The firm's production was dominated by classical music and music by Soviet composers and musicians, performances by Soviet theater actors, fairy tales for children, etc. For example, Melodiya released performances of works by Peter Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, which were valued for their authenticity. Melodiya also released some of the most successful western pop, jazz and rock records which included ABBA, Paul McCartney, Boney M. (the 1978 track "Rasputin" excluded), Dave Grusin, Amanda Lear, Bon Jovi (album New Jersey 1988), etc.
In other countries, Melodiya recordings imported from the USSR were often sold under the label MK, which stood for Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga ("International Book", Russian: Μеждународная Книга). In the United States, many Melodiya recordings appeared on the domestically manufactured Monitor Records label. In the 1970s and 1980s, Melodiya recordings of classical and folk music appeared on the Melodiya/Angel (USA) and Melodiya/HMV (elsewhere) labels as the result of an exclusive contract with EMI, the owner of both labels. A smaller number of recordings were distributed on other labels, particularly after 1989, before Melodiya granted exclusive rights to BMG in 1994. After expiry of the BMG contract in 2003, the company re-opened under new management and in 2006 started re-releasing recordings under its own label.
Being a state monopoly from 1919 to c.1989, the Soviet recording industry was able to apply a single numbering system to all its releases irrespective of origin or place of manufacture. The number sequences for 78s and LPs are strictly chronological, from which it is possible to date many, though not all, releases from the catalogue number .