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HIS MASTER'S VOICE - HMV (Great Britain f. 1899)

His Master's Voice His Master's Voice, today usually abbreviated to HMV, is a famous trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label. The name was coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of the Jack Russell Terrier dog Nipper listening to a wind-up gramophone. In the original painting, the dog was listening to a cylinder phonograph. In Commonwealth countries, the Gramophone Company did not use this design on its record labels until 1909. The following year the Gramophone Company replaced the Recording Angel trademark in the upper half of the record labels by the famous picture painted by Frances Barraud, commonly referred to as Nipper or The Dog. The company was never formally called 'HMV' or His Master's Voice, but was identified by that term because of its use of the trademark. Records issued by the Company before February 1908 were generally referred to as 'G&Ts', while those after that date are usually called 'HMV' records. This image continued to be used as a trademark by Victor in the USA, Canada and Latin America, and then by Victor's successor RCA. In Commonwealth countries (except Canada) it was used by subsidiaries of the Gramophone Company, which ultimately became part of EMI. The trademark's ownership is divided among different companies in different countries, reducing its value in the globalised music market. The name HMV is used by a chain of music shops owned by HMV Group Plc, mainly in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan.

[Megakles Rogakos 12/2007]

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