Are you familiar with "Ethnic Recordings in America: A Neglected Heritage"? You can find it here: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000270150
It's almost 40 years old now, but still a very valuable look at the field, with some information about sales. In the introduction, Pekka Gronow notes that Victor recorded 18 sides by a Finnish-American artist named Erik Kivi at four sessions in the 1920s, though none seems to have sold more than 1,069 copies to his target audience. Victor might have made them a small profit from this, but often the point was to sell Victrolas in as many communities as possible so they could buy more Victor records of all sorts. Other ethnic artists from larger communities might sell in the tens of thousands or even more, and some ethnic records stayed in print for many years.
Library of Congress
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Paul Jackson
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2021 5:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Significance to the immigrant communities of foreign language sound recordings made in the United States prior to World War II
There may be some areas where this information could be provided, but likely not what you are asking: "success" or "failure" can be a very subjective and limited issue. Billboard Magazine goes back that far, and may present some figures, but I don't know if they covered language recordings or not, nor have I looked.
You might be able to research and find some of the items here:
In my book of the 70s, /Sound Search/, I noted several places which dealt with languages. You might be able to search those out, and find information.
Statistical Abstracts didn't start until 1943, but there could be information there: https://blogs.illinois.edu/view/25/116243
There also might be someone here who can help:
Best of luck,
On 10/10/2021 11:10 AM, ERIC BYRON wrote:
> We are trying to learnas much as we can about specific foreign language sound recordings that were made in theUnited States prior to World War II. The role that they played in the immigrant communities especially intrigues us. The Discography of American Historical Recordings periodically has information about sale figures and those numbers are helpful. Is there a way of getting sales figures for those recordings where the sales figures are not included in DAHR? Does anybody know whether there were publications that focused on these recordings and discussed the reasons for their success or failure? Any help would be greatly appreciated.