[78-L] Unison

Matthew Duncan recordgeek334578 at yahoo.com
Tue May 31 14:54:16 PDT 2011

Hi John

It is my understanding that they are identical, as you say, but I have a theory 
about the reason behind it all.

Broadcast records were sold in a variety of shops - gramophone dealers (as 
normal), some hardware stores, some gents outfitters and some cycle shops etc., 
based on shop covers I have seen.

A Vocalion salesman would have gone into these individual establishments and 
pitched 'Broadcast' as a product to them...like: ''We will pay you £xxx or xxx% 
of sales if you have a Broadcast display and advertise them in your window and 
on your shop covers and we will replace stock when needed and remove any 
non-sellers''.  Or something to that effect.

Unison discs were sold in Co-op stores - and these stores alone I believe....if 
the Co-op had refused Broadcast, or another big chain had accepted them then the 
Co-op (potentially a real money spinner for Vocalion due to having a nationwide 
customer base) wouldn't appreciate a second visit from a Broadcast salesman, but 
may have accepted Unison on their second try (especially at a higher % of the 

The same name/pseudonym would have been OK because people buying Unison discs 
wouldn't know about Broadcast (necessarily) or link the two together because 
even if they bought both labels, they wouldn't buy the same song twice??  So no 
chance of duplication...

So, seems like they made the Unison discs in order to pitch to a big player in 
the retail sector (and ended up with the Co-op) and essentially double their 
profits...no point a record dealer selling both labels??!

Also, regarding the 'sale or return' system, alot of the early numbers on 
Broadcast 8" (and many 10" Broadcast Twelves) of classical or opera music must 
have been returned as they were heavily advertised on their sleeves - Vocalion 
must have been stuck with them...classical buyers purchasing HMV and other 
dependable products and buyers wanting dance music on a budget buying the other 
Vocalion items?? Maybe...just a thought..

Well, it's a (long winded) theory anyway!

Matthew Duncan

From: JOHN WRIGHT <vintage at jabw.demon.co.uk>
To: 78-l at klickitat.78online.com
Sent: Tue, 31 May, 2011 21:41:54
Subject: [78-L] Unison

Been trying to tidy up that corner of my collection occupied by 8 inch
British shellac (why do they always get mixed up and become in total
disarray!)  mainly Broadcast, Edison Bell Radio, Eclipse, and reminded
myself that I have a few of the Unison label, a product of Vocalion.

Just checked them all re content and all the dance band items I have are
EXACTLY the same as Broadcast issues, same number, same band name/pseudonym
on label, same takes (either take 1 or if there's an x I think that's take

So, are all the Unisons just copies of Broadcasts with a Unison label? What
was the point of using same band name/pseudonym?

I was hoping to find alternate takes of Waikiki Serenaders/Fillis/Bowlly but
no such luck.

John Wright

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