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Hit of the Week Records

Hit of the Week Records was a record label based in the United States of America in the early 1930s. Distinctively, "Hit of the Week"s were made not of shellac as was usual for disc records of the era, but of a patented blend of paper and resin called Durium. A related label in the United Kingdom was called Durium Records.

"Hit of the Week" was an attempt to produce a product for the tighter budgets of customers during the Great Depression. The label debuted in February of 1930. Unlike other records, it was sold at news-stands, not record stores. As the name implied, new records came out at the rate of one each week. Retailing at 15 cents each, "Hit of the Week"s were the cheapest new record available. The unusual Durium material helped set the "Hit of the Week"s apart; other than a tendency to have a low-frequency rumble, audio fidelity was comparable to the usual records of the time. Also unusual, "Hit of the Week"s were pressed with music on only one side of the disc, a practice most other labels had abandoned a generation earlier. Some editions of "Hit of the Week" contained explanatory text printed on the flat back of the disc.

"Hit of the Week Records" were initially very successful. By the summer of 1930, up to half a million copies of each week's record were produced to fill demand. However as the Depression became even worse, sales of even the inexpensive "Hit of the Week"s slumped. In March of 1931 the company went into receivership. In May of that year they were purchased by the Irwin Wasey Advertising Agency. New "Hit of the Week" records debuted in August, now with two songs or dance tunes on each single sided disc, with 5 minutes of total playing time. However as the economy continued to contract the label was unable to turn a profit, and the last "Hit of the Week"s were produced in June of 1932. The advertising agency continued to make limited use of "Durium" records, mostly for advertising novelties, through the 1930s.

Among popular artists of the time who recorded for "Hit of the Week Records" were Gene Austin, Eddie Cantor, Morton Downey, and Rudy Vallee.

See also: List of record labels