1921 - 1938
Oriole Records was a record label of the 1920s and 1930s based in the United States. The budget album label was sold exclusively at the McCrory chain of stores (a competitor of Woolworth's).
The Oriole label first appeared in 1921, selling for 25 cents per disc record. Originally, Oriole records were pressed by the Cameo Record Company (generally not from Cameo material, however), but this arrangement lasted only a month or two. Most of the masters were leased from other labels, early on mostly Emerson.
From around number 115, Orioles were pressed by Grey Gull and usually have unusual pairings of material, with one side being a hit popular tune and the other "standard" material, sometimes classical.
At number 250, Orioles suddenly began being pressed by Plaza Music Company, who also pressed the Banner label, and whose issues were the original labels to be treated as "cheap" labels.
During the 1930-32 period, ARC dropped a number of their labels; however, Oriole continued (due to the successful McCrory's contract), using the same number series (which eventually reached past 2000) as well as another series for country and race records.
As the depression and the popularity of radio cut into record sales, most of the store labels were discontinued; another factor was that the younger record buyers looked for specific versions of their favourite tunes, so name artists like Miller and Goodman made up the majority of discs sold.
The last Oriole records seem to have been issued in January, 1937. All of the low-priced labels were dropped in April, 1938 and the American Record Corporation was acquired by the Columbia Broadcasting System later that year.
Along with the other ARC cheap labels (Banner, Melotone, and Perfect), Oriole is quite commonly found, indicating how popular they were.