1845Brunswick-Balke-Collender founded - manufacturers of billiard and bowling alley equipment
1916B-B-C makes disk players and vertical-cut records in Canada
June, 1919B-B-C enters the US record business, now producing lateral-cut records
April, 1930B-B-C sold it's record and radio divisions to Warner Brothers Pictures. Read elsewhere about Vocalion's involvement and the operations in Canada
Dec 3, 1931WBP licensed Brunswick/Vocalion to American Record Corp (which is owned by Consolidated Film Industries) forming Brunswick Record Corp. BRC is now a subsidiary of ARC, but is ultimately owned (royalties and the like) by WBP. BRC had lots of weird stipulations in this agreement, like not selling Brunswick records for less than 75 cents and production quotas. CFI would go on to purchase the Columbia label in 1934
Dec, 1938Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) buys BRC/ARC from Consolidated Film Industries
Sept, 1939CBS revives Columbia label. Brunswicks were issued less and less
April, 1940Brunswick label discontinued by CBS. This put CBS in violation of the WBP/BRC/ARC/CFI license. Rights to the Brunswick name went back to the radio division, which were still owned by WBP.
May 2, 1941WBP sold Brunswick Radio Corp, the name, Vocalion, and all masters made before November 17, 1931, to Decca.
1944Decca uses the Brunswick label mainly as a reissue label for the old Brunswick/Vocalion jazz and blues masters it now owned. Within a few years, the label was then used to issue newer jazz and then rock-and-roll.
1952Decca buys Universal International
1962MCA (Music Corporation of America, founded 1924) buys Universal from Decca
Early '60sMCA buys Decca. Brunswick label discontinued (according to Sutton's book)
1970?Brunswick Record Corp now run independantly from MCA
1974Decca label discontinued
1977?The last Brunswick record
    " The latest Brunswick I've seen was from 1977, credited to the Brunswick Record Corp. of Chicago, IL. This company seemed to operate independently of Decca/MCA from about 1970 until at least 1977. It was run by one Nat Tarnopol and had such soul acts as the Chi-Lites, the Counts, and Young-Holt Unlimited. Mr. Tarnopol was profiled in Frederick Dannen's excellent book "Hit Men" which describes his and Brunswick's involvement in the 1974 payola scandal, which also involved Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International label. My guess is that Mr. Tarnopol, who was responsible for producing Jackie Wilson's records when Brunswick was a Decca subsidiary, had enough power to gain control of the Brunswick name when Decca was swallowed by MCA and ran it independently (perhaps with continuing MCA distribution support, although the labels don't say this) until the payola scandal made the Brunswick name a poor one with which to do business. A graceless end to a great label." --Mark Hendrix
1980Polygram buys Decca (According to http://www.ketupa.net/vivendi2.htm)
1987Sony Corp of America buys CBS music division. Eventually taken over by Sony Corp. of Japan.
1990MCA Music Entertainment Group buys GRP Record and decides to close down MCA's old internal jazz staff and transfer control of all jazz catalog to GRP. What this means is that any Decca jazz titles are GRP - any Decca rock would be MCA Records, and any Decca Country would be MCA Nashville (which, I believe, re-activated the Decca label for new country recordings). Here is the person at Decca to contact concerning all re-issues.
1990Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Japan) buys MCA/Universal
1995Seagram buys MCA/Universal from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (Japan) and renames it Universal Studios
1998Seagram buys Polygram from Philips
2000Vivendi (France) buys Seagram, becoming Vivendi Universal
2003NBC agress to buy Vivendi Universal.
August 5, 2004 The music divisions of Sony Corporation and German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG (BMG: RCA Victor, Bluebird, etc.) merge. The new company, Sony BMG, will be based in New York City and will be owned 50/50 by the two partners. Excluded from the deal are music publishing as well as disc manufacturing and distribution. Sony's Japanese music business, SMEJ, is excluded.
CitiGroup buys EMI Ltd.
November, 2011 (Approved in September, 2012)Universal Music Group buys the recording division of EMI for $1.9 billion. Sony/ATV buys the second part, the publishing division in charge of songwriting copyrights, for $2.2 billion.

What has become of the original master recordings? A local discographer informed me that all non-Decca owned Brunswick masters were tossed out a few years ago. Even sadder, at that time, no legers or files for the accoustical recordings could be found.


Many thanks to Will at WAMS, Jon Vanhala at MCA, and the "Directory of American Disc Record Brands and Manufacturers, 1891-1943" - by Allan Sutton (1994), and Mark Hendrix

Tim Gracyk has an excellent article posted on his web site here.