The Finnish licence releases of the 1950’s-1960’s

The records of foreign artists pressed in Finland are at the same time one of the most fascinating but also more unexplored areas of the Finnish collection history. The so-called import or license publications lived their golden age in the 1950s and 1960s, when not only foreign shellac and vinyl products were imported, but they were also produced in large quantities in local factories under international user agreements. In only a few cases did domestic companies still ended up releasing license material as complete serials of their own. In most cases, the music was selected for recordings by random sampling, mainly from previous catalogs of Great Britain, Germany and other Nordic countries – songs that were believed to be of most interest to Finnish music consumers. In addition to self-evident global million seller hits, this selection also included many obscurities, which existence in Finland can be considered at least illogical choices in today’s light.

The majority of the world’s best-known record companies, including e.g. Capitol, RCA, London, Parlophone, His Master’s Voice, Mercury, Liberty and Columbia, were represented in Finland by certain major music groups, such as Fazer Music, Levytukku, Pohjoismainen Sähkö, Scandia-Musiikki and R.E. Westerlund. The group also included actors focused on individual record brands, such as Discophon, which managed RCA’s domestic rights since 1958, as well as several international companies’ own ”branches” established in Finland. The record supply of the time can thus be described as at least reasonable.

Finnish-made picture sleeves, on the other hand, were not particularly common in our seven inch single and EP releases. Only a few domestic companies designed and printed their covers themselves, some resorting to materials imported from elsewhere, while others were content to bring the recordings to record stores in mere unidentified universal covers. However, all sorts of fascinating things were also achieved on this front.

The Finnish 78 rpm singles, licence & domestic series / international artists
The Finnish 45 rpm singles, licence series / international artists
The Finnish 45 rpm singles, domestic series / international artists
The Finnish 45 rpm EP’s, licence series / international artists
The Finnish 45 rpm EP’s, domestic series / international artists
The Finnish 33 1/3 rpm LP’s, licence & domestic series / international artists

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