Discussion

RCA vs RCA Victor

2005-09-01 18:13:24 GMT

Doesn anybody know exactly the difference between these two labels?

2005-09-01 18:55:03 GMT

If I'm not mistaken RCA Victor is a merge of the RCA and Victor labels. I should check my label relations listings at home to be sure.

2005-09-01 19:27:57 GMT

My problem is: take an album in or example 1980. How do I know if it's RCA or RCA Victor?

2005-09-01 20:55:22 GMT

Well I'm (slowly) working on a database which will list as many label relations as possible, together with their merge dates etc. I was forseeing this as one of our biggest label-problems.


Specific for your problem: a 1980 release is probably a RCA Victor release, since both companies merged many years before. Even more, in 1980 they were part of the EMI group. But then again RCA seems to exists on its own and is now part of the BMG group. But I guess you could only be sure by looking at the original cover art..

More info: http://www.capsnews.org/barrrca.htm and http://www.ketupa.net/emi.htm


All these label relations are very complex issues!

2007-09-15 08:19:02 GMT

In a response to a recent question from Bastien about my statement about RCA vs. RCA Victor remaining an unresolved problem, I finally stumbled across this thread.


Anyway, in doing revisions for koan and kris, I found ALL their pre-1990s media I worked on that were listed under "RCA" were actually "RCA Victor". This was confirmed by record/CD label data or record jacket/CD artwork.


Some entries were otherwise converted to home label. Some had a label name and cat# listed with a song but had no medium. The media I created were "RCA Victor", never "RCA". A couple were 1990s media with EAN/UPC catalogue numbers that ARE just "RCA".


So, I am convinced that any (pre-1990s) RCA medium in the database with a catalog number that has an RCA Victor style number {+IS+} an RCA Victor medium. Now there is a David Bowie/Bing Crosby single of 1982 in the database with an odd "PH" prefix that is just "RCA" according to the label. In any case there does not appear to be a "PH" prefix for RCA Victor. But apparently "RCA" existed as a label name in 1982 but perhaps just for specialty releases.


The general conversion to "RCA" alone dates back at least to 1992, the year of the Wedding Present series of cover singles in the database. See:

http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?what=R&obid=1002124

Also see:

RCA

The database listings seem to support 1992 being the earliest general re-introduction of the "RCA" label, although there aren't a large enough number of entries for solid proof. I think the 1986 album entry is an older issue with an EAN/UPC added later than 1986.


EDIT: The Bowie/Crosby single, though not the version in the database:

______
"One of these days I gotta get myself organized" - Travis Bickle


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2007-09-15 17:35:49 GMT

I looked through a bunch of my old albums from the '70s...and many times the only place I saw the word "Victor" was on the LP label itself - as a stray word on the side of the label.


These are albums that say on the copyright, "RCA Records" and say on the outside cover only RCA, next to a catalog number.


Nevertheless, they still had the "Victor" written almost randomly on the LP label.


If the copyright is attributed to "RCA Records", why are we not to use that?


Separately, I've found listings for Dolly Parton and Elvis(both longtime RCA artists) in the Billboard/Whitburn chart book for country music...they list the label as RCA Victor through 1976, before switching simply to RCA...probably some reason behind that.

2007-09-16 06:43:08 GMT

author=abbamatic]I looked through a bunch of my old albums from the '70s...and many times the only place I saw the word "Victor" was on the LP label itself - as a stray word on the side of the label.

Nevertheless, "Victor" is always there. The typical label of the 1970s for US and UK vinyl:

______
"One of these days I gotta get myself organized" - Travis Bickle


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2007-09-16 06:59:07 GMT

But one could argue, if the record actually says "copyright, RCA Records", the outer sleeve just has RCA, and the only presence of the word "Victor" is on a section of the record label not even near the word RCA, that the word "Victor" is almost an artistic element to their label art - a sort of homage to their past...it's almost like a slogan..., but not the actual name of the label.


Ultimately, I don't care where we come down on this - a rule is a rule. But, without having a detailed accounting of where 'RCA Victor' ceased to be the company name (and whether they used RCA and RCA Victor interchangeably), this is essentially saying that we can't truly prove the label something is on unless we get visible proof of the actual LP label, as opposed to the album cover...Pretty high burden of proof for releases that old.

2007-09-16 07:02:42 GMT

A major reference is Goldmine with the general catalog covering 1950-1975 (US only). It uses "RCA Victor" exclusively.


There is no question the arrangement of "RCA" and "Victor" is something intended to be artistic somehow. But both words are there. And there are worse artistic interpretations of names, titles and information on album jackets.


author=abbamatic]But, without having a detailed accounting of where 'RCA Victor' ceased to be the company name (and whether they used RCA and RCA Victor interchangeably), . . .
The Bing Crosby/David Bowie single shows they were used interchangeably in UK at least. There is a difference in label art.


. . . this is essentially saying that we can't truly prove the label something is on unless we get visible proof of the actual LP label, as opposed to the album cover...Pretty high burden of proof for releases that old.

