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Okeh Records

A lateral recording of Billy Murray, from 1919
Okeh Records began as an [independent record label] based in the [United States of America] in [1918] ; from the late 1920s on, it was a subsidiary of [Columbia Records] .

Okeh (pronounced ' [okay] ') was founded by Otto K. E. Heinemann (1877–1965), a German-American manager for the U.S. branch of [German] -owned [Odeon Records] . As [World War I] raged in Europe, Heinemann thought it best to have an American based company. He incorporated the Otto Heinemann Phonograph Corporation in 1916, set up his own [recording studio] and [gramophone record] pressing plant in [New York City] , and introduced the company's line of records for public sale in September 1918. Heinemann formed the name of the record label "Okeh", from his initials; early disc labels rendered the name as OkeH . The first discs were vertical cut. In 1919 Okeh switched to the lateral cut method of [sound recording] , more usual for disc records. That same year the name of the label's owning company was changed to the General Phonograph Corporation . The name on the labels was changed to OKeh . The common 10-inch discs retailed for 75 [cents] each; the 12-inch discs for $1.25. The company's musical director was Fred Hager, who also appeared under the pseudonym of "Milo Rega" (Hager's middle name and his surname reversed).

Okeh began by issuing popular songs, dance numbers, and vaudeville skits similar to the fare of other labels, but Heineman also wished to experiment with music for audiences neglected by the larger record companies. Okeh produced lines of recordings in German, Czech, Polish, Swedish, and [Yiddish] for the USA's immigrant communities. Some were pressed from masters leased from European labels, others were recorded by Okeh in New York.

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