Records Across Former Yugoslavia

Jugoton

Former Jugoton record store

In Yugoslavia, record labels and stores were run by the state. There were numerous labels based around the country including Jugodisk from Belgrade, Diskoton from Sarajevo, and ZKP RTLJ from Ljubljana. The oldest and largest was Jugoton from Zagreb.

I’ve come across a lot of old records in Belgrade with the Jugoton label and was happy to see an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Technology to see a bit more behind the label. The exhibit featured many pieces of the studio, tape machines, and record lathes. There were sections highlighting music created in former Yugoslavia, as well as the many international records licensed and released by Jugoton from 1947 – 1990.

Mixing console

Mixing console from Jugoton studio

equipment

Equipment used in pressing Jugoton records

In 1981, Jugoton released Paket aranžman, a compilation of Belgrade bands at the forefront of New Wave in Yugoslavia. The compilation has been mentioned to me by a few current djs and producers as a big influence. It has been voted the 2nd most influential album in Yugoslav rock history on the YU 100 list. Take a listen (my favorites are Električni Orgazam – Krokodili dolaze at 4:00 and Idoli – Amerika at 24:05).

In 1990, Jugoton closed as Yugoslavia began dissolving and reopened as Croatia Records which still runs today. Thinking about records moving across ex-Yugoslavia, I think about today’s musicians in the region touring across the same cities. One of Belgrade’s biggest rock acts, Repititor, made a documentary of their tour of Kosovo in 2011. They were the first Serbian band to perform in Pristina since 1999. The film is an interesting peek into the relations between Serbia and Kosovo and features some great songs by Repititor.

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