The Polydor record label (founded in 1924 by Deutsche Grammophon) is owned by the Universal Music Group, but headquartered in the UK. Deutsche Grammophon is a German classical music label that was founded in 1898 by Emile Berliner and is also linked to the Universal Music Group.
Polydor became a popular music label in 1946, and in the early 1960s, Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, who later became known as The Beatles we signed to Polydor by orchestra leader Bert Kaempfert. Popular German entertainers such as James Last and Bert Kaempfert appeared on the Polydor label alongside many Latin American, French and Spanish figures. In 1969, Polydor opened a US division, but we not prominent in the US record industry until they purchased a recording contract as well as a back catalogue of R&B star James Brown in 1971. Also at this time, Polydors parent company PolyGram (founded in 1972) took over the MGM Records label in 1972, pushing the Polydor label further into the spotlight. Previously in 1970, Polydor purchased Diamond Records, a Hong Kong based label which was founded by Ren da Silva, a Portuguese merchant in the late 1950's. Throughout the 1970s, Polydor became a major rock label and was also associated with disco, being home to acts such as the Bee Gees and Gloria Gaynor.
Into the 1980's, in spite of becoming overshadowed by its sister label Mercury Records, Polydor continued to sign deals with acts. By the early 1990s, Polydor began to under perform and therefore began to operate under the umbrella of the PolyGram Label Group (known as PLG). This newly constructed label was specifically designed to oversee PolyGrams lesser performing record labels, including Island Records, London Records, Atlas Records and Verve Records.
In 1994, Island Records recovered and resulted in PolyGram dissolving most of PLG into it. Also for a brief period of time, Polydor and Atlas Records merged and were known as Polydor/Atlas. The began operating through A&M Records, also a PolyGram subsidiary.
This merge of record labels Polydor and Atlas Records only lasted until 1995, when Polydor/Atlas simply became Polydor Records again.
In the early 1970's, the main source of income for Polydor Records is reported to have been from the hugely successful UK band Slade. In the 1970s and 1980s, the label was also home to acts such as The Jam and successful British Glam Rock act Sweet, who were signed to the label in 1977. Even though the American Polydor Branch is no longer in operation, the UK Polydor remains one of the strongest record labels in the country. Now, the label consists of artists such as Esmée Denters, Take That, N-Dubz, Cheryl Cole, The Saturdays, James Morrison, Ellie Goulding, Lawson and many more. There is a wide range of Genres within the Polydor label including indie bands such as Elbow, White Lies and The Maccabees.
Polydor UK works with Interscope Records and acts as the UK label for American based acts under Interscope-Geffen-A&M, such as Eminem, Limp Bizkit, Timberland, The All-American Rejects, The Black Eyed Peas, Pussycat Dolls, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Lana Del Rey and many more.
Polydor launched Fascination Records in 2006, a label that is dedicated to pop music, with acts such as Girls Aloud and Sophie Ellis-Bextor transferring to the new label. Several teen pop acts, such as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez & the Scene have been signed to Fascination Records.