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|important terms & abbreviations...|
Here's a full explanatory list (in alphabetical order) of most of the terms used in our website and throughout the record collecting world. Please remember any items listed in our catalogue are excellent to mint condition unless otherwise stated.
Acetates Metal discs covered in a waxy lacquer, onto which the track or tracks are then "cut" by a lathe. They are noticeably heavier than ordinary vinyl records; usually having hand written or typed labels, and have a very distinctive smell! Generally only a handful ever made, sometimes containing unreleased tracks or unique versions. Commonly to be found cut on one side only, or as a 10" disc cut with a 7" playing area. Generally better quality than vinyl as they are closer in generation to the original master tape, however the lacquer covering is not as hard wearing as regular vinyl and will not stand up to repeated plays. The 1990s has seen a decline in their production for promotional purposes with the advent of recordable CD-Rs.
Catalogue numbers Almost every commercial release has a unique catalogue number. This can be a combination of both letters and numbers. Promotional items very often have different catalogue numbers to the commercial release and are often easily spotted as the catalogue number will be prefixed "PRO", "DJ" or "PR". There is however no set pattern at all and catalogue numbers are rarely issued in sequence for a particular artist. Our descriptions often use the abbreviation "cat#" or "cat no.".
CD3 or 3" CD The smaller 3" CD disc, now mostly only produced in Japan (see Snap-packs). Not to be confused with the Minidisc. A large number of early CD singles were made in this format. Should play on most CD players without the need for a plastic adaptor. View an example here.
CD Rot There is no evidence that CDs, if properly manufactured and stored, will gradually become unplayable. Unfortunately there have been several occasions where manufactured CDs have been sold only to self-destruct in some way years later. One early problem occurred in the late 1980s when a number of CDs were labeled & printed with a defective ink that eventually "ate" through the lacquer on the label side and caused the aluminum surface to lose its reflectivity. Some discs also reacted to the printing on the cd booklets. The damage is easily visible by looking at the data side of the affected. These discs self-destructed very quickly and were pressed in relatively small numbers, so you are unlikely to run across any today. The best-known problem is with a larger number of discs pressed between 1989 and 1991 by Philips Data Optical (PDO) in the UK. Due to errors in manufacturing, these discs are slowly turning a dark orange or bronze color, on the label side. This discoloration gradually creeps from the outer edge of the CD towards the center, and can eventually make these discs unplayable
CD-R or CD acetates Recordable CDs, usually gold or silver in colour. These differ from regular CD discs as the audio information on them is "burned" on in real time rather than "pressed". This makes them suitable for short production runs, where anything from a single copy to several hundred copies are required.
CD Single CD-singles gradually overtook the traditional seven and twelve inch vinyl singles' market. The first documented CD-single was Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms" from Germany, commemorating the band's 1985 European tour . The arrival of CD-singles did not come until 1986. With promotional titles including 38 Special's Like No Other Night, Police's Don't Stand So Close To Me, and Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark (Forever) Live & Die released by A&M Records as the first U.S. CD-singles. Not until 1994 did the major record companies commit to issuing a steady stream of CD5s as a counterpart to the common 7" and cassette-single.
CD-Video A largely obsolete but highly collectable format, briefly popular during the late 1980s. CD-Videos were produced on 5", 8" or 12" size discs and can be played on some laserdisc players. 5" CD-Video discs have the advantage of containing audio tracks which can be played on a regular CD player.
Coloured vinyl Any colour in the spectrum other than black. Can be a single primary colour, or a mixture of colours, e.g. "splattered", "marbled" etc. Occasionally vinyl which appears, at first glance, to be black may well be pressed on translucent coloured vinyl, hence when held to a strong light source the disc will appear brown or red.
Counter display Similar to a display card, but has a piece on the reverse which will enable the display to stand upright. Usually placed around the cash desk area in a record store (where it's most likely to attract your attention).
Custom sleeve A picture or title sleeve that is unique to the promotional pressing and is not used for the commercial release.
Cut out A deleted item that has been saw cut, clipped or drilled by the record company to prevent it being sold as full price product.
