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Melodiya

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Genre  Various
Official website  www.melody.su
Countries of origin  Soviet Union, Russia
Country of origin  USSR, Russia
Founded  1964
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Melodiya (Russian: Μелодия, meaning melody) is a Russian (formerly Soviet) record label. It was the state-owned major record company/label of the Soviet Union.

Contents

History

It was established in 1964 as the "All-Union Gramophone Record Firm of the USSR Ministry of Culture Melodiya". It utilized gigantic resources of numerous recording studios, manufacturing facilities throughout the USSR as well as powerful centres of distribution and promotion system. The best selling format at the time was 33⅓ and 78 rpm vinyl records. As of 1973 Melodiya released some 1,200 gramophone records with the total circulation of 190-200 million per year and 1 million compact cassettes per year and was exporting its production into more than 70 countries.

The firm's production was dominated by classical music and music by Soviet composers and musicians, performances by Soviet theater actors, fairy tales for children, etc. For example, Melodiya released performances of works by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, which were valued for their authenticity. Melodiya also released some of the most successful western pop, jazz and rock records which included ABBA, Paul McCartney, Boney M., Dave Grusin, Amanda Lear, and Bon Jovi. The firm "Melodiya" regularly released records popular Soviet singers, among whom were Alla Pugacheva, Vladimir Vysotsky, Bulat Okudzhava, Sofia Rotaru, Mikhail Boyarsky, Valery Leontiev, Alexander Barykin, Vladimir Kuzmin, rock groups "Autograph (Russian band)", "Mashina Vremeni (eng. "Time machine"),"Cruise (band)", etc.

In other countries, Melodiya recordings imported from the USSR were often sold under the label MK, which stood for Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga ("International Book", Russian: Μеждународная Книга). In the United States, many Melodiya recordings appeared on the domestically manufactured Monitor Records label. In the 1970s and 1980s, Melodiya recordings of classical and folk music appeared on the Melodiya/Angel (USA) and Melodiya/HMV (elsewhere) labels as the result of an exclusive contract with EMI, the owner of both labels. A smaller number of recordings were distributed on other labels, particularly after 1989, before Melodiya granted exclusive rights to BMG in 1994. In at least one instance, one Melodiya record album, Gennady Rozhdestvensky's recording of Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker, made in 1960, appeared on LP in the U.S. on the Columbia Masterworks label. After expiry of the BMG contract in 2003, the company re-opened under new management and in 2006 started re-releasing recordings under its own label.

Being state owned until April 1989, the Soviet recording industry was able to apply a single numbering system to all its releases from 1933 onwards irrespective of origin or place of manufacture. The number sequences for 78s and LPs are strictly chronological, from which it is possible to date many, though not all, releases from the catalogue number

Since 2008, some of Melodiya records are available to North American listeners through the Canadian classical label Analekta which is distributed by Entertainment One Distribution in the USA and Distribution Select in Canada.

Since Mongolia had no state record label, Melodiya also operated there, releasing records by groups such as Soyol-Erdene and Bayan Mongol. It operated under the name Mongol Ayalguu (Монгол Аялгуу, Mongolian Voice), however the Melodiya logo also appeared on record sleeves. All releases had the track list, credits and artist name listed in Mongolian, Russian and English.

Notable artists

Thousands of artists have appeared on the Melodiya label. For a partial list, see List of Melodiya Records artists.

References

Melodiya Wikipedia


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