It's inconvenient. There are enough eBay auctions that have label scans, though. Is it a bad thing to have the label as a reference? I don't think so. I was just corrected on a catalogue number format - spacing of the catalog number. The sources I happened to use used one format, but a label scan was shown to me, proving to me what should be the correct format. A subsequent general check of all net sources shows about a 50/50 split in what was thought to be the catalogue number format.


Attribution by copyright is not reliable. There are records (c) by X Music Co. but on on Y label. The master has been leased by X to Y. This does not necessarily mean that X Music Co. released it on media. This is true of:

Junco Partner

See the editor notes. Hannibal was the independent label Booker was signed to, there is no Hannibal labelled media existing at the time (1976). The CD reissue IS under the Hannibal label as a sublabel of Island - the label was sold to Island at some later date.



http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?what=R&obid=1002124

Now take this 1992 single by The Wedding Present. We know RCA is a sublabel of BMG so we do not identify the label as is apparently done here:

______
"One of these days I gotta get myself organized" - Travis Bickle


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2007-09-16 07:05:10 GMT

BTW, this is the only reference to a label on the packaging.


But what does the label say? It gives a credit to BMG Records, technically the superlabel but not one that issues records:

Last edit: 2007-09-16 07:15:47 GMT by wally creek

______
"One of these days I gotta get myself organized" - Travis Bickle


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2007-09-27 12:46:10 GMT

maybe I could throw my pice of wood into the fire about this label..The word Victor means victorious the whole name implies (RADIO CORPORATION OF AMERICA ALWAYS VICTORIOUS) the sane goes for some of theier other divisions such is the case of their latin division (ARCANO) wich is a composition of their name or (DBA)< doing bussines as>,Well I think I added more comfusion than light..Eryk Gee

2007-10-14 12:08:08 GMT

So what's the conclusion? All pre-1992 RCA releases should in fact be RCA Victor releases, except for specialty releases?

2007-10-14 16:42:24 GMT

why then do the Billboard chart books switch from RCA Victor to RCA in 1976 for many artists? i don't know the reason myself, but doesn't seem like that would be a random choice...

2007-10-19 14:52:29 GMT

In 1929, the Victor Talking Machine Company (that's really what they called it!) merged with the Radio Corporation of America to become RCA Victor. The RCA Victor logo appeared on all lp releases (and I suspect single releases) until 1969 when the Victor was dropped. As for RCA Victor listings after 1969, I am digging into that and I will be backatcha.


OK...some more info: RCA is the label for pop, rock, and country. RCA Victor is used for blues and jazz (originally on the Bluebird subsidiary that ceased in 1942, but has been recently reactivated by RCA), world music, musicals and other genres such as new age (the Windham Hills subsidiary). More coming...


After doin' some more digging, I believe abbamatic is probably on the right track when stating that the Victor is there as a nod to the past. All those RCA labels after 1969 still had Victor on them, but not in the dominate spot with the RCA logo. It is much like the merger of CBS (Columbia Records) and Sony in 1968. Today we are accustomed to thinking of Sony (or to be more accurate Sony/BMG) but you still find on many Sony cd releases (even if in small print) the words CBS or Columbia Records. The new Dylan box set even draws on graphics from past representations of how the label looked. I think it might just be the labels acknowledging their rich history and giving a nod to the long time "fanatical" consumers (like me)that have purchased their product for so long. Just a guess...

Last edit: 2007-10-19 16:02:04 GMT by dangle

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Peace

2007-12-16 23:38:28 GMT

Here is an Irish pressing from 1960 with no reference at all to 'Victor'. Does this help to clarify or to confuse? Smile


2007-12-17 21:07:20 GMT

Throwing an Irish pressing into the mix doesn't clarify the matter at all. Quite often, domestic labels in the US had differing names in other countries and European labels would have differing names in the US. Has anybody attempted to reach an archivist with RCA that might have an answer to this unresolved issue? There must be some fanatic out there that knows the complete history of the label!

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Peace

2007-12-17 22:33:54 GMT

I don't fully understand why an Irish pressing should be discounted.


Is RCA not a worldwide (not just USA) record-label? Why is it so important to know what they did or didn't do in USA?

2007-12-18 01:52:47 GMT

I don't mean to be discounting the Irish pressing. It is important to remember that RCA did start as domestic label in the US before going international and when companies (any company...not just recording labels) jump the pond they sometimes do things differently for whatever reasons. That is the point I was attempting to make. I suspect this mystery will never be resolved and there are other pressing (no pun intended) matters for people to worry about globally than RCA and Victor!!

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Peace

2007-12-21 00:25:20 GMT

author=dangle]there are other pressing (no pun intended) matters for people to worry about globally than RCA and Victor!!
But this is exactly what we worry about around here, as you can tell.

______
"One of these days I gotta get myself organized" - Travis Bickle

2007-12-23 15:38:53 GMT

I know. We are all fanatics, otherwise we would not have gravitated to this site. But unless someone with a complete knowledge of RCA's long history comes forth, I am afraid that we'll never get to the bottom of this mystery.


HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

______
Peace