Hover over each image for information about each individual label.American Record Corporation (and the Plaza Music Company)
The American Record Corporation (ARC) was formed in July 1929 following the merger of the Cameo, Pathé, Emerson, and Plaza companies' labels. They were known for their series of budget labels, including Melotone (see Brunswick), Banner, and Perfect, as well as many dimestore records such as Oriole, Romeo, and Conqueror. They also manufactured Brunswick and Vocalion under license from Warner Bros. Beginning in 1934, ARC began producing Columbia records. ARC discontinued their budget labels in 1938, and was purchased by CBS in 1939.
In 1935 many ARC budget labels including Perfect and Melotone adopted a new style of catalog number format indicating the year and month of release, the music series and the number of its release in that month. For example "6-03-01" would be the first dance band release of March, 1936, or 6-03-55 being the fifth Race or country/western release of March 1936.
The ARC made a plethora of different labels, and many are not shown here (as I don't own any examples to display). Pre-ARC examples are displayed in this section, as well.Banner
Banner was originally produced by the Plaza Record Company starting in 1922, originally as a client label for the S.S. Kresge Company (known today as K-Mart), but later expanded to a general budget label.
Conqueror records were originally produced by the Plaza Record Company (maker of Banner) for Sears, Roebuck, & Co. starting in 1926. ARC took over in 1929, and unlike most of their budget labels, which were discontinued in 1938, Conqueror remained in production until 1942. Conqueror did not adopt the new style of catalog numbers introduced in 1935.
Perfect was originally produced by Pathé, and became ARC's "flagship" of their budget labels. See Pathé's gallery for earlier issues.
Romeo was formerly produced by Cameo Records, before ARC's takeover, and produced records exclusively for sale at S.H. Kress. See Cameo's gallery for earlier issues.
ARC produced a multitude of different labels, many of which don't have enough variations to warrant their own sections.
In 1937, jazz impresario Irving Mills founded two record labels, Master and Variety. These records, made only in 1937, were produced by Mills' own company, Master Records, Inc. and pressed by the ARC. After the labels were discontinued, Mills' artists records were released with an "m" or "v" prefix on the catalog number, and bore the text, "Produced by Master Records, Inc." on the Brunswick and Vocalion labels, possibly even carrying over to early CBS Columbia records. Some records were also reissued on Brunswick or Vocalion. They primarily released jazz by artists such as Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, and could be viewed as a sort of forerunner to the 1940s jazz labels such as Blue Note and Norman Granz' Clef and Verve.
All images on this page created by R. Connor Montgomery, please do not reproduce without permission.