Former stockbroker Edward Lewis formed The Decca Record Company Limited in the United Kingdom in 1929. It was founded for Brunswick Ltd., which was founded locally by Brunswick-Balke-Collender and the German Polyphon Musik. By 1939, it was the only record company in UK aside from EMI Records Ltd. (previously The Gramophone Co. Ltd.). Within years, Decca was the second largest record company in the world, calling itself "The Supreme Record Company".
A US branch was launched in 1934. This branch was sold off during World War II, becoming Decca Records, Inc., with Decca as house brand. 'The Decca Record Company Limited, London' started the London Records label to release their material in North America, since they could not use the Decca trademark there anymore.
The 1970s were disastrous for The Decca Company. Although Decca set up the first of the British "progressive" labels, Deram, in 1966, by the time the punk era set in 1977, Decca was known primarily as a classical label. Company founder Edward Lewis died in January 1980, and PolyGram acquired the remains of The Decca Record Company Ltd. alone with subsidaries within days of his death.
As of 1980s/90s the companies principal activities were the export of gramophone records, music cassettes and compact discs, recording, licensing and marketing of mainly classical audio and video repertoire and the exploitation of copyrights held by its rich back catalogue. - including the rights held by its dormant wholly owned subsidiary companies - Qualiton Records (1968) Ltd., Argo Record Company Limited, Decca Artists Ltd. (Switzerland), Decca Recordings (Europe) Ltd. and Brunswick Ltd.
On the 10th Dec 1998 the ultimate parent became the "The Seagram Company Ltd." (whom already owned the Universal Music Group) after acquiring Polygram N.V.( PolyGram) the companies former parent. On the 20th Oct 1999 prior to the name change, The Decca Record Company Ltd acquired the "Philips Music Group division" from "Seagram".
Also referred to as:
· Decca Record Company Ltd
· The Decca Record Co. Ltd.
· The Decca Record Co., Ltd.
. Decca Record Company Ltd (UK)
· The Decca Record Company