RCA Records

In 1929, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company, then the world's largest manufacturer of phonographs and phonograph records. The company then became RCA Victor but retained use of the Victor Records name on their labels until the beginning of 1946 when the labels were finally switched over to RCA Victor. In 1931, RCA Victor's British affiliate the Gramophone Company merged with the Columbia Graphophone Company to form EMI.

Through the 1940s and 1950s, RCA was in intense competition with Columbia Records. In 1950, realizing that Columbia's 33 rpm LP format had become successful and concerned that RCA was losing market share, RCA Victor began issuing LPs itself.  Although RCA had pioneered 33 rpm production in the 1930s, the format had been a failure becuase the playback equipment was too expensive during the depression era.  In 1955, RCA purchased the recording contract of Elvis Presley from Sun Records for the then astronomical sum of $35,000. Presley would become RCA's biggest selling recording artist.

In 1983, Arista Records owner Bertelsmann sold 50% of Arista to RCA. In 1985, Bertelsmann and RCA formed a joint venture called RCA/Ariola International. The following year, RCA Corporation was acquired by General Electric and it sold its 50% interest in the label to its partner Bertelsmann. The company was renamed BMG Music for Bertelsmann Music Group. In 2002, BMG fully acquired J Records, which it had founded in 2000 as a joint venture with Clive Davis. Davis was then named chairman of RCA Records and J Records under the auspices of a new entity, the RCA Music Group, which included RCA Records, J, and Arista Records. In 2004, Sony and BMG merged their music divisions to create Sony BMG, and in 2007, the RCA Music Group was rebranded as the BMG Label Group. In October of 2008, the Jive, Arista and J imprints were folded into RCA, and RCA Music Group was renamed RCA Records, making it a standalone label under the Sony Music umbrella.

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