His Master's Voice, today usually abbreviated to HMV, is a famous trademark in the music business, and for many years was the name of a large record label. The name was coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of the dog Nipper listening to a wind-up gramophone. In the original painting, the dog was listening to a cylinder phonograph.

=The origin of the trademark

The famous trademark image comes from a painting by English artist Francis Barraud, A.R.A. and titled His Master's Voice. It was acquired from the artist in 1899 by the newly-formed Gramophone Company. According to contemporary Gramophone Company publicity material, the dog, a fox terrier called Nipper, had originally belonged to Barraud's brother Mark. When Mark Barraud died, Francis inherited Nipper, along with a cylinder phonograph and a number of recordings of Mark's voice. Francis noted the peculiar interest that the dog took in the recorded voice of his late master emanating from the trumpet, and conceived the idea of committing the scene to canvas. In early 1899 , Francis Barraud applied for copyright of the original painting using the descriptive working title "Dog looking at and listening to a Phonograph". He was unable to sell the work to any cylinder phonograph company, but The Gramophone Company purchased it later that year, under the condition that Barraud modify it to show one of their disc machines. The image was first used on the company's publicity material in 1900 , and additional copies were subsequently commissioned from the artist for various corporate purposes. [cite web
title=The Nipper Saga

Later, at the request of the gramophone's inventor Emile Berliner, the American rights to the picture became owned by the Victor Talking Machine Company. Victor used the image more aggressively than its UK partner, and from 1902 on all Victor records had a simplified drawing of the dog and gramophone from Barraud's painting on their label. Magazine advertisements urged record buyers to "Look for the dog".

The Gramophone Company becomes "His Master's Voice"

In Commonwealth countries, the Gramophone Company did not use this design on its record labels until 1909 . The following year the Gramophone Company replaced the Recording Angel trademark in the upper half of the record labels by the famous picture painted by Frances Barraud, commonly referred to as Nipper or The Dog.

The company was never formally called "HMV" or His Master's Voice, but was identified by that term because of its use of the trademark. Records issued by the Company before February 1908 were generally referred to as "G&Ts", while those after that date are usually called "HMV" records.

This image continued to be used as a trademark by Victor in the USA, Canada and Latin America, and then by Victor's successor RCA. In Commonwealth countries (except Canada) it was used by subsidiaries of the Gramophone Company, which ultimately became part of EMI.

The trademark's ownership is divided among different companies in different countries, reducing its value in the globalised music market. The name HMV is used by a chain of music shops owned by HMV Group plc, mainly in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan.

In 1921 the Gramophone Company opened the first HMV shop in London. In 1929 RCA bought Victor, and with it a major shareholding in the Gramophone Company which Victor had owned since 1920.

In 1931 RCA was instrumental in the creation of EMI, which continued to own the "His Master's Voice" name and image in the UK. In 1935 RCA sold its stake in EMI but continued to own Victor and the rights to "His Master's Voice" in the Americas.Fact|date=May 2007

World War II fragmented the ownership of the name still further, as RCA Victor's Japanese subsidiary The Victor Company of Japan (JVC) became independent, and today they still use the "Victor" brand and Nipper in Japan only [HMV shops in Canada and Japan are still not allowed to use Nipper for these reasons; nor did the shops HMV operated in the United States in the late 1990s and early 2000s.] . Nipper continued to appear on RCA Victor records in America while EMI owned the His Master's Voice label in the UK until the 1980s, and the HMV shops until 1998.

The globalised market for CDs pushed EMI into abandoning the HMV label in favour of "EMI Classics", a name they could use worldwide; however, it was revived in the 1990s for Morrissey recordings. The HMV trademark is now owned by the retail chain in the UK. The formal trade mark transfer from EMI took place in 2003. []

Meanwhile, RCA went into a financial decline. The dog and gramophone image, along with the RCA name, is now licensed by RCA Records and RCA Victor owner Sony BMG Music Entertainment from Thomson SA, which operates RCA's consumer electronics business (still promoted by Nipper the dog) that it bought from General Electric in 1986, after GE bought RCA [Thomson SA bought the RCA trademarks, including Nipper in the Americas, from GE in 2003.] . The image of "His Master's Voice" now exists in the United States as a trademark only on radios and radios combined with phonographs, a trademark owned by Thomson subsidiary RCA Trademark Management SA.

With that exception, the "His Master's Voice" dog and gramophone image is in the public domain in the USA, its United States trademark registrations having expired in 1989 (Sound recordings and phonograph cabinets), 1992 (television sets, television-radio combination sets), and 1994 (sound recording and reproducing machines, needles, and records).

Additional Notes

The "His Master's Voice" logo was used around the world, and the motto became well-known in different languages. In Europe these include "La Voix de son Maître" (France), "La Voz de su Amo" (Spain), "La Voce del Padrone" (Italy), "Die Stimme Seines Herrn" (Germany) and "Husbondens Röst" (Sweden).

On 1st April, 2007, HMV Group announced that Gromit, the animated dog of Wallace and Gromit fame, would stand in for Nipper for a three month period, promoting children's DVDs in its UK stores. [ [ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Gromit steps into HMV logo role ] ]

The 1958 LP album "Elvis' Golden Records" shows pictures of various RCA 45s with Nipper on their labels. On the British version, these images were blacked out, for obvious copyright reasons. This editing took place with many other RCA releases in England.

The movie Superman Returns(2006) contains a scene early on set in Kansas, in which a "His Master's Voice" radio is clearly shown. HMV radios have never been sold in the USA, due to RCA holding the "Nipper" copyright. The movie was made in Australia, and the nearest "prop" was obviously used.

Homage is played to the iconic dog and gramophone image in the 1999 feature film Wild Wild West where in the 43rd minute a dog resembling Nipper runs to the side of a recently departed character and looks into an ear horn. The film however, is set in 1869, 30 years before Barraud created his work.

On July 1st 2008 HMV lifted the wraps on its bespoke social discovery Web site, [ [ HMV announces social music/media network] ] after being in beta testing for 6 months.

HMV Group plc

The name HMV is still used by the chain of entertainment shops founded by Gramophone Company in the UK and Canada, which continued to expand internationally through the 1990s.

In 1998 HMV Media was created as a separate company leaving EMI with a 43% stake. The firm bought the Waterstone's chain of bookshops and merged them with Dillons.

In 2002 it floated on the London Stock Exchange as HMV Group plc, leaving EMI with only a token holding.HMV shops in Australia, Ireland and the UK also use Nipper.

As of August 2006, there are over 400 HMV stores worldwide, plus the website, [ HMV Adds Gaming] . 28 August 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2006.] which is operated by HMV Guernsey.

ee also

* Victor Talking Machine Company
* RCA Records
* List of record labels
* Nipper
* The Gramophone Company


External links

* [ HMV Official Website]
* [ HMV Getcloser 'Social Discovery' website]
* [ Lots more about Nipper]
* [ Musée des ondes Emile Berlliner]

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