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Melodiya Records


Information: Melodiya is a Russian (formerly Soviet) record label. It was the state-owned major record company of the Soviet Union.

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

The label's production was dominated by classical music, music by Soviet composers and musicians, performances by Soviet theatre actors, and fairy tales for children. For example, Melodiya notably released performances of works by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich. Melodiya also released some of the most successful western pop, jazz, and rock records.

In other countries, Melodiya recordings imported from the USSR were often sold under the label MK, which stood for Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga ("International Book"). 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 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.

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