Christopher Roberts, the former president of Universal Music Group’s Classics & Jazz division, is an accomplished pianist, producer, and composer. Christopher Roberts’ leadership of Universal Music put him in charge of Decca Records, a subsidiary that had delivered classical music to people across the world for decades.
Decca was founded in Britain in 1929 by Edward Lewis. The name originated from a portable gramophone Lewis bought in 1929 and renamed Decca Gramophone. Lewis established the American wing of Decca in 1934. Eight years later, it was trading on the New York Stock Exchange. After World War II, Decca UK split from Decca US. The two wouldn’t come together again until years later.
In 1949, Decca made a breakthrough in the industry when it began selling long-playing records. At the time, most records only allowed users five minutes of continuous play. Decca’s LP allowed 30 minutes of uninterrupted play, however, in addition to superior sound quality. The records were a hit, catapulting Decca to the mainstream music club. By 1959, Decca had become so popular that it was bought out by Music Corporation of America, commonly known as MCA.
MCA changed its name to Universal Music Group in 1997. In 1998, Universal bought Decca UK’s parent company, PolyGram, putting Decca US and Decca UK under the same ownership.