Label name: Sonet
Label Code: LC 0346 / LC 00346
Discogs Page: Sonet
Though officially dating from 1956, Sonet's story begins from 1952, from Denmark, when Karl-Emil Knudsen decided to open a jazz club. He started recording the performances, but instead of having them released just by some label, he decided to start his own, founding Storyville in 1953. At this time Knudsen's business associate was Anders Dyrup. It was during a rift between the two in 1955 that the Sonet label was born. To compete Knudsen, Dyrup decided to start a club of his own, and a label of his own, which he named Sonet. The first record for Sonet was a vocal rendition backed by six strings and a harp which, was never released. Soon after this Knudsen and Dyrup settled their differences and started working together again. The first Sonet record to be released in Denmark was a 10" LP by Adrian Benzon's jazz band.
At the same time, in Stockholm, Sweden, two young men, Gunnar Bergström and Sven Lindholm had started a business to import jazz records to Sweden. It was on this basis that Scandinavian Record Company was founded in the late 1955. They heard about what Knudsen was doing in Denmark and made a deal with Knudsen to release Sonet and Storyville records in Sweden. Soon they started making recordings of their own, the first Sonet record released in Sweden was by trumpeter Jan Allen with Rune Öfwerman (who eventually ended up working for Sonet) on piano.
Meanwhile in Finland, Harry Orvomaa became the managing director of Scandia-Musiikki Oy, and established links with the companies of Bergström and Lindholm in Stockholm and Knudsen in Copenhagen. Coverage of all the Scandinavian countries was completed when Egil Monn Iversen company of Oslo was brought into the set in 1956. From the beginning it was set that all the four companies would preserve their autonomy, but would co-operate to the fullest extent.
Sonet started making licensing deals with other record companies, and was the first to make a deal with Island Records in the late 1950s. In the ensuing years, as further licensing deals were made, the administrative emphasis moved from the Danish company to the Swedish company, largely because of Sweden's dominant position among the four Scandinavian markets. A third of Sonet's income came through licensing deals with different labels, including Island, Chrysalis and Polar. In the late 1980s PolyGram acquired Island and Polar, and EMI acquired Chrysalis, and they terminated their licensing deals with Sonet. This forced the company to downsize and restructure, and PolyGram acquired what was left of the company on October 15th, 1991.
In 1999, Seagram bought PolyGram and merged it with the MCA family of labels to form Universal Music Group, and this is how Sonet became the property of Universal. Currently Sonet continues in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, in one form or another.
Throughout its existence Sonet has had several logos. The most common one, and all the variations of it, contain two elements: a trumpet and the word "Sonet". In the mid-80s, the logo was redesigned (see picture 3 below), and the trumpet was omitted.
Currently the Swedish releases seem to use the logo 1 (example), and the Norwegian ones logo 3 (example). There are some Danish remasters from 2000 (example) that seem to use a variation of the logo 5 (without the trumpet), also similar to the logo presented on the Norwegian Sonet Distribusjon website.
These are the most common ones.
There are other variations of the logo as well.
The name of the original company was Scandinavian Record Company, founded in 1955. It was renamed to Sonet Grammofon AB in 1960. The same year, they signed a distribution deal with Gazell, label of a record company Center Records, and its owner Dan Häggkvist, who eventually became a sales manager at Sonet. In 1964 Sonet bought Center Records and Häggkvist was made a partner. After PolyGram acquired Sonet, the Swedish company was the only one to continue under the old name. Currently Universal Music AB is the caretaker of Sonet in Sweden.
By 1956 Knudsen and Dyrup had established their record company as Dansk Grammofonpladeforlag. In 1963 Knudsen bought out Dyrup's share of the company, and remained the only owner over the next 10 years. The company was renamed to Sonet/Dansk Grammofon A/S in 1972/1973, along a reorganization of the company. Release series continued, and some releases were even reissued with the same catalog number and printed release year, but the center label design was new.
Sonet was bought by PolyGram in 1991. Shortly after Sonet/Dansk Grammofon A/S was disbanded. In 1999, PolyGram was sold to Seagram and merged with the MCA family of labels, which became Universal Music Group.
In July 2006 Universal Music Denmark restarted Sonet in Denmark.
In the beginning Sonet was represented in Norway by the Egil Monn Iversen company. In 1964, Arne Bendiksen took over as the managing director of the company and renamed it to Arne Bendiksen A/S. In 1983 the company closed down, and Sonet Norsk Grammofon was founded, as Terje Engen in command. Later on the company name was shortened to Sonet Grammofon AS.
Currently Sonet serves as a name for a distribution service, Sonet Distribusjon. It is part of Universal Music A/S in Norway.
In Finland, Scandia Musiikki Oy was the first company to release records on Sonet, with Harry Orvomaa as the chairman. Around 1983, Oy Sonet-Polar Suomi Ab was founded (as a joint venture with Polar Music International), with Gugi Kokljuschkin in command. The company was later on renamed to Oy Sonet Suomi Ab. The company was disbanded in 1993, and PolyGram Finland Oy took over Sonet in Finland. In 1999 PolyGram Finland Oy was renamed to Universal Music Oy.
Catalog number forms: T-6###
The UK office was founded in 1967, led and formed by Rod Buckle. It was sold in 1994, soon after PolyGram acquired all the other Sonet companies.
Sonet Productions Ltd. (example)
Address: 12 Needham Road, London W11 (example)
Address: 25 Berkeley House, Hay Hill, London W1 (example)
Sonet Publishing Ltd. (Music Publishing)
Catalog numbers are usually formed: SNTF 000, SNKF 000
The German releases are usually manufactured and distributed by Intercord Tonträger GmbH, these releases are branded as Sonet releases. Sonet and Intercord signed a distribution deal around 1979. Before that, Sonet had a distribution deal with Deutsche Grammophon, signed in 1966, though the originally Sonet branded records were released through Polydor in Germany.
There are also license releases from the TELDEC companies and Metronome Records GmbH but they seem to be released rather on own imprints than on Sonet (example).
Catalog numbers are usually formed "INT. 000 000" example
The first Sonet releases in France were released in 1977, manufactured and distributed by Disques Vogue. These releases usually have a catalog number formed 000000. (example)
In 1986, Sonet decided to launch a joint venture in France, eventually picking Virgin (example) and EMI to handle sales and distribution. Mute Sonet France was founded in March 1986, with Jacques Attali as the head of the company. The Mute part of the name is the result of the further broadening of the association between Sonet and Mute.
The Italian releases are often distributed by Dischi Ricordi S.P.A. (example)
There are a few releases with the mention of "Sonet Records USA" which would indicate an office in the US as well.
Here are some of the most common center label designs.
Please note that all the years are approximates. This information is gathered from the release images, so it may contain mistakes.
The following label layout came out at least in three different colors (black, green and red). The earliest reference to this so far is from 1960. The use was ended by 1970.
Countries: Sweden, Denmark, Finland (example)
This label design, with small variations, can be found from releases dating from 1970 to 1986. The LP usage seems to be limited to 1970-1975/1976, but this design was also used (or so it seems) in 7" singles until 1986.
This label can be found from releases dating from 1972 to 1974.
Countries: Sweden (example)
This label design under can be found from releases dating from 1975 to 1983.
The following label design can be found from releases dating from 1985 to 1988.
This label design can be found from vinyl releases dating from 1988 to 1991. This is the last "generic" label design used. After this, the labels were more or less release or artist specific. The same design can be found also on CDs, the earliest are said to be from 1986. example