"The firm of Ricordi was founded in Milan in 1808 by Giovanni Ricordi (1785-1853); it was directed from 1853 to 1888 by his son Tito (1811-1888), from 1888 to 1912 by Tito’s son Giulio (1840-1912) and from 1912 to 1919 by Giulio’s son Tito (1865-1933). The firm was managed from 1919 to 1940 jointly by Renzo Valcarenghi and Carlo Clausetti, from 1940 to 1944 by Valcarenghi and Alfredo Colombo and from 1944 to 1952 by Colombo, Eugenio Clausetti and Camillo Ricordi. In 1952 it became a limited company, under the presidency first of Colombo, then of Guido Valcarenghi (from 1961), Carlo Origoni (from 1976), Gianni Babini (from 1982) and Guido Rignano (from 1988 to 1995). In June 1995 the company merged with BMG Ariola forming a new company BMG Ricordi S.p.a., of which Casa Ricordi is a division managed by Mimma Guastoni."
"During his first decade in business Giovanni Ricordi issued an average of 30 publications a year; in his second the yearly average was about 300. This expansion was largely the result of a succession of contracts starting from December 1814, which he won as prompter and exclusive copyist to La Scala, giving him the right to publish the music performed there; in 1825 he purchased their entire musical archives. In 1816 he had a similar contract as copyist to the Teatro Re, and in the 1830s and 1840s concluded highly favourable agreements with the opera houses of Venice and Naples. By the end of 1837 he had not only purchased the stock and plates of Ferdinando Artaria but was able to boast more than 10,000 publications, the exclusive rights to operas written for Milan and Naples, an archive of 1800 autograph manuscripts and a branch in Florence."
"In the entire history of music publishing there has been no other firm that through its own efforts, astuteness, initiative and flair has achieved a position of dominance such as Ricordi enjoyed in Italy in the 19th century, nor of power such as it has been able to maintain (on account of its rights on Verdi’s and Puccini’s operas) in the 20th." -- Richard Macnutt.
From the guide to the Collection of Ricordi records, 1810-1959, (Music Library)