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Polydor Records is a record label currently headquartered in the UK, and is a subsidiary of Universal Music Group.

Polydor was originally an independent branch of the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. Its name was first used, as an export label, in 1924, the British and German branches of the Gramophone Company having severed their ties during World War I. Deutsche Grammophon claimed the rights to the His Master's Voice trademark for Germany, where HMV recordings were released under the Electrola trademark. In turn, DGG records exported out of Germany were released on the Polydor label. Deutsche Grammophon lost its rights to the His Master's Voice trademark to EMI and its Electrola label as part of Germany's surrender terms at the end of World War II.

Polydor became a popular music label in 1946 while the famously yellow Deutsche Grammophon seal became a classical music label. Polydor remained Deutsche Grammophon's export label, including classical music, in France and the Spanish-speaking world for the remainder of the long-playing era, as a result of language and cultural concerns.

In the early 1960s orchestra leader Bert KaempfertBert Kaempfert signed unknowns Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers - who would later become famous as The Beatles - to Polydor. Popular German entertainers such as James Last, Bert Kaempfert, Kurt Edelhagen, Caterina Valente and the Kessler Twins appeared on the Polydor label, as well as many French, Spanish and Latin-American figures.

In 1972, Polydor merged with giant Philips-owned Phonogram Records to create PolyGram in the US. The Polydor label continued to run as a subsidiary label under the new company. Polydor later took interest in the Sex Pistols in 1976, but lost to EMI. The name PolyGram is a hybrid of Polydor and PhonoGram.


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