights to the "Nipper" trademark. In other countries however, rights to the Dog and Phonograph logo His Master's Voice was owned by The Gramophone Co. Ltd. In 1956 Electric & Musical Industries Ltd., after more than a half a century of collaboration, ended the matrix and exchange agreements between RCA-Victor and The Gramophone Co. Ltd.

In 1931 the company was forced to sell the Columbia Graphophone Co. Ltd. American subsidiary - Columbia Phonograph Company, Inc. (owner of the Columbia mark in North America), ownership passed to the Grigsby-Grunow Company in late 1931, and to the American Record Corp. in 1934. In 1938, American Record Corporation (ARC) was subsequently taken over by Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. (CBS), whom establish subsidiary Columbia Recording Corporation (later renamed Columbia Records, Inc.), which then operated "Columbia" as its flagship label in both the US and Canada. However, Columbia Graphophone Co. Ltd. ultimately maintained the rights to the Columbia name in most other territories in the rest of the world, including the UK, most of Europe and the British commonwealth. The rights to the imprint (outside North America) were reassigned to The Gramophone Co. Ltd. in 1965 and continued to operate through affiliated companies until 1973, when it was replaced by "EMI." (the label). In 1953 Electric & Musical Industries (U.S.) Ltd. was subsequently established specifically to market and sell the European "Columbia" catalogue in the USA under The Gramophone Co. Ltd. registered Angel - Angel Records trademark.

Post merger the Spanish operations of TGCL and CGCL, Compañía Del Gramófono S.A.E. and Odeon S.A are subsequently consolidated in 1933 to form Compañia Del Gramofono-Odeon, S.A.E.. (Later renamed EMI-Odeon, S.A. in 1972)

The company establishes Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) in 1934, alongside The Decca Record Company Limited, with Louis Sterling serving as chairman of the PPL board from its incorporation until 1939.

In 1936 the company effects a merger of its of 2 French (indirect subsidiaries) Cie Française Du Gramophone and Compagnie Générale de Etablissements Pathé Fréres Phonographs et Cinematographs., (French subsidiaries of The Gramophone Co. Ltd. and Columbia Graphophone Co. Ltd. respectively) to form Les Industries Musicales Et Electriques Pathé Marconi (Pathé Marconi) , direct owner of the Pathé imprint (label). As of 27th March 2013 successor EMI Music France S.A.S. was still the registered owner the of Pathé trademark.

German operations from 1931 continued to operate under the immediate control of (indirect) subsidiaries, Electrola Gesellschaft m.b.H. and Carl Lindström A.-G. (later known as Carl Lindström GmbH) (These companies would be merged in 1972 to form EMI Electrola GmbH)

The Gramophone Company Ltd. and Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd. had already established research and development departments, in the early 30s this work progressed through its jointly established Central Research Laboratories (CRL) at the Hayes Blythe Road complex, the world’s first system for recording and playing "binaural sound" (stereophonic sound) was developed by one of its scientists, Alan Blumlein (although stereo recordings would not be widely commercially available for another 25 years). The company became increasingly involved within the electronics market, specifically within the domestic, industrial, military defence and medical science sectors, establishing and acquiring numerous new (non music related) companies over the next 4 decades, which carried out pioneering research and development, into e.g. stereo sound recording, studio recording consoles, vinyl presses, photomultipliers, magnetic tape, radar systems, guided missiles, televisions, radios, broadcasting, cameras, computing, integrated circuits, CT scanners.

In 1948 E.M.I. (Australia) Pty. Limited is founded to head Australian operations and takeover the activities formerly carried out by Columbia Graphophone (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., The Gramophone Co. Ltd. (2), Parlophone Co. Ltd.. Known as EMI (Australia) Limited from 1957, which operated the publishing arm Castle Music Pty. Ltd. & Belinda Music (Aust) Pty. Ltd.. New Zealand operations would continue to operate under the control of His Master's Voice (NZ) Limited, which was established in 1926 by TGCL.

