Melodiya (Russian: Мелодия, lit. 'Melody') is a Russian (formerly Soviet) record label. It was the state-owned major record company of the Soviet Union.

Melodiya logo.svg
Melodiya logo
Country of originSoviet Union


Melodiya was established in 1964 as the "All-Union Gramophone Record Firm of the USSR Ministry of Culture Melodiya". It utilized numerous recording studios and manufacturing facilities throughout the USSR as well as powerful centres of distribution and promotional strategies. The best selling format at the time was 33⅓ and 78 rpm vinyl records. By 1973, Melodiya released some 1,200 gramophone records with a total circulation of 190-200 million per year, in addition to 1 million compact cassettes per year, was exporting its production to more than 70 countries.[1]

The label's production was dominated by classical music, music by Soviet composers and musicians, performances by Soviet theatre actors, and fairy tales for children. For example, Melodiya notably released performances of works by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich. Melodiya also released some of the most successful western pop, jazz and rock records, including albums by ABBA, Paul McCartney, Boney M., Dave Grusin, Amanda Lear, and Bon Jovi. Melodiya also regularly released records by popular Soviet singers, among whom were Alla Pugacheva, Vladimir Vysotsky, Bulat Okudzhava, Sofia Rotaru, Mikhail Boyarsky, Valery Leontiev, Alexander Barykin, Vladimir Kuzmin, as well as Soviet rock groups Autograph, Mashina Vremeni, and Cruise.

Soviet vinyl single by The Beatles with songs "Octopus's Garden" and "Something" from the album Abbey Road. On the B-side was just one song from the same album, "Come Together".

In other countries, Melodiya recordings imported from the USSR were often sold under the label MK, which stood for Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga ("International Book", Russian: Μеждународная Книга). In the United States, many Melodiya recordings appeared on the domestically manufactured Monitor Records label. In the 1970s and 1980s, Melodiya recordings of classical and folk music appeared on the Melodiya/Angel [2] (USA) and Melodiya/HMV labels as the result of an exclusive contract with EMI, the owner of both labels. A smaller number of recordings were distributed on other labels, particularly after 1989, before Melodiya granted exclusive rights to BMG in 1994. In at least one instance, one Melodiya record album, Gennady Rozhdestvensky's recording of Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker (1960) appeared on vinyl in the U.S. on the Columbia Masterworks label. After expiry of the BMG contract in 2003, the company re-opened under new management and in 2006 started re-releasing recordings through its own label.

Being state owned until April 1989, the Soviet recording industry was able to apply a single numbering system to all its releases from 1933 onwards irrespective of origin or place of manufacture. The number sequences for 78s and LPs are strictly chronological, from which it is possible to date many, though not all, releases using only the catalogue number [3]

Since 2008, some Melodiya records have been available to North American listeners through the Canadian classical label Analekta which is distributed by Entertainment One Distribution in the USA[4] and Distribution Select in Canada.

Since Mongolia had no state record label, Melodiya also operated there, releasing records by groups and composers such as Gonchigsumala, Chuluun, Luvsansharav/Choidog, Soyol-Erdene and Bayan Mongol. It operated under the name Mongol Ayalguu (Монгол Аялгуу, Mongolian Melody), however the Melodiya logo also appeared on record sleeves. All releases had the track listing, credits, and artist name listed in Mongolian, Russian and English.

Notable artistsEdit

Thousands of artists have appeared on the Melodiya label. For a partial list, see List of Melodiya artists.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd edition, volume 16, p. 54, Moscow, Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya publisher, 1974
  2. ^ See Alexandrov Ensemble discography for examples of Melodiya EMI Angel recordings
  3. ^ Soviet Recordings. Retrieved 5 May 2008.
  4. ^ Audio News for July 11, 2008 Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit