M-G-M Records called these "original cast albums" in the style of Decca's Broadway show cast albums. They also coined the phrase "recorded directly from the soundtrack." Over the years the term "soundtrack" began to be commonly applied to any recording from a film, whether taken from the actual film soundtrack or re-recorded in studio. The phrase is also sometimes incorrectly used for Broadway cast recordings. While it is correct to call a "soundtrack" a "cast recording" (since it represents the film cast) it is never correct to call a "cast recording" a "soundtrack."
Among their most notable soundtrack albums were those of the films “Good News”, “Easter Parade ”, “Annie Get Your Gun”, Singin' in the Rain, Show Boat, “The Band Wagon”, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, and “Gigi”. When the film “The Wizard of Oz” was first shown on television in 1956, the label issued an album of songs and dialogue excerpts taken from the film.
M-G-M Records also issued albums of film scores, including Ben-Hur and How the West Was Won, and it offered a modest catalogue of classical recordings; among the latter was E3711, an account of two sonatas by Franz Schubert, billed as the first in a complete cycle, recorded by pianist Beveridge Webster.
In the early 1950s, MGM Records was considered as one of the "major" record companies (besides Columbia, RCA, Decca, Capitol and Mercury). Subsidiary Cub Records was launched in the late 1950s and Verve Records was acquired from Norman Granz in 1961. Other MGM subsidiaries and distributed labels included: Kama Sutra (from 1965 until Kama Sutra's sister label Buddah Records took over distribution in 1969), Ava, Heritage, Metro (for budget albums), Hickory, MGM South, L&R, and Lionel.
Another label distributed by MGM was American International Records, the record label division of American International Pictures - whose film library is now owned by MGM.
MGM Records was sold to PolyGram in 1972. In 1975 PolyGram began to deemphasize the label; before long the MGM release schedule was reduced to a slow trickle of soundtrack albums and reissues, which stopped altogether in 1982. Artists under contract to MGM were moved to the Polydor Records roster by 1976.
Mention should be made of a short lived Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Records of 1928; it produced recordings of music featured in MGM movies, not sold to the general public but made to be played in movie theater lobbies. These Metro-Goldwyn Mayer records were manufactured under contract with the studio by Columbia Records.
The MGM Records catalogue is now split. The pop music catalogue is still managed by Polydor Records. The country music catalogue is managed by Mercury Nashville Records. The MGM soundtracks catalogue is managed by Rhino Records.
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