Armada (Germany) / c. 1925

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Design: A simple design for this 6 inch label, with nice white-inline lettering for the label name. With such an evocative name, it is surprising that some sort of graphic image of sailing ships was not used.

History: Label scan courtesy of collector Lucyna Lachowicz of Poland. Thanks to Dr. Dieter Meyer of Germany for the following updated info: "Some further information taken from an article I found in the Phonographische Zeitschrift from March 1926: as an answer to the challenge of cheap foreign records of 6`[15 cm] diameter, mainly offered at department stores for RPf ["Reichspfennige"] 75 following the year 1925, national industries reacted in two steps:

1. German record manufacturers Lindström (O = Odeon), Vox (=V), Homocord (= H) and Grammophon (= G) launched a small record under the name of Armada, whose retail price was RPf 50 (half a 'Mark'), being double-sided and of a limited repertoire. Retailers were offered special conditions of payment and supply. Reduced prices were made possible by using licence-free public domain pieces on one side of the record coupled with chargeable [royalty-paying] ditties of the day on the other, e.g. Armada G-915, 'Indian Love Call' by Friml, coupled with a truncated version of 'Die Post im Walde,' a popular Charakterstück by Shaeffer with a trumpet solo. Or G-924, 'Ilona,' a blues by Will Meisel -- very popular those days -- with the 'Blue Danube Waltz' by Strauss ('An der schoenen blauen Donau') in a mercilessly abridged two-minute version on the B-side. The letters O, V, H or G in front of the order number (which also served as the matrix number) indicate the pressing plants, not the recording studios. Thus one and the same recording may bear a different letter according to where it was pressed. A piece recorded at Vox studios may e.g. have been pressed in a plant of the Gramophone Co. and thus bear the G-letter.

2. At the same time, a regular-sized 10" [25cm] record branded Derby was brought into the market as a joint venture of said German record manufacturers, that cost RM 2.- , had a brown label Derby brown label (25 cm diameter, acoustically, 1925-1928) marked "For Germany only" / "Nur fuer Deutschland" to avoid licence infringements) and also a restricted repertoire (the catalogue reads "highly popular pieces only!" -- "Nur volkstümliche Stücke!") to be enlarged on demand. These records were given away to retail traders under regular conditions.

The reduced sale price was made possible by the expedient of using acoustically-made matrices previously published on the main labels, which in the meantime had been replaced by electrically recorded up-to-date ones. All the small Armada records were acoustically recorded, as were most of the brown 25-cm Derby records. Manufacturers were still using their acoustical equipment up to the year 1927."

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