As of the mid 50s the company (group) primarily operated as 2 main divisions - a records division and an electronics division (headed by E.M.I. Electronics Ltd. - which as of the 1960s included 6 sub divisions). These 2 principal divisions formed the backbone of what became generically known as Electric & Musical Industries Group (EMI Group). (Not to be confused with EMI Group Plc ,which was a successor company formed in 1996 and purely operating within the music / entertainment industry).

In 1956 E.M.I. Records Limited was established to head / oversea the record division internationally, Capitol Records, Inc. was subsequently acquired in 1955 and would oversea North American operations.

The first in-house publishing company was established in 1958 as Ardmore & Beechwood Ltd. (formed following the acquisition of Capitol Records, Inc. which included its publishing arm Ardmore Music Corp. & Beechwood Music Corp.). Further acquiring in 1969 the publishing companies Central Songs, Inc. and the "K.P.M. Music Publishing Group" - Keith Prowse Music Pub. Co. Ltd., Peter Maurice Music Co. Ltd., KPM Music Ltd., World Copyrights Ltd., Macmelodies Ltd. and Al Gallico Music Corp.

In 1959/60 introduced the "boxed "EMI" logo, as its new principal corporate trademark, replacing [Invalid Label]s former corporate logo used throughout the 50s. In late 1963/64 the company also introduced the "EMI record/globe" "specifically "EMI" and a halved oval design, the left half consisting of the stylized representation of a phonograph record and the right half consisting of a representation of a terrestrial globe". - this new trademark logo represented the record division.

The record division is reorganised in 1965, E.M.I. Records Limited, The Parlophone Co. Ltd., Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd. were merged into The Gramophone Co. Ltd. which becomes the principal company behind the division (and the H.M.V. record stores), subsequently bringing the labels (trademark rights) and catalogues of these companies and subsidiaries under one administrative control and direct ownership. From this period the credit "E.M.I. Records (The Gramophone Co. Ltd.)" often appears on releases (and official company docs) - E.M.I. Records being the trading name (division name) of The Gramophone Co. Ltd. (The Gramophone Co. Ltd. was renamed EMI Records Ltd. on the 1st July 1973 and subsequently took over this role.)

A majority holding is acquired in N.V. Bovema (including N.V. Negram & N.V. Negram-Delta) in 1967, a company with close ties dating back to the 1940s.

In 1968 US subsidiary Capitol Records, Inc. merges with Audio Devices, Inc., forming the new holding company behind North American operations Capitol Industries, Inc., the following year Electric & Musical Industries Ltd. and this newly formed company both acquire 25% stake each in the Japanese company Toshiba Musical Industries Ltd. (Later renamed Toshiba EMI Ltd in 1973)

As part of its growing leisure entertainment operations, which already included "The Grade Organisation" (established by Bernard Delfont), the company acquired Associated British Picture Corporation (A.B.P.C.) and its substantial chain of 260 cinemas, Elstree Studios, ITV contractor Thames Television Ltd. and "Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors Ltd. in 1969, the latter subsequently being merged into its other film distribution company Associated British Pathe Ltd. to form Anglo-E.M.I Distributors Ltd. In 1970 the company also entered into certain arrangements with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (MGM), with both companies collaborating on certain productions at Elstree and establishing the jointly owned distribution company - MGM-EMI Distributors Ltd.

As of 1970 the company was employing 42.000 people worldwide and operating over 60 principal subsidiaries, 23 UK based companies of which 11 were music related and formed part of the record division, the other 12 consisted of electronic, medical and defence companies which now operated as part of 14 sub divisions. Overseas the company was operating 39 wholly owned / majority owned principal subsidiaries in 26 countries (not including the various local subsidiaries and joint partnerships.)

