Schwann Catalog

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Cover of December 1984 "35th Anniversary" Schwann catalog, featuring Leonard Bernstein, Frank Zappa, Cyndi Lauper, and Sadao Watanabe

The Schwann Catalog (previously Schwann Long Playing Record Catalog or later Schwann Record And Tape Guide) was a catalog of recordings started by William Schwann in 1949.[1] The first edition was hand-typed and 26 pages long, and it listed 674 long-playing records (see LP record). By the late 1970s, over 150,000 record albums had been listed in Schwann. The company was honored by the record industry both at the 25th anniversary (1974)[2] and 35th anniversary (1984).[3]

The Schwann Catalog changed hands several times, sold in 1976, then again in the late 1980s to Stereophile, then to Valley Media in the 1990s. In 2002, the company was purchased at a bankruptcy auction by Alliance Entertainment Corporation.[4]


The Schwann Catalog initially focused on classical LPs, but also included sections on popular music, jazz, musical shows, "Spoken and Misc.", and so on. By the 1970s the catalog was split into two volumes: the monthly Schwann-1 included all stereo classical and jazz recordings and stereo popular albums less than two years old, while the semi-annual Schwann-2 included all monaural albums, older pop recordings, and spoken word and miscellaneous albums. In May 1986, the publication became known as the Schwann Compact Disc Catalog. Later, the catalog split into Schwann Opus for classical music and Schwann Spectrum for categories such as pop, rock, country, jazz, religious, spoken word and international music.

The early editions indexed and reviewed LPs that contained the same classical works. As the volume of music it catalogued grew, the amount of information for each entry was reduced to a single line.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Obituary: William Schwann, 85, Founder of the Noted Record Catalogue". New York Times. 1998-06-18.
  2. ^ Billboard - 30 nov. 1974 - Page 45 Vol. 86, no. 48 "Those are but two of hundreds of tributes which William "Bill" Schwann has been receiving as he and his staff observe the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Schwann Record/Tape Catalog. Issued monthly, it has sold 28 million copies."
  3. ^ The New Schwann - Volume 37 Page 4 1985 "The citation reads: "With gratitude and respect, the Recording Industry Association of America honors William 'Bill' Schwann for creating and perpetuating the nation's definitive record and tape catalog and for dedicating 35 years of service to ..."
  4. ^ Music Web Encyclopedia of Popular Music