Ring der Musikfreunde

Ring der Musikfreunde is founded in Cologne in 1956, by P.P. Kelen Schallplatten GmbH. At the end of 1962, Bertelsmann acquires Ring der Musikfreunde and continues it as a special club for lovers of classical music. At the beginning of the 1970s, Ring der Musikfreunde – a club without mandatory purchases – becomes part of the Kelen Musikprogramm, in which Bertelsmann's mail-order activities, ongoing since 1964, are already pooled. Further special clubs emerge from this alliance, such as Club Top 13 (1973) with the successful Hitparade samplers, and hallo RTL (1977), a club based on Radio Luxemburg’s program and the commercial channel RTL plus, founded in 1984. At their peak, these special clubs jointly supply around 300,000 members with music from a wide variety of musical genres. In 1992, the record offer of the special interest clubs is discontinued in favor of CDs. The mail-order business finally stops selling records in the following year.

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