Principal companies that formed part of the recorded music operations as of 1970 - included: UK - The Gramophone Co. Ltd., Music For Pleasure Limited, The World Record Club Limited, His Master's Voice (Record Shops) Ltd., (H.M.V.), ("K.P.M. Music Publishing Group" head of publishing operations Keith Prowse Music Pub. Co. Ltd., Thames Television Ltd. 60%), Austria - Oesterreichische Columbia Graphophon Gesellschaft m.b.H., Belgium - S.A. Gramophone N.V., Denmark - Electric & Musical Industries (Dansk-Engelsk) A/S, (Bang & Olufsen 50%), Ireland - E.M.I. (Ireland) Ltd., France - Les Industries Musicales Et Electriques Pathé Marconi (A.k.a. Pathé Marconi), Germany - Electrola Gesellschaft m.b.H., Carl Lindström GmbH, Greece - Columbia Gramophone Company Greece Ltd., E.M.I.-Lambropoulos Bros. S.A. (50%) (EMIAL), Italy - Electric & Musical Industries Italiana S.p.A, Switzerland - Emiag-Verkaufs AG der Electric and Musical lndustries Ltd., E.M.I Records (Switzerland) A.G.- (EMI Records (Switzerland) AG), Spain - Compañia Del Gramofono-Odeon, S.A.E., Sweden - Electric & Musical Industries Ltd. Svenska AB, Norway - EMI Norsk AS, The Netherlands - N.V. Bovema, Turkey - Gramofon Limitet Şirketi, Nigeria - E.M.I. (Nigeria) Ltd. (EMI (Nigeria) Ltd.), Record Manufacturers Nigeria Ltd. [R.M.N.L.], South Africa - E.M.I. (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd., Australia - E.M.I. (Australia) Ltd. (EMI (Australia) Limited), New Zealand - His Master's Voice (NZ) Limited, USA - Capitol Industries, Inc. (immediate parent of Capitol Records, Inc. from 1968), Canada - Capitol Records (Canada) Ltd., Mexico - Discos Capitol De Mexico, S.A., Singapore - E.M.I. Records (S. E. A.) Pte. Ltd., Malaysia - E.M.I. (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., Hong Kong - Electric & Musical Industries (H.K.) LTD., Pakistan - The Gramophone Company Of Pakistan Ltd., India - The Gramophone Company Of India Ltd., Argentina - Industrias Electricas Y Musicales Odeon S.A.I.C., Brazil - Indústrias Elétricas E Musicais Fábrica Odeon S.A.,Chile - Industrias Eléctricas y Musicales Odeon, S.A., Lebanon - E.M.I. Lebanon S.A.L., Japan - Toshiba Musical Industries Ltd. (50%)

In 1970 the board requested approval from shareholders to change the name of the company, quote "Our present name no longer reflects are wide span of activities and interests, secondly, The initials "EMI" have become are primary means of identification throughout the world". In Jan 1971 the company was renamed EMI Ltd. (The removal of "periods" between "E.M.I." company names was reflected across the board within this time period 1971/72, with the majority of its companies being slightly rebranded / renamed.)

Following the introduction of the companies boxed "EMI" corporate trademark, this logo was commonly placed on releases alongside primary branded labels such as - His Master's Voice, Regal Zonophone, Angel Records, Stateside, Harvest, Encore!, Regal, Electrola, Columbia, Parlophone, Odeon, Capitol Records, Pathé etc.., the logo simply indicates it was released by one of its operating companies (subsidiaries) who were the direct registered trademark owners of these primary labels / brands.

Trademarks used by its other operating companies (electronics) included - Emitron, Emitape, Emiscope, Marconiphone, G. Marconi, Morpy Richards, Ardente

Sublabels:Carl Lindström A.-G., Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd., Compañia Del Gramofono-Odeon, S.A.E., E.M.I. (Australia) Pty. Limited, E.M.I. (Ireland) Ltd., E.M.I. International Limited, E.M.I. Lebanon S.A.L., E.M.I. Ltd., E.M.I. Records (S. E. A.) Pte. Ltd., E.M.I. Records (South East Asia) Limited, ...
Contact Info:

Headquarters (since 1960:)
Electric & Musical Industries Limited
EMI House
20 Manchester Square
W1 1ES,

Blyth Road Complex.

1931 - 1960:
8-11 Great Castle Street
London W1


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