DAT Digital Audio Tape. About half the size of a conventional cassette. A few titles were made commercially available on this format in the mid 80s. No longer considered a domestic format, it is still used widely within the music industry for recording and mastering purposes.
DCC Digital Compact Cassette. Slightly smaller than a conventional cassette. An early competitor to Minidisc which did not really gain popularity.
Double pack A set of two CD or vinyl discs. The term is usually associated with promotional double 12" releases issued for DJ purposes, double 7" single sets or two part CD singles.
Deleted Deleted vinyl & CDs are items once commonly available, but since deleted and no longer sold at the retail level. But how can any title from media as new as the CD become out-of-print, let alone become worth anything? CDs have been around for over 18 years. Millions of titles have come and gone over that time. While it is true that some titles are deleted because of poor sales, they are also deleted because of copyright difficulties, master rights changes, and even errors in the disc or packaging that need correcting (mis-press). CDs have been circulating in and out of print since the first CD was released. For example the first Beatles CD, Abbey Road, was deleted immediately after its release in Japan in 1982 due to copyright issues. The rights to David Bowie's CD catalog, released in 1983 by RCA, soon changed hands to Rykodisc and the whole Bowie CD catalogue was deleted.
Die-Cut A sleeve with a custom cut area or hole, usually intended to reveal a picture disc, coloured vinyl disc or the label, without having to remove it from the sleeve.
Digipak A folding cardboard CD sleeve into which is glued a plastic tray that holds the disc.
Display card / Display flat Picture, title or colour display on card for promoting an artist or single. Usually the type of thing you would see stapled to the wall of your local record store.
Gatefold A sleeve folded down the centre to create a double pocket. Often abbreviated to "g/fold" or "g/f".
Gold stamped Regular or promotional sleeve to which an embossed gold "stamp" has been applied stating that it is a promotional or advance copy. Does not necessarily mean the actual disc will be a promotional copy.
Jewel case The transparent outer plastic case of a compact disc. Sometimes manufactured from translucent coloured plastic or custom etched.
Japanese Promo Items All of these items are marked or stickered with a 3 character reference. To view an example click here.
Limited edition As the music industry continues to recognize the profitability of the music collectors market limited pressing or issue with a strict number of units are being, produced with no likelihood of a repressing once sold out. This differs from a regular issue, which is intended to be available for a longer period and may be repressed to meet demand. A majority of limited editions are produced in special packaging with, maybe extra tracks and now the "Enhanced" editions for use on home PC's. Usually abbreviated to "ltd" or "ltd edn" and may sometimes be individually numbered.
Matrix number The number or numbers in the run-off groove of a record or around the centre ring on the playing side of a compact disc. Identifies a particular pressing from other pressings of the same item. For example, the only way to tell which mix of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'Relax' 12" you may have (there are three different ones with identical labels) is purely by the matrix in the run off groove.
Maxi-single European term for an extended play 12" or CD single.
Minidisc An increasingly popular digital format housed inside a 5cm x 5cm cartridge. Not to be confused with the 3" CD.
Minimax CD A 5" CD with a 3" playing area in the centre and clear plastic surround.
No'd Numbered - usually referring to the packaging of limited editions.
NTSC Video standard for North America & Japan. Will not play on PAL systems.
Obi-strip The outer paper band around Japanese vinyl releases or the strip affixed to Japanese CDs. These give Japanese language information concerning the item and are usually decorative and highly attractive. Obi-strips are very rare on Japanese items dating from before the late 1960s.
O.S.T. Original Sound Track. The soundtrack to a film, play, show or TV programme.
PAL Video standard for the UK, Australia & most of Europe. Will not play on NTSC systems. All our videos are PAL system unless stated otherwise.
P/S Picture sleeve or picture cover. Will not necessarily feature a picture of the group. We will still sometimes refer to an item having a picture sleeve even if there are only titles on the sleeve.
Picture insert A printed flat paper or card insert placed in front or behind a disc and housed in a plastic sleeve or case. Picture discs sometime come with a printed backing card and most Japanese 7" singles have a picture insert rather than a printed pocket sleeve.
