Our cookie policy

We have a new cookie policy which explains why we use cookies, the types of cookies we use and how we deal with the information collected. It also explains how cookies enable this site to function properly, how we use them and why you will not be able to experience the full functionality of the site if you disable the use of cookies.

If you wish to disable the use of cookies or amend your current cookie settings, please go to your browser's "help" section and follow the guidance. If you continue browsing without disabling cookies you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Top Tags

Timeline

1887
Emile Berliner demonstrates the first gramophone, the technical foundation of the record business

1897
The Gramophone Company and Columbia Phonograph open for business in London

1898
The Gramophone Company makes its first recordings

Branches open in Germany, France, Italy and central Europe

1899
The Gramophone Company buys Francis Barraud’s painting, ‘His Master’s Voice’ (with ‘Nipper’ the dog) and adopts the image and title as its trademark

1900
Gramophone Company opens offices in Russia and Australia

1901
10 inch shellac disc introduced

Gramophone Company opens offices in India

1902
Gramophone Company opens offices in Japan and record pressing plant in Russia

Tenor Enrico Caruso becomes Gramophone Company’s first major artist. In his first studio session he records 10 songs in two hours

1903
Gramophone Company presence established in China

The 78 rpm 12-inch shellac disc introduced

1904
Gramophone Company Ltd is listed on the London Stock Exchange

1906
60% of Gramophone Company profits come from outside the UK

1912
Gramophone Company now has factories operating in Austria, England, France, Germany, India, Poland, Spain, Russia and sales branches in 11 countries

1913
One-third of British households now own gramophones

1914
Gramophone Company sells nearly four million records a year

1917
German and Russian Gramophone Company businesses lost as a result of World War I

Columbia Phonograph renamed Columbia Graphophone

1921
Composer Sir Edward Elgar opens the first HMV shop on Oxford Street, London

1925
Gramophone Company starts using an electrical, rather than mechanical, sound recording system

Gramophone Company establishes the Electrola company in Germany

1926
‘O, for the wings of a dove’
by Ernest Lough is the Gramophone Company’s first million-selling release

1927
Columbia Graphophone acquires controlling interest in the parent company of the Parlophone label

1930
Gramophone Company opens in Greece

The Gramophone Company’s artist roster includes Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Thomas Beecham, Arturo Toscanini and Wilhelm Furtwanglar

1931
Gramophone Company merges with Columbia Graphophone to form Electric and Musical Industries (EMI). The new company has operations in 19 countries

EMI scientist Alan Blumlein patents the technology for stereo recording

The world famous recording studios at Abbey Road in London are opened with a recording by Sir Edward Elgar and the London Symphony Orchestra

1946
EMI signs many new artists including Herbert von Karajan and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf

EMI establishes a European licensing agreement with Hollywood studio MGM

1948
Long playing 33rpm vinyl records introduced in the USA

1951
EMI releases its first 33rpm vinyl LP in France. UK releases begin in 1952

1952
EMI releases its first 45rpm singles

Maria Callas signs with EMI

EMI and Angel Records are launched as labels in the US

1955
EMI acquires Capitol Records in Los Angeles, one of the largest record labels in the US whose roster includes Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Les Paul and Gene Vincent

1956
EMI releases the first Elvis Presley hits outside North and South America under a license deal with RCA

1957
EMI Records UK label established

EMI opens company in Mexico

1958
EMI releases the first stereo LP

EMI signs Cliff Richard and releases his first single, ‘Move It’

 

1960
EMI issues its last new 78rpm release in the UK

1961
EMI establishes a joint venture record company with Toshiba in Japan

1962
EMI signs The Beatles and releases their first single, ‘Love Me Do’

Capitol Records releases the first Beach Boys album, ‘Surfin’ Safari’

1964
Eight EMI artists hold the number one position in the British singles charts for a total of 41 weeks

1966
EMI releases its first pre-recorded cassettes

1967
EMI signs Pink Floyd

1969
Harvest Records established by EMI to release progressive rock. Its roster soon includes Deep Purple, Roy Harper, the Edgar Broughton Band, the Electric Light Orchestra and Pink Floyd

EMI buys Keith Prowse Music Publishing and Central Songs

1972
Queen join EMI

1973
EMI purchases Affiliated Music Publishers

EMI releases ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ by Pink Floyd. It stays on the American Billboard album chart for longer than any other album in history – 741 weeks

Virgin Records issues its first release, ‘Tubular Bells’ by Mike Oldfiield

1974
EMI Music Publishing formed

1975
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen released

1976
EMI Music Publishing acquires the Screen Gems and Colgems music publishing companies from Columbia Pictures Industries

