The first Scandinavian records appeared in 1899. By 1925, over 27,000 sides had been made in the region, and recordings had become an established part of musical life. Half of the recordings were made by the Gramophone Company, the market leader, but there were at least a dozen competing firms. The companies had to find out by trial and error what types of music would be attractive to customers. Early recording artists were mostly well-known personalities from opera, theatre or music halls, and their repertoire had already been tried on the stage.
Most Scandinavian records were pressed in Germany or the United Kingdom, and the companies also promoted their international repertoire in the region, but customers preferred local artists. A hundred years ago, opera singers were the only internationally known recording artists. Popular music was tied to local languages and traditions, and a demand for imported popular music only emerged after World War One, with the growing popularity of modern dance music.