Poster sleeve Vinyl record that comes in a picture sleeve which when unfolded can be used as a poster.
Press kit As below but with the addition of a CD, cassette or vinyl format.
Press pack / Press kit A combination of printed or photocopied literature (possibly on Record Company headed paper) usually accompanied by a promotional photograph. Sent out to the media, newspapers, magazines, etc, containing new release information and/or biography material about an artist. Sometimes contained in an A4 folder, possibly customised for the artist/release concerned. No set formula, but most DO NOT contain any music. We generally refer to a combination of music format & press information as a press kit.
Press release Usually a single A4 sheet sent out with advance or promotional copies of a release and containing additional information for journalists or urging DJs to feature the item on their playlist.
Promo Promotional (promo) CDs & vinyl are issued by record companies for the express purpose of introducing new music and artists to the media. The discs are also sent to radio for air-play, promotions at record stores, Disc Jockeys or for industry demonstration purposes. Promo items commonly contain one of the following phrases: Promo(tional) Use Only, DJ Use Only, Play It Say It Don't Sell It, Not For Sale or Not For Resale. Not every promo item states that it is promo or uses any of the above terms, some merely use specific catalogue numbers or prefix/suffix the catalogue number of the normal commercial issue with "DJ", "ADV", "PR", "PRO" or just plain "P"! Despite the disc's promotional purpose, they are designed not only as marketing tools but as special collectors' items. Promo CDs are often designed more elaborately than their commercial counterpart with special exterior packaging and disc design. In addition, some titles may contain tracks not available on the commercially released version. Promos are especially attractive to collectors and Items referred to as PROMO-ONLY in our descriptions generally do not have an exact commercial counterpart.
Proof artwork or sleeve Basically a test run of a sleeve or other piece of packaging. Probably will not have any promotional markings but will be noticeably different to the finished commercial item as they usually retain the printers colour keys and are generally not cut or folded as the finished item would be.
Radio Shows When an artist is interviewed or performs "live" on the radio, the program usually isn't truly live. Rather, these programs have been pre-recorded and then syndicated to radio stations. Radio shows are rare because only a single copy is sent to each participating station. Shows like the King Biscuit Flower Hour, Off the Record, and In Concert, around since the days of vinyl and now pressed on CD, are extremely popular with collectors. This popularity is often enhanced if the show has live cuts and interviews exclusive to that disc. Unlike most promotional CDs, the packaging for radio shows is usually very plain. They are often no more than an unmarked white paper sleeve with a photocopied "cue sheet" listing the program's contents, commercials, and segment times.
SECAM French video standard. Only plays in black & white on PAL systems.
Shaped picture disc or CD A disc which is custom cut to whatever shape required! Vinyl discs are cut with a 7" or 10" playing area. Usually a collectable limited edition pressing.
Snap-pack Unique form of packaging for Japanese 3" CD singles. A 6" x 3" card sleeve folded over a plastic frame which holds the CD. The frame can be "snapped" down to 3" x 3" size and the sleeve folded around it. We sell these "snapped" used Japanese 3" CDs at a much lower price than unadulterated examples.
Test pressing A pressing made to test quality in advance of a longer run or for use as promos prior to finished promo or commercial product being available. Some test pressings have studio labels or just plain white labels instead of record company labels. Some test pressings have different catalogue numbers to domestic releases. Sometimes abbreviated to "T/P".
Uncut picture disc An item which when commercially released was a shaped disc, but for test pressing purposes has been left circular with either a clear or coloured surround around the actual picture. Only ever a handful in circulation.
White label A promotional pressing with a completely blank label denoting it is promo only. May also have unique black on white printed labels with just artist & title information or "A" & "B" symbols. Some white labels have different catalogue numbers to domestic releases.
Wallet sleeve Cardboard pocket into which a CD can be slipped.
Wax North American term for vinyl. Commonly found in the phrase "Coloured wax".
Z-Pack CD case that opens out to a "Z" shape. Generally narrower that a regular double CD case and usually intended to hold a double CD single set.
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