Sex Pistols sign to EMI

1977
Sex Pistols sign to Virgin Records

1978
EMI releases the debut album from Kate Bush, ‘The Kick Inside’

1979
EMI purchases the Liberty/United Artists record company which includes the Blue Note label

Iron Maiden sign with EMI

1980
EMI signs Duran Duran

1983
EMI releases its first compact discs

1985
Pet Shop Boys sign to EMI

1986
EMI begins manufacturing CDs

1989
SBK Entertainment World acquired

1990
EMI acquires 50% of Chrysalis Records, purchasing the remaining 50% a year later

Blur join EMI

EMI Music Publishing purchases the Filmtrax catalogue

Keith Urban signs to EMI Music Australia

1991
Radiohead sign to EMI

1992
Acquisition of the Virgin Music Group record labels and publishing catalogues

EMI acquires leading Christian music company Sparrow Records to form EMI Christian Music Group

1993
Astralwerks Records established in New York

1994
EMI takes controlling interest in Japanese joint venture Toshiba-EMI

Leading German independent record company Intercord acquired

1996
EMI acquires 50% of leading US independent Priority Records, acquiring the remaining 50% in 1998

Robbie Williams joins EMI

1997
EMI establishes independent music education charity the EMI Music Sound Foundation.

EMI Music Publishing acquires a 50% stake in the Jobete music publishing catalogue of classic Motown songs

EMI enters Lebanon and Turkey

1998
Massive Attack‘s ‘Mezzanine’ is the first album to have all its tracks streamed over the internet

EMI sells HMV to HMV Media Group joint venture

1999
Hikaru Utada‘s ‘First Love’ becomes the best selling album in Japanese history

Coldplay sign to EMI

Kylie Minogue signs to EMI

Keith Urban releases debut Capitol Records Nashville album ‘Keith Urban’

2000
EMI launches the industry’s first digital album download, David Bowie’s ‘…Hours’

2001
EMI launches the first ever internet video single, ‘Dig In’ by Lenny Kravitz

The Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett inspired virtual band Gorillaz release debut album ‘Gorillaz’

Blue Note Records sign Norah Jones

2002
EMI wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the fourth time

EMI acquires Mute, home to artists including Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

Herbert Grönemeyer’s ‘Mensch’ becomes the best selling German language album of all time

Virgin Records France releases the debut album from David Guetta, ‘Just A Little More Love’

2003
Norah Jones sweeps the Grammys with an unprecedented eight awards out of eight nominations including all major categories

EMI launches the biggest European music download initiative by a record company in Europe with over 140,000 tracks from more than 3,000 EMI artists

2004
EMI completes acquisition of all of Jobete

EMI outsources CD manufacturing in Europe and the USA

2005
Coldplay‘s ‘X&Y’ is the most successful album of the year, selling over 9 million copies worldwide

EMI signs exclusive licensing deal with Walt Disney Records for Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Lily Allen joins EMI

Corinne Bailey Rae joins EMI

2006
EMI signs first ever pan-European P2P download agreement

EMI takes full ownership of Toshiba-EMI. The company is re-named EMI Music Japan

2007
EMI Music leads the music industry launching DRM-free superior quality downloads across its entire digital repertoire

Katy Perry joins EMI

Lady Antebellum sign to EMI

EMI is acquired by private equity firm Terra Firma

2008
‘Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends’ by Coldplay is the biggest selling album of the year globally with sales of nearly 7 million worldwide

Paul McCartney receives the Outstanding Contribution To Music award at the BRITs

Depeche Mode re-sign with EMI, including North America for the first time

2009
Coldplay is the first artist to sell more than one million digital albums in the US and two million worldwide

Pet Shop Boys win the Outstanding Contribution To Music award at the BRITs

EMI launches live music recording and instant production service Abbey Road Live

On release in September 2009 The Beatles‘ re-mastered catalogue sells more than 10 million albums in just four months and the band are the biggest selling international act of the year in Japan

2010
Robbie Williams is awarded the Outstanding Contribution To Music award at the BRITs

‘Stylo’ by Gorillaz is played more than 900,000 times in its first 24 hours on YouTube, beating the record previously held by U2

In the US, ’1′ by The Beatles is confirmed as the biggest selling album of the decade from 2000-2009. ‘Come Away With Me’ by Norah Jones is the third biggest selling album of the decade in America

EMI extends its successful exclusive licensing agreement with Walt Disney Records in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Building on the success of Capitol Records Nashville, EMI forms EMI Records Nashville

Iron Maiden‘s ‘The Final Frontier’ album debuts at number one in over 20 countries

Japanese superstar Hikaru Utada and EMI agree new global recording deal

The Beatles‘ music is available for the first time on the iTunes Store

2011
EMI is aquired by Citigroup and announces successful capital restructuring.

Pink Floyd and EMI sign new global agreement

EMI’s family of artists and songwriters raise $940,000 to support Japanese Red Cross disaster relief effort

I.R.S. Records relaunched as a new frontline label

David Guetta is voted the world’s number one DJ

Peter Gabriel and EMI extend long running partnership

OpenEMI is launched to engage directly with the tech developer community around the world including a platform for developers to access EMI Music tracks and content to create innovative and exciting new apps and digital music concepts for EMI’s artists

2012
Van Morrison returns to Blue Note Records

David Guetta extends his long-term partnership with EMI

Back to EMI’s history