American Record Corporation

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American Record Corporation
PredecessorCameo Record Corporation
Pathé Phonograph and Radio Corporation
Plaza Music Company
United States
FateAcquired for $10.10 million in cash and stock by CBS and Re-branded into Columbia Recording Corporation
SuccessorColumbia Recording Corporation
HeadquartersUnited States

American Record Corporation (ARC),[1] also referred to as American Record Company, American Recording Corporation,[2] or ARC Records,[3][4] was an American record company.[5]


In 1929, the American Record Corporation was established with the merger of three companies. These were the Cameo Record Corporation (which owned Cameo, Lincoln and Romeo Records), the Pathé Phonograph and Radio Corporation (which owned Actuelle, Pathé, and Perfect), and the Plaza Music Company (which owned Banner, Domino, Jewel, Oriole, and Regal).[5]

Although Plaza's assets were included in the merger, the Plaza company itself was not, (it formed Crown Records in 1930 as an independent label)[6] and the Scranton Button Company, the parent company of Emerson Records (and the company that pressed records for most of these labels). Louis G. Sylvester, the former head of the Scranton Button Company, became the president of the new company, located at 1776 Broadway in Manhattan, New York City.

Consolidated Film Industries bought ARC in 1930, and Brunswick Record Corporation (actually leased Brunswick from Warner Bros) the next year. Full-priced discs were issued on Brunswick, and in 1934 on Columbia. Low-priced records on Oriole (sold at McCrory), Romeo (sold at Kress), as well as Melotone, Vocalion, Banner, and Perfect. In December 1938, the entire ARC complex was purchased for $700,000 by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).[7] The record company was renamed Columbia Recording Corporation,[8] which revived the Columbia imprint as its flagship label with Okeh Records as a subsidiary label. This allowed the rights to the Brunswick and Vocalion labels (and pre-December 1931 Brunswick/Vocalion masters) to revert to Warner Bros., which sold the labels to Decca Records in 1941.

During August 1978 ARC was reactivated by Columbia as Maurice White's vanity label. Acts such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Weather Report, Deniece Williams, Pockets, and The Emotions were signed to the label. One of the label's final releases would be Earth, Wind & Fire's 1981 album Raise!.[9][10]

As of 2019, The ARC legacy is now part of Sony Music Group.

Labels ARC issued or pressed (1929-1938)[edit]

Labels that existed prior to the formation of ARC are marked +

  • ARC (sold to theaters for background and intermission music 1931-1933?, 1978-1982 vanity label for Maurice White)
  • Banner +1929-1938
  • Bernardo (client label)
  • Broadway +from 1932 (fulfilling a contract with Montgomery Ward after Paramount ceased production)
  • Brunswick +1932-1938 (under lease agreement from Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Cameo +1929-1930
  • Columbia +late 1934-1938
  • Commodore (client label for Commodore Music Shops)
  • Conqueror +(client label for Sears from 1929-1938)
  • Domino +1929-1931 (but was restarted as a client label for the John Gabel Co. circa 1933-34)
  • Fox Movietone (client label sold only at Fox Theaters, taken over from Victor, circa 1934)
  • Gospel Herald (client label)
  • Gramophone Shop Varieties (client label for The Gramophone Shop)
  • Hollywood 1936-1937 (client label)
  • Homestead +(mail order label 1929-circa 1931, when it was taken over by Crown Records)
  • Hot Record Society (client label for the Hot Record Society)
  • Jewel +1929-circa 1932
  • Liberty Music Shops (client label for the Liberty Music Shops)
  • Lincoln +from 1929-1930
  • Master 1937
  • Mel-O-Dee (client label as a specialty jukebox label for Will F. Dillion Associates, Inc.) 1931
  • Melotone +1932-1938
  • Oriole +1929-1938 (client label for McCrory)
  • Pathé +1929-1930
  • Perfect +1929-1938
  • Regal +1929-1931
  • Romeo +1929-1938 (client label for Kress Stores)
  • Shamrock Stores - (client label for the Shamrock Stores)
  • Supertone +1930-circa 1931 (client label for Sears whose short-lived series made by Brunswick after the Gennett period ended. This rare series probably hails from right before the ARC takeover of Brunswick)
  • U.H.C.A. - (client label specializing in reissues for United Hot Clubs of America through Commodore)
  • Variety 1937
  • Vocalion +1932-1938 (under lease agreement from Warner Bros. Pictures)


  1. ^ "The 78rpm Home Page: Label Pictures". Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  2. ^ Cox, Jim. American Radio Networks: A History. Google Books. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  3. ^ Wolf, Charles; Lornell, Kip (1999). The Life and Legend of Leadbelly. New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 178, 198.
  4. ^ Sing Out! 21 (1971), p. 44.
  5. ^ a b Rye, Howard (2002). Barry Kernfeld (ed.). The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 49. ISBN 1561592846.
  6. ^ Komara, Edward (ed.) (2006). Encyclopedia of the Blues. Routledge.
  7. ^ LPs historic. Retrieved on 2012-08-11.
  8. ^ White, Raymond E. King of the Cowboys, Queen of the West: Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Google Books. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  9. ^ "New ARC Columbia Label on debut". Vol. 90, no. 31. Billboard Magazine. August 5, 1978. p. 19. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  10. ^ "Maurice White's Prowling for Acts, Building Studios". Vol. 91, no. 28. Billboard Magazine. July 14, 1979. p. 26. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)

See also[edit]