Bertelsmann Vinyl Collection
By presenting the “Vinyl Collection,” the Bertelsmann Corporate Archive is making parts of its vast record collection accessible to the general public for the first time. This collection provides a unique documentation of the music history of the Bertelsmann Clubs, which distributed an important and popular record program for their members between 1956 and 1992.
During a joint indexing project with the Bertelsmann Club in the summer of 2005, the Corporate Archive took over an inventory of around 40,000 vinyl records. It was created by the Bertelsmann Schallplattenring’s Program department in the 1950s and was continued by subsequent responsible departments over five decades. In a first step, all the items in the collection were photographed, and their metadata indexed and transferred to the archive database. In the course of a further acquisition, the Corporate Archive received numerous bound Labelcopies (Matrizenpässe) for the records sold in the Clubs and Club centers, which now made it possible to clearly separate them from the rest of the inventory. Using the matrix passes, and by comparing them with the Club catalogues stored in the Corporate Archive, the publication date of many Club editions could be reconstructed for the first time, and added to the database.
Besides the group of vinyl records that were part of the actual club assortment, it was now possible to identify further separate collections within the collection: Original and promotional editions by many record companies, which played a role solely in planning the Clubs’ various quarterly programs, and which were not considered for the “Vinyl Collection.” The collection also included other groups of records that were not part of the actual club assortment but could be used to document the early days of the Bertelsmann Schallplattenring. These non-current recordings are included in the “Vinyl Collection” with a corresponding tag (Altablage).