1945 - ?

From its start, the label was about Polish music but focused on the polka genre. DANA transformed the Eastern European polka by increasing the tempo, and adding trumpet and saxophone sections to the traditional instrumentation set. This was the label's way of appealing to both traditional ethnic audiences and broadening its appeal to new listeners.

In 1948 the label had a huge success with Helen Polka, causing pick up from distributors, and giving the label financial stability to enter into the pop and Latin American markets. Fall of 1948, the label significantly expanded its catalog when it acquired Syrena Records' catalog from Wlodziemierz Falencki, who shipped large numbers of Syrena masters from Poland due to expectations of a war.

All of the label's releases had been in the 78rpm format until 1949, when they issued their first LP record. As major labels started losing interest in ethnic music, the label was still able to add several top bands to its roster.

1952 can be seen as the label's biggest year. A poll by Billboard ranked it third for income among all record labels, above labels such as Capitol and Decca. Then, Coral Records took up distributing the label in the Chicago area. Dana felt its brand was generally well-enough recognized that they dropped the Broadway imprint and began also using the DANA label for pop releases.

In 1954, Walter Dana sold DANA Records to Jerry Blaine, which brought a complete overhaul of the label's distribution. However, Dana remained president of the label for a time after the sale. DANA's sales percentage of 78rpm records was stronger than the industry's average. It was not until 1957 that sales of 45rpm discs equaled that of the 78s.

DANA started pressing the 78rpm discs in vinyl, similar to the 45's, but switched back to selling the 78rpm format in shellac because of dealers' demands.

In July 1959, Jerry Blaine's company moved its headquarters to a new building on West 47th Street in New York, along with its now sister companies Jubilee and Josie. After Walter Dana quit the company for "overextension," DANA Records was operated as a division of Fiesta Records. In 1961, DANA Records' Frank Wojnarowski's Matka had a million-selling record. Wojnarowski had been with the label since the early days of the company and helped popularize the east-coast polka sound which appealed to their target audience. However, Matka was more of a hit among the Polish-American audience, making its gold record certification unusual. By 1988, DANA Records moved their offices to Miami Beach, Florida.

DANA used unusual marketing techniques, common in other smaller labels, including partnering with Manischewitz Wine Company, naming one of their songs "Wine Polka," and supplying DJs with bottles.

Source: Wikipedia



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