There are literally TONS of classical/operatic (and maybe even jazz) releases that should be filed under Decca Classics ("DECCA" in white uppercase on a blue-over-red rectangular block) that are wrongly filed under this profile, please help move them over to the correct label. (search from ca. 1982 onward, classical/operatic release before then might still be released under the old "DECCA" imprint)
One of the oldest record companies. Founded by Edward Lewis.
Had subsidiaries: Brunswick Records, Gennet Records.
Distributed RCA 1957-1971, and Atlantic until 1966.
Became part of Polygram in 1980, which was subsumed by Universal in 1998.
Decca retains the copyright for the names London Records and FFRR, although these are distributed under license by Warner Music Group. (London Records was originally used for US releases only, due to complicated copyright issues).
Chiefly known as classical and jazz label, Decca also had many releases during the rock n' roll era. The label boss famously passed on the opportunity to sign The Beatles, but did have a contract with The Rolling Stones. When the Stones left in the 1970s, Decca declined markedly as a pop music label.
The huge Decca back catalogue is licensed to hundreds of re-issue labels on short-term deals, while original Decca recordings also appear on Verve, Polygram TV and many other UMG imprints.
Note that copyrights expired in Europe (50 years limit) for a good part of the Decca catalog, making it freely available (public domain). This is one of the reasons you now find Decca cuts on many budget/slacky releases (though American copyright holders - the Verve Music Group mainly - still claim rights on these and still - obviously - have control over unreleased material).
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934 by Lewis along with American Decca's first president Jack Kapp and later American Decca president Milton Rackmil; in 1937, as a result of anticipating Nazi aggression leading to World War II, Lewis sold British Decca and the link between the U.K. and U.S. Decca labels was broken for several decades.
The British label was renowned for its development of recording methods, while the American company developed the concept of cast albums in the musical genre. Both wings are now part of the Universal Music Group, which is owned by Vivendi, a media conglomerate headquartered in Paris, France. The US Decca label was the foundation company that evolved into UMG.