Dot Records

Dot Records was an American record label founded by Randy Wood that was active between 1950 and 1979. The label was reactivated in 2014 through a joint venture between Big Machine Label Group and the Republic Records unit of Universal Music Group (which owns the original Dot Records catalog). Based in Nashville, Tennessee, the label was discontinued in 2017.[1]

Dot Records
Parent companyIndependent (1950–57)
Paramount Pictures (1957–72)
Gulf+Western (1966–74)
Famous Music Group (1972–74)
ABC Records (1974–78)
MCA Records (1985–86)
Universal Music Group (2014–17)
Founded1950 (1950)
FounderRandy Wood
Defunct2017 (2017)
Distributor(s)Self-distributed (1950–68)
Famous Music Group (1968–74)
ABC Records (1974–78)
MCA Records (1985–86)
Big Machine Label Group (2014–17)
GenreVarious (early)
Country (later)
Country of originU.S.
LocationNashville, Tennessee


Early years

The original headquarters of Dot Records was in Gallatin, Tennessee. Many of the earliest recordings were in the on-air production studios of WHIN, which Wood owned. Since WHIN was a daytime-only radio station, recording sessions were at night when the station was off the air.[2] In 1956, the company moved to Hollywood, California.

In its early years, Dot specialized in artists from Tennessee. Then it branched out to include musicians from across the U.S. It recorded country music, rhythm & blues, polkas, waltzes, gospel, rockabilly, pop, and early rock and roll. After moving to Hollywood, Dot Records bought many recordings by small local independent labels and issued them nationally.

Sold to Paramount

In 1957, Wood sold the label to Paramount Pictures, but he remained president for another decade. Dot (and Wood) then moved to Hollywood, where the label began to release soundtrack albums, including Elmer Bernstein's score for The Ten Commandments (1956),[3] a 2-LP set that played longer than the usual record album.

Hamilton Records, a subsidiary, was founded in 1958 for rockabilly and rhythm & blues. It distributed Steed Records and the only two records from Carnival, owned by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. Two other subsidiary labels were created: Crystalette Records and Acta Records. In 1967, Dot picked up distribution of DynoVoice, owned by Bob Crewe, from Bell Records. Later that year, Randy Wood left to found Ranwood Records with Lawrence Welk.

Pat Boone and Eddie Fisher recorded successful singles and albums for Dot. Of these, Eddie Fisher Today was the most popular and included popular standards of the day, but Fisher had no substantial hit singles during his Dot contract.[4]

Country music label

Two years after Paramount was purchased by Gulf and Western in 1968, Dot was rebranded as a country music label under the umbrella of the Famous Music Group, which took over management at the end of 1971.[4] This included Paramount Records, Stax (until 1970), and Blue Thumb, with distribution of Sire (now owned by Warner Music Group) and Neighborhood, originally owned by Melanie Safka. By 1968, Lawrence Welk had acquired his Dot back catalog and subsequently reissued the material on his own Ranwood label.[5]

With the rest of the Famous Music Group, in 1974, Dot was bought by ABC, which had tried to purchase the label years before, and discontinued the label at the start of 1978.[6] The ABC/Dot headquarters became the Nashville office of ABC Records, a division of the American Broadcasting Company.

ABC Records was then sold to MCA Records in 1979. MCA's Nashville division briefly revived the Dot label in 1985–86 for a series of one-off albums by country music artists such as Jan Howard, Jeanne Pruett, Jim Ed Brown and the Browns, Carl Perkins, Billie Jo Spears, Porter Wagoner, and Tompall Glaser.[8]

The merger of the MCA Records and PolyGram Records families became the foundation for Universal Music Group in 1999. Currently, the Dot pop music catalog is managed by Universal Music's Geffen Records. The country back catalog is managed by the former Decca and Coral unit, which was rebranded as MCA Nashville.

Randy Wood died at age 94 in his La Jolla, California, home on April 9, 2011, from complications after a fall.


Big Machine Records revived the Dot Records name for a new label in March 2014.[9][10] The label's first signees included Maddie and Tae,[11] Drake White,[12] and Steven Tyler.[13] Big Machine discontinued the label in 2017.[1]


(** indicates a master purchase/lease from another record company)


See also


  1. "Fate of Dot Records Artists Still Uncertain After Big Machine Officially Shutters the Label - Saving Country Music". Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  2. "Randy Wood: The Dot Records Story, Part 1". May 6, 2003. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  3. "THE TEN COMMANDMENTS : General Release". Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  4. "Dot Album Discography, Part 5 (1968-1973)". November 16, 2003. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  5. Billboard - Google Books. April 20, 1968. p. 3. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  6. Billboard - Google Books. January 14, 1978. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  7. "Dot Album Discography, Part 6 (1971–1977)". Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  8. Billboard - Google Books. October 12, 1985. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  9. Rau, Nate (March 24, 2014). "Big Machine resurrects Dot Records name". The Tennesseean. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  10. "Republic Records Revive Legendary Dot Records". Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  11. DOT RECORDS ANNOUNCES MADDIE & TAE AS INAUGURAL ACT ON ROSTER Archived July 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved June 11, 2014
  12. "BMLG's Dot Records Signs Drake White". Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  13. "Steven Tyler Signs With Big Machine Label Group". Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  14. Unterberger, Richie. "". AllMusic. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  15. "The Story of Roy Head and The Traits". Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  16. Birmingham, Jed (March 22, 2006). "Beat Vinyl: Reports from the Bibliographic Bunker". Retrieved November 14, 2007. The ultimate Beat Generation collectible on vinyl might be Jack Kerouac’s Poetry of the Beat Generation on Dot Records.
  17. DeMara, Bruce (February 27, 2015). "Five things you don't know about Leonard Nimoy". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved March 25, 2016. Leonard Nimoy, who died Feb. 27 at the age of 83, was more than his most famous character, Spock. He also wrote poetry, sang and loved photography.
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