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

The Gramophone Company and Columbia Phonograph open for business in London

The Gramophone Company makes its first recordings

Branches open in Germany, France, Italy and central Europe

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

Gramophone Company opens offices in Russia and Australia

10 inch shellac disc introduced

Gramophone Company opens offices in India

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

Gramophone Company presence established in China

The 78 rpm 12-inch shellac disc introduced

Gramophone Company Ltd is listed on the London Stock Exchange

60% of Gramophone Company profits come from outside the UK

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

One-third of British households now own gramophones

Gramophone Company sells nearly four million records a year

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

Columbia Phonograph renamed Columbia Graphophone

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

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

Gramophone Company establishes the Electrola company in Germany

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

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

Gramophone Company opens in Greece

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

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

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

EMI establishes a European licensing agreement with Hollywood studio MGM

Long playing 33rpm vinyl records introduced in the USA

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

EMI releases its first 45rpm singles

Maria Callas signs with EMI

EMI and Angel Records are launched as labels in the US

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

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

EMI Records UK label established

EMI opens company in Mexico

EMI releases the first stereo LP

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


EMI issues its last new 78rpm release in the UK

EMI establishes a joint venture record company with Toshiba in Japan

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

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

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

EMI releases its first pre-recorded cassettes

EMI signs Pink Floyd

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

Queen join EMI

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

EMI Music Publishing formed

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen released

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

Sex Pistols sign to EMI

Sex Pistols sign to Virgin Records

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

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

Iron Maiden sign with EMI

EMI signs Duran Duran

EMI releases its first compact discs

Pet Shop Boys sign to EMI

EMI begins manufacturing CDs

SBK Entertainment World acquired

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

Radiohead sign to EMI

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

Astralwerks Records established in New York

EMI takes controlling interest in Japanese joint venture Toshiba-EMI

Leading German independent record company Intercord acquired

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

Robbie Williams joins EMI

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

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

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’

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

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

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’

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

EMI completes acquisition of all of Jobete

EMI outsources CD manufacturing in Europe and the USA

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

EMI signs first ever pan-European P2P download agreement

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

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

‘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

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

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

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

Van Morrison returns to Blue Note Records

David Guetta extends his long-term partnership with EMI

Back to EMI’s history