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EMI is credited for founding the record business in Greece in the 1930s, by producing the first records and building the country's first recording studio.
Founding of recorded music in Greece
In 1930, British Columbia Graphophone Company and Gramophone Company, which a year later merged to form EMI Group, formed a partnership along with Greek investor Lambropoulos Brothers Limited to produce records in Greece. By 1931, company operations were in full swing and the first disc produced in Greece had been pressed under the company name EMIAL. After five years of using the halls of large hotels to record songs, EMIAL built Greece's first recording studio and became the front runner in the Greek music industry for many years. The company continued to be incorporated as EMIAL, although it predominantly used the trade name EMI Greece. EMI's Greek releases during this period generally came out bearing the company's British labels such as Columbia, HMV, and Parlophone, as well as their more international Odeon label.
Merger with Minos Matsas & Son
In 1991, EMIAL purchased a controlling share of Minos Matsas & Son, a record company founded by pioneering Greek music industry executive and prominent rebetiko musician Minos Matsas, in 1927, and which also edited music under the label Odeon and which produced, since then, records under the Minos label. "Minos Matsas & son", under CEO Makis Matsas (who become CEO of the new entity) was then the market leader with a 22% market share while Emi stated at 9%. The new joint-venture was named Minos EMI and thus controlled approximately one third of the Greek market. The union was not easy and while EMI was now, in value and figures, controlling financially Minos Matsas & son, it was like if this company was, in fact, taking over EMI Greece. The two distribution centers merged in one at the historical building EMI Greece was located at Rizoupoli (suburb of Athens) while most of the remaining staff joined Minos' spot at Messogeion avenue. The financial department remained under the responsibility of EMI CFO Panayotis Papalimberis, while the artistic direction of the new entity went under Minos A&R managers : Achileas Theofilou, Elias Benettos and Vangelis Yannopoulos. EMI international repertoire manager, Manos Xydous undertook a new A&R role with the revival of EMI's Harvest label. Finally, a new MD was appointed coming from the same position at Sony Music Greece, Costas Bourmas.
Recorded music catalogue
The Minos EMI back catalogue, both from the inheritance of the EMIAL and Minos Matsas & Son discographies, carries important works that form part of Greek music heritage of the twentieth century in all genres, but most notably in the genres of Rebetiko and Laïko. Minos EMI actively exploits its catalogue by digitally remastering works for re-releases, compilations and special releases, and by licensing to third-parties engaged in the strategic marketing of back discography.
Parent company EMI had released music from Minos EMI's back catalogue through other EMI companies, such as under their world music label EMI Hemisphere and EMI Classics, in a collaboration between Gerald Seligman, EMI Hemisphere founder and Vangelis Yannopoulos, Minos EMI A&R and Strategic Manager.
All EMI label operations in Greece have been consolidated into one record company, Minos EMI. Until 2001 the last separate standalone company was Virgin Records Greece, although it was shut down and its assets folded into Minos EMI. Use of Virgin label for domestic repertoire was also discontinued.
There is continuity of the Minos label as a local repertoire imprint, while Minos EMI artists who are not specifically under the Minos imprint operation simply carry the EMI label. The distinction of artists and their associated imprints is now usually only carried out on CD covers, reflecting internal management and standard industry practice in the Greek market. As of mid-2008, music channel MAD TV also no longer makes any distinction, marking all new Minos EMI releases as EMI only. As of late 2010, the discontinuation of the Minos imprint began on the CD covers of Minos artists, leaving all domestic repertoire releases marked only with the EMI label.
In mid-October 2010, Minos EMI announced a deal with the newly launched Greek edition of video sharing service website Dailymotion, which secured Dailymotion Greece the exclusive premieres of all new music videos from Minos EMI for a period of four weeks. The deal also called for the addition of over 1,000 new, old, and rare music videos from the label to Dailymotion Greece, available to users worldwide.
Following Universal Music Group's acquisition of EMI Group in September 2012, Minos EMI became Universal's official label division in Greece. Universal's own unit was divested in early 2013 in favor of Minos, while Minos still maintains EMI branding.
- Ewbank, Alison J.; Fouli T. Papageorgiou (1997). Whose master's voice?: the development of popular music in thirteen cultures. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-313-27772-6. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
- "EMI Music Greece and Dailymotion contribution deal". 24media.gr. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
- Onti, Nicky Mariam (21 May 2013). "MINOS-EMI Greek Universal Subsidiary". GreekReporter.com. Retrieved 4 June 2013.