33 Facts About RCA Victor


RCA Records is the corporate successor of the Victor Talking Machine Company, founded in 1901, making it the second-oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records, founded in 1889.

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RCA Victor catalogue includes records by influential artists such as Elvis Presley, David Bowie, The Kinks, Nina Simone, Diana Ross, Harry Belafonte, ABBA and Sam Cooke.

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In 1929, the Radio Corporation of America purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company, then the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs and phonograph records.

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In September 1931, RCA Victor introduced the first 33? rpm records sold to the public, calling them "Program Transcriptions".

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In 1933, RCA Victor reintroduced Bluebird and Electradisk as a standard 10-inch label.

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RCA Victor produced records for Montgomery Ward label during the 1930s.

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From 1942 to 1944, RCA Victor was seriously impacted by the American Federation of Musicians recording ban.

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However, RCA Victor lost the Philadelphia Orchestra during this period; the orchestra's contract with RCA Victor expired during the strike and when Columbia Records settled with the union before RCA, Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphians signed a new contract with Columbia and began recording in 1944.

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In heavy promotion, RCA Victor sold compact, inexpensive add-on and stand-alone units that played the 45 rpm format exclusively.

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At first, RCA Victor's 45s were issued on colored vinyl according to the musical genre: contemporary pop music on black vinyl, prestigious Broadway musicals and operettas on "midnight blue" vinyl, classical music on red vinyl, country and polka on green, children's fare on yellow, rhythm and blues on orange or cerise, and international on light blue.

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RCA Victor finally bowed to the inevitable and announced its intention to issue LPs in January 1950.

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When RCA Victor later issued classical stereo albums, they used the prefix "LSC".

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RCA Victor officially announced the formation of label "X" on April 20,1953.

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RCA Victor released a number of recordings with the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra, which was usually drawn from either Philadelphia or New York musicians, as well as members of the Symphony of the Air, and the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera.

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On October 6,1953, RCA Victor held experimental stereophonic sessions in New York City's Manhattan Center with Leopold Stokowski conducting a group of New York City musicians in performances of George Enescu's Roumanian Rhapsody No 1 and the waltz from Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin.

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In February 1954, RCA Victor made its first commercial stereophonic recordings, taping the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Munch, in a performance of The Damnation of Faust by Hector Berlioz.

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RCA Victor has continued to reissue many of these recordings on CD.

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In September 1954, RCA Victor introduced "Gruve-Gard" where the center and edge of a record are thickerthan the playing area, reducing scuff marks during handling and when stacked on a turntable with an automatic record changer.

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In 1955, RCA Victor purchased the recording contract of Elvis Presley from Sun Records for the then-astronomical sum of $35,000.

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RCA Victor would sell ten million Presley singles during 1956.

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RCA Victor set up its own British manufacturing and distribution in 1969.

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RCA Victor issued several spoken word albums in the 1950s and 60s, notably the soundtracks of the films Richard III, A Man for All Seasons and The Taming of the Shrew, as well as complete versions of the National Theatre of Great Britain stage productions of Othello and Much Ado About Nothing.

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In 1963, RCA Victor introduced Dynagroove which added computer technology to the disc cutting process, ostensibly to improve sound reproduction.

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In late 1969, RCA Victor Records introduced a very thin, lightweight vinyl LP known as Dynaflex.

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Jamieson overhauled RCA Victor, eliminating a layer of middle management and retooling the label's marketing department.

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In 2015, RCA Victor Records reinstated its classic 1968 space-age 'RCA Victor' styled logo after utilizing the old lightning bolt logo since 1987.

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RCA Victor artists including Isaac Dunbar, Cam, and Citizen Queen performed.

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RCA Victor has recorded and released recordings of revival stagings of musicals.

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RCA Victor was responsible for the film soundtrack albums of Damn Yankees, South Pacific, Bye Bye Birdie, Half a Sixpence, and The Sound of Music.

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RCA Victor retained some of the more important masters, but it is uncertain just how many others were saved or lost.

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In 1973, to celebrate the centenary of Rachmaninoff's birth, RCA Victor decided to reissue his complete recordings on LP; RCA Victor was forced to go to collectors for copies of certain records because their archives were incomplete, as documented in a Time magazine article.

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RCA Victor used this label for its American 45 rpm records during the Dynagroove era from 1965 to 1968.

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Standard black RCA Victor label used on vinyl LPs issued in the Americas from 1976 to 1989; 45 rpm records used a similar label.

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