Voice of Music
|Founded||June 1944 in Benton Harbor, Michigan|
Founded in June 1944 by Walter Miller in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The company originally manufactured only 78 rpm record changers and labeled them simply as "A V-M Product". The brand name "Voice of Music" was suggested by a V-M engineer and first used in 1952.
V-M kept up with each innovation in records and this required significant investment to retool their record changers. First came two speed changers after Columbia Records introduced the LP in 1948, then adding 45rpm after RCA brought that innovation to market in 1949, and ultimately ending up with the fourth speed (16⅔ rpm) for "talking books" in 1954. The changers themselves were innovative - the three and four speed models especially featuring reliable, jam-proof mechanisms.
Amplified phonographs were introduced in the early 1950s, and V-M brought out the Model 700 tape recorder late in 1954. Throughout the '50's and '60's, tape recorders, phonographs, consoles and components by V-M were popular with consumers for a variety of reasons. V-M Corporation's "Educational Systems" tape recorders and phonos with rugged cases were popular with schools and institutions. A brief entry into the audiophile market in 1970 with the V-M "Professional Series" was technically successful - but by this point, V-M Corporation was too financially weak to back a successful marketing campaign, so these products are rare and sought after today.
First and foremost, V-M was a record changer and tape deck supplier to dozens of familiar brand names of their day, such as Zenith and Motorola to name only two good customers. These large production volumes helped V-M keep its own Voice of Music brand profitable for many years. After 1965, the trend became clear that American audio companies were going out of business or shifting production overseas. As V-M's record changer volumes declined, it became difficult for the company to remain profitable. Retailing began to change from small "mom and pop" stores (V-M's strength) to large electronics retailers where V-M was under-represented. The end came in July 1977 when a power failure in New York City prevented a wire transfer of critically needed funds, and the company declared bankruptcy.
In September 1998, the service parts and technical files were transferred to the care of V-M Audio Enthusiasts at the website shown below, for the benefit of V-M owners everywhere. The revival of "vinyl" (records) and tube audio in recent years has sparked a renewed interest in quality built, easy-to-service V-M products, and the internet has facilitated buyers and sellers getting together. V-M Corporation remains a registered corporation in Michigan but no longer manufactures equipment. Its ex-employees still get together twice a year for a pot luck supper in St. Joseph, Michigan.
Other facts about VM Corporation, (Voice of Music)
VM Corporation (Voice of Music), from the late 1950s through 1967, was the world's largest record changer manufacturer. Most of its record changer production was sold to original equipment manufactures (OEM). At the request of the original equipment manufacturers, VM record changers were not labeled with the "Voice of Music" trademark. Record changers sold to original equipment manufacturers were either unlabeled or labeled with the original equipment manufacturer's trademark. Record changers, retailed by VM Corporation, as components, or placed in VM phonographs did, however, have the VM (Voice of Music) trademark placed permanently on the record changer. (Please note: some early 1950s VM record changers, sold to OEM customers, did have the VM (Voice of Music) trade mark placed permanently on the record changer). In the 1970s VM placed the following heading, in large print, on its round record changer paper instruction sheet, placed on top of the turntable platter. The heading stated: "This Record Changer is Manufactured in the United States of America".
During the peak years of record changer production, VM Corporation produced more record changers than all other record changer manufacturers in the world combined. In the early 1960s, VM Corporation created a record changer advertisement, placed in an audio magazine. In this advertisement, VM stated that they produced more record changers than all other record changer manufacturers in the world combined. Also, in this advertisement, VM listed their original equipment manufacturers, (customers), by name. BSR LTD, a British record changer manufacturer, in the 1970s, copied the format of this ad. BSR, by the late 1960s and the 1970s, had surpassed VM Corporation, in record changer production, to become the world largest manufacturer of record changers. In several countries, VM record changers were produced under license. Telefunken, of then West Germany, was an example, of one company, to sign a licensing agreement with VM Corporation, to utilize their record changer technology.
As late as 1966, VM produced over three million record changers at its Benton Harbor, Michigan record changer plant. Record changers were sold to OEM customers in two formats; dissembled, requiring final assembly, at a lower OEM cost, or final assembled.
- ""RECORD CHANGERS", see Part 3, subtitle, "THE INGENUITY YEARS"
- ^ http://www.hem.passagen.se/sodas/vxarteng.htm "RECORDCHANGERS In Sweden"