The stories of EMI and Virgin are fascinating and are an integral part of the history of how the worldwide music industry was formed and how we have shaped and developed the business over the years.These are stories that will continue to evolve…

Emile Berliner, a German immigrant, files Letters Patent in USA for his ‘Gramophone’ method of recording and reproducing sound.
Emile Berliner’s hand operated Gramophones are exported from Germany to Britain. Alfred Clark joins the Edison laboratories to carry out research work on the phonograph.
The Berliner Gramophone Company is formed in Philadelphia by Will C Jones, the records being made from vulcanized rubber.
Alfred Clark leaves Edison to join Emile Berliner and helps to invent a hand-driven Gramophone fitted with speed-regulating governor.
William Barry Owen, Director of the National Gramophone Company in New York, arrives in Britain to exploit Berliner Gramophone patents. Resigning from the NGC he sets up business in the Hotel Cecil, London.
The Gramophone Company is formed by William Barry Owen and Trevor Williams, initially at the Hotel Cecil, but moving on May 16 to 31 Maiden Lane. Provisional arrangements are made to manufacture Gramophone Records and assemble machines in Germany.

July 23: Fred Gaisberg, a young recording engineer and talent scout, previously working for Emile Berliner, leaves New York for London to join The Gramophone Company as its first recording engineer.

August 2: Fred Gaisberg makes his first recording in London. It is sung by Syria Lamonte, a barmaid at Rules Restaurant in Maiden Lane.
February 11: The Gramophone Company purchases the European and British Empire rights in E R Johnson’s new process for the manufacture and duplication of sound recordings, based on cutting the master recording into the wax blank.

August 25: The Gramophone Company Ltd is formed in London. Trevor Lloyd Williams becomes first Chairman and Barry Owen is appointed to the board.

September 15: Francis Barraud’s painting “His Master’s Voice” is purchased by The Gramophone Company.

The average speed of record pressing is ten per hour from each matrix.
January: The first appearance of the “His Master’s Voice” picture on the Company’s advertising material - the Record Supplement for January 1900.

May 1: The Gramophone Company begins recording by the new Johnson Wax process.
The Gramophone & Typewriter Ltd orders its first 10” diameter recording machine from E R Johnson in the USA.
April 11: Enrico Caruso records for the first time in Milan. He records 10 songs for a fee of £100. The records were all made in the space of two hours in the afternoon.
June: The G&T introduces the 12” diameter disc to its territories. Louis (later Sir Louis) Sterling joins the G&T in London. The Danish branch is opened as Skandinavisk Gramophone A/S.
December 12: Land, on which it is proposed to build a British factory, is purchased at Hayes, Middlesex.
January 21: The Company is granted the Royal Warrant of Her Majesty Queen Alexandra.

February 9: Edward Lloyd, tenor, cuts the first sod from the field site at Hayes for the factory which is to be built there. Cost of the silver spade used by Mr Lloyd is £6.10/-, plus 15/- for the engraving - total cost £7.5/- (£7.25). The spade was acquired by EMI in 1994 in a house auction for £5,000!

May 13: Madame (later Dame) Nellie Melba lays the foundation stone for the Power House at the Hayes factory site.

November 18: The Company drops the “Typewriter” from its name and returns to being “The Gramophone Company Limited”.
June: The first record is pressed at the new Hayes factory. Commercial pressing commences in July.

Christabel Pankhurst records a speech on Women’s Suffrage.
February: “Nipper”, the Gramophone Dog, makes his first appearance on British “His Master’s Voice” record labels.
June: A Gramophone and records go with Captain Scott on his Antarctic Expedition. The gramophone was brought back to Britain and is now part of the EMI Records Archive.
June: The new recording studio is opened at the Blythe Road, Hayes Head Office. Head Office buys all chickens in the neighbourhood to prevent their cackling being picked up by the recording apparatus.
Summer: Factories now in operation in England, Germany, France, Austria, Russia, Spain, India and Poland.

Branches now operating in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Alexandria, Calcutta and Bombay.
August 14: Outbreak of war. Drastic economies made at Hayes and the branches. Large numbers of staff are dismissed; those remaining take a 25% cut in salary. London staff are transferred to Hayes and war work commences. Munitions and aircraft parts are manufactured under Government control.
March 22: His Majesty George V and Queen Mary visit the Hayes factory.
Government control of the Hayes factory is released and reconstitution of peace time trade is commenced.
June 9: Announcement that the capital of The Gramophone Company Ltd is to be doubled from £850,000 to £1,700,000 by the creation of 850,000 ordinary shares @ £1 each. The whole of these shares are taken up, at a £212,500 premium, by the Victor Talking Machine Company, who thus gained control.

September: E R Johnson, President of The Victor Talking Machine Company, joins the board of The Gramophone Company Ltd. While in London he conceived the idea of an automatic gramophone.
July 20: The Gramophone Company’s new premises in Oxford Street are opened by Sir Edward Elgar.
August 24: Francis Barraud, painter of the “His Master’s Voice” pictures, dies.
Electrical recording is introduced, using the Western Electric System.
The Gramophone Company opens it’s first Australian record plant in Erskineville, Sydney
New record plant opened in Homebush, Sydney
Leonard George Wood joins The Gramophone Company Ltd at Hayes in the order Department of the English Branch.
April 21: The Gramophone Company Ltd and The Columbia Gramophone Company Ltd merge and register a holding company - “Electric and Musical Industries Ltd” Alfred Clark (The Gramophone Company) becomes Chairman, and Louis Sterling (The Columbia Company) becomes Managing Director.

