Monitor Records (New York)

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Monitor Records is record label from the United States specializing in classical and folk music.


The label was started in 1956 by Michael Stillman of Leeds Music and Rose Rubin.[1][2] They founded the label to provide music to Americans from the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc.[1] Rubin and Stillman both served as company President at different points.[3][4] Monitor was created to focus on classical and folk.[2]

The first issues were from the Soviet Union featuring works by Bach and Prokofiev performed by Leonid Kogan and Sviatoslav Richter.[2] For the first year, all issues were sourced from Russia, but in 1957 the label began recording young American artists.[5] Monitor Records were available through the Diners Club record club from 1959 to 1961, an arrangement made out of "desperation" by Monitor management according to Rubin.[6] Monitor releases first became available on reel-to-reel tapes in 1963 through an agreement with Musictapes, Inc.[7] That year Monitor became distributed worldwide through Transglobal Music.[8]

In 1966, Monitor began a budget series called "Monitor Collectors Series".[9] At introduction, the series consisted of more than one-hundred releases.[9] The primary focus was on Baroque music.[10]

In 1967, Monitor became the first label to release music in North America by composer Josef Mysliveček.[11]

The label attempted to make an entry into the popular music field when they released singles and an album by The Freeborne in 1968.[12]

In 1999, Rubin and Stillman donated the label and its catalog to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.[13] Although Folkways was already strong in most folk music, it felt that the Monitor acquisition filled their gap in belly dance music.[13]


Artists appearing on (but not necessarily signed to) Monitor include:


  1. ^ a b c Reineke, Hank (2009). Ramblin' Jack Elliott: The Never-Ending Highway. Scarecrow Press. p. 147. ISBN 9780810872578.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Monitor Waxes 1st 3 Albums". Billboard. December 15, 1956. p. 30.
  3. ^ "Disk Execs Project Different Points of View on Three Fronts". Billboard. October 15, 1966. p. 48.
  4. ^ "RIAA Elects Lieberson". Billboard. February 1, 1964. p. 5.
  5. ^ "Monitor to Promote U.S. Artists Series". Billboard. November 4, 1957. p. 20.
  6. ^ "Marek Calls Club Boon To Whole Disk Industry". Billboard. February 16, 1963. p. 4.
  7. ^ "Musictapes Deal". Billboard. March 2, 1963. p. 8.
  8. ^ "Transglobal in Deal - Including The Scandinavian". Billboard. February 2, 1963. p. 6.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Monitor Bows Budget Line; to Retail at $1.98". Billboard. April 16, 1966. p. 44.
  10. ^ "Gift Records That Sell Cheap... Yet Still Sound Great". The Kiplinger Magazine. December 1966. p. 16.
  11. ^ a b c "Monitor Disk - 1st Pressing of Mysliveecek". Billboard. September 16, 1967. p. 54.
  12. ^ "Monitor Adds Pop Records". Billboard. May 11, 1968. p. 4.
  13. ^ a b c Bessman, Jim (June 19, 1999). "Smithsonian Folkways Gains Two Imprints". Billboard. p. 55.
  14. ^ Young, Izzy (2013). Barretta, Scott (ed.). The Conscience of the Folk Revival: The Writings of Israel "Izzy" Young. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 22. ISBN 9780810883086.
  15. ^ Shay, Anthony (2008). Dancing Across Borders: The American Fascination with Exotic Dance Forms. McFarland. p. 24. ISBN 9780786437849.

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