The Daily Record had a paid circulation in March 2015 of 190,985 (ABC), a drop of 11.1% year on year. According to NRS PADD figures, the Daily Record is by far the leading news brand in Scotland with a total audience of 3.1 million (rising to 3.4 million including the Sunday Mail). This compares with The Scottish Sun's audience in Scotland of 1.41 million and The Scotsman at 1.13 million.
The Daily Record was founded in 1895. The North British Daily Mail ceased publication in 1901 and was then incorporated into the Daily Record, which was renamed the Daily Record and Mail. Lord Kemsley bought the paper for £1 million in 1922, forming a controlling company known as Associated Scottish Newspapers Limited. Production was transferred from Renfield Lane to 67 Hope Street in 1926. In 1971 the Daily Record became the first European newspaper to be printed with run-of-paper colour, and was the first British national to introduce computer page make-up technology. It was purchased by Trinity Mirror in 1999, from the estate of Robert Maxwell.
Daily Record PM
In August 2006, the paper launched afternoon editions in Glasgow and Edinburgh entitled Record PM. Both papers initially had a cover price of 15p, but in January 2007, it was announced that they would become freesheets, which are distributed on the streets of the city centres. It was simultaneously announced that new editions were to be released in Aberdeen and Dundee. The PM is no longer published by the Daily Record.
Politically, the Daily Record supported the conservative Unionist Party until the 1964 general election, when it switched its allegiance to the Labour Party. The paper continues to support the Labour Party and has a close relationship with it, including donating £10,000 to the party in 2007. It opposes both the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Scottish independence. On the day of the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, it ran a front-page editorial attacking the SNP. Since Murray Foote became editor in February 2014, the publication's stance has become less clear cut. Headlines such as "Scottish lives considered cheap by UK defence bosses" regarding the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent are seen as pro-independence by some.
For many years there has been a close relationship between Daily Record journalists and Labour Party politicians in Scotland, and a revolving door between newspaper staff and Labour advisers. Helen Liddell went from being General Secretary of the Scottish Labour Party to being Robert Maxwell’s Head of Corporate Affairs at the Daily Record (1988-1991). Tom Brown worked as one of the Daily Record’s highest-profile columnists (1982-2003) and served as its political editor, before advising his friend, First Minister Henry McLeish. Paul Sinclair was political editor of the Daily Record (2000-2005), before becoming a special advisor to Douglas Alexander, and then to Gordon Brown. He has been Johann Lamont's special adviser and official spokesperson since 2011. Labour peer, and former MP and MSP, Lord Watson of Invergowrie has reflected that ‘the one paper no Labour MP or MSP can afford to ignore is the Daily Record'.
The Daily Record, along with Brian Souter, spearheaded the "Keep the Clause" campaign which aimed to prevent the Scottish Parliament from repealing Section 28. This law prevented local authorities from promoting "the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship" in state schools. Section 28 was eventually repealed in Scotland in 2000 by 99 votes to 17 in the Scottish Parliament, and was repealed in England and Wales in 2003. Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale is a weekly columnist in the paper, every Monday
- 1998: Martin Clarke
- 2000: Peter Cox
- 2003: Bruce Waddell
- 2011: Allan Rennie
- 2014: Murray Foote