November 12: Sir Edward Elgar opens the new EMI Recording Studios at Abbey Road, St John’s Wood.

December: Alan Blumlein produces his master patent for binaural (stereo) recording and reproduction.
HMV records H M King George V’s first Christmas broadcast to the Empire.
July 8: EMI (Ireland) is formed.
September 3: War is declared. The company’s factories are largely given over to war work.
July 7: A flying bomb hits the Hayes factory. The bomb fell very near the entrance to a surface shelter and the occupants, with others caught in the open, either killed or injured. Thirty seven employees were killed and fifty six injured.
The Australian company begins trading as EMI (Australia) Pty Ltd, and moves into 301 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
June: The Decca Record Company launches the 33rpm microgroove Long Playing record in Britain.
EMI (Australia) moves it’s recording studio to 301 Castlereagh Street. This studio later becomes known as Studio 301.
First release by EMI of 33rpm microgroove Long Playing records.

Microgroove 7” 45rpm singles (Classical & Pop) are released by EMI
April: EMI launches its Mono Extended Play 7” 45rpm records.

June: Mr Joseph (later Sir Joseph) Lockwood is appointed to the Board of Electric & Musical Industries Ltd.

Negotiations begin for the purchase of Capitol Records Inc, USA.
Sir Alexander Aiken resigns as Chairman of EMI Ltd and is succeeded by Joseph Lockwood.
Contract is signed for EMI to purchase control of Capitol Records Inc.
January: EMI makes its initial release of Capitol Records in Britain.
September: EMI launches stereo LP’s.
May: L G Wood is appointed Managing Director of EMI Records Ltd.

September: EMI launches stereo extended play 7” 45rpm records.
January: Joseph Lockwood, Chairman of the company, is knighted in the New Year’s Honours list.

February 19: The last 78rpm record on EMI labels is issued in Britain - “Rule Britannia” and “Royal Event” by Russ Conway.

June 20: EMI Records are now operating from EMI House, 20 Manchester Square, W1.
Capitol records Inc enters the Japanese market by acquiring a joint interest in Toshiba Musical Industries Tokyo, with Tokyo Shibaura Electric Company.

April 27: The HMV store in Oxford Street now devotes its sales to records and accessories only.

June: Colour printed inner bags for LP’s are introduced.
February 2: First release of American Liberty Records material in Britain.

June 4: The Beatles sign their first contract with Parlophone.

June 15: EMI launches the Stateside label in Britain for repertoire licensed from American labels.

October: The Beatles’ first single “Love Me Do” is released by Parlophone.
EMI releases its first pre-recorded cassettes.
January 1: Electrical & Musical Industries changes its name to EMI Records Ltd. “It is felt that such a change is appropriate for two reasons: first because our present name no longer reflects our wide span of activities and interests; and secondly, the initials EMI have become our primary means identification throughout the world”.
April: EMI releases it first ‘Q4’ quadraphonic LP disc.
November 28: Sir Joseph Lockwood retires as Chairman of EMI Ltd, but remains on the board. He is succeeded by Mr John E Read, Deputy Chairman and Chief executive of the Company.
October: EMI Records sign an unknown group “offering some promise” - The Sex Pistols.
October 11: EMI America Records Inc is incorporated in Hollywood, California.
L G Wood receives the CBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

July 1: Bhaskar Menon becomes Chief Executive of EMI Music Europe and International in London and Capitol Industries in America.

EMI Records honoured by Queen’s Award for Export Achievement.
November 6: EMI Ltd Board recommends THORN’s revised offer of £169 Million to its shareholders. A new company THORN EMI is to be formed. THORN’s Chairman Sir Richard Cave will be Chairman of the new company. Sir John Read, Chairman of EMI Ltd will become deputy Chairman and Lord Delfont and Bhaskar Menon will join the new board. Lord Delfont will become Chairman of a separate subsidiary embracing EMI’s activities in music, leisure and entertainment.
February 25: Sir Joseph Lockwood resigns from the Board of EMI Ltd, having been a director for 26 Years (20 of these as Chairman).

September: L G Wood resigns from the Board of EMI Ltd, having been connected with the company for 51 years.
April 1: Peter Jamison is appointed Managing Director of record Operations, UK & Ireland.

April: EMI Music announces its support of the Compact Disc. First releases are planned for mid-1983.
EMI Australia joint venture with Sony Australia to form EDC (Entertainment Distributors Company) with a custom designed warehouse at Eastern Creek in Sydney.
April 12: Colin Southgate is appointed Managing Director of THORN EMI.

July: EMI Music announces a major investment in the mastering and manufacture of Compact Discs, utilising the clean air facilities originally set up for videodisc. Production is to begin in early 1986.
May 15: EMI’s first compact disc factory opens in Swindon.
EMI Australia outgrows Castlereagh Street office and moves to present location in Cremorne, Sydney.
EMI Music purchases a 50% interest in Chrysalis Records.
June: EMI Music acquires Richard Branson’s Virgin Records.
EMI Australia forms DATA (Digital Audio Technologies Australia) as a joint venture with Warner Music, a leading edge compact disc plant.
EMI Records UK honoured by The Queen’s Award for Export Achievement for the second time.
EMI celebrates its centenary.
Alain Levy and David Munns become Chairman and Vice Chairman of EMI Recorded Music
EMI Recorded Music becomes EMI Music to better reflect that consumers can gain access to EMI’s music many different ways in addition to buying records.
EMI sells DATA to Summit as part of a global EMI strategy to outsource manufacturing
EMI sells first digital music

Edited by thekiwi on 9 Nov 2007, 00:39

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