India, HMV was undoubtably the biggest record company in
all formats of vinyl and had an existence in India till
the late 90's but later it was taken over by the RPG Group.
It's history is the history of recorded music in India,
more than a century old. Although HMV - His Master’s
Voice - continues to enjoy their monopoly in this field,
about half million gramophone records have been manufactured
and marketed in India under variety of banners and labels.
Large number of artists have recorded various musical forms
and styles from different regions of Indian subcontinent.
Of course, a major portion of these recordings belong to
Indian film songs. However other forms like classical, light
classical, folk, religious music etc. have been recorded
Indian operations started in 1901 as the first overseas branch
of Electrical & Musical Industries Limited, EMI, London. The
earliest recording made in India was that of Gauhar Jan, a Hindustani
vocalist, in the year 1902. Although the recording was made in
India, the disc was manufactured in England. So, at the end of
the record she announced her name, to enable the technicians abroad
to fix the right label to the disc. This practice of announcing
one's name at the end of a song continued until 1908, when the
Gramophone Company of England set up manufacturing facilities
in Sealdah, Calcutta. Later, a bigger factory was set up in Dum
Dum, Calcutta. In 1931, the Gramophone Company, Columbia, Odeon
and some smaller companies merged to form Electrical Music Industries
(EMI). Even after the merger, the different companies that made
up EMI retained their respective labels.
first microgroove record from Gramophone Co was introduced in
1958. These were 45 rpm 7" extended play (EP) records. In
1959, an LP record plant was established at the Dum Dum factory
of Gramophone Company and it was inagurated by Pt Ravishankar
in May. The first LP record was released in June and in the first
year, about 125 LP records were issued. And the rest, as they
say, is History !!