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American Record Distribution 60`s

Look At Your Box HARRY CROSBY

 
Posted

Hi all. As we know the states is a massive place, and ive allways wondered how the 45`s were distributed, heres a few questions that have bugged me over the years.

1......In some cases mainly the larger labels [RCA, DECCA ETC] the demo`s seem to be more widely available than the issues?

How did this work? were promotional copies supplied to the radio stations etc, then stock copies were supplied upon demand? or were record stores sent out batches of stock copies?. If this is the case then why in some cases are the stock copies more illusive than the promotional copies?

2.....Were records held in distribution warehouses/centres

3.........Surely there were more issues pressed than the promotional copies or was it once again a supply and demand thing. [which personally i can`t see]

4..........I keep hearing the comment, only issued in that area/state?

Would love to know more about how the records were disributed, many thanks for any help

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Well, I know a bit...

1. Stock, er, issue copies of records were pressed on demand. Most labels would print promos and a smaller batch of stock copies for artists that were unproven, either they never had a record out before or had other records but no hits. Promos were sent to different radio stations and media people (such as TV shows that had live acts perform, or booking agents). Radio stations got different 'service' depending on the type of music. If a station was country, most labels would only send them country. Same with 'easy listening' or adult pop stations (Sinatra, Streisand, etc). Stations that were 'top 40' or 'R&B' (that term was still used for stations that were primarly for the African American demographic) got the soul, rock, and 'crossover' country and pop hits (the term 'crossover' was used for records in the country, R&B, or easy listening style that 'crossed over' to the top 40 charts, the predominant (and most profitable) radio market. CBS (Columbia) and RCA seemed to be much more liberal with their promos, pressing and distributing many more per disc than other labels. Radio stations would report back to the companies about which records got played and if there seemed like there was demand in a city or region, stock copies would be pushed to the record stores via the distributor network....or conversely, stores would ask their distributors for records that customers were asking about. If a company saw demand for a title, they would press more stock copies. If there were no demand, then either the initial batch was discarded or cut out, or no stocks were pressed (it is very unusual for a record to have no stock copies pressed, but records such as the Yum Yums on ABC the few stocks that were made were probably cutout and/or sold in bargain packs, making them really rare) It was a very inexact science, but there was just so much money around everybody seemed to make out.

2. Yes, and no. All 'major' labels (Columbia, Epic, Capitol, RCA, Decca, Philips, Mercury, Motown, Tamla, Dot, Kapp, Smash, (US) Fontana, MGM, Atlantic, Atco, Liberty, Chess, Checker, etc) used distributors. Distributors carried a selection of companies just like any store carries brands, but usually not every brand, and they developed a working relationship. Beneath them were the 'major minors' as I call them, labels that had occasional successes but for the most part did not have the money or success rate to gain market shares. Those would be labels like Dore, Chattahoochie, Golden World, etc they would also be handled by distributors, but unlike the majors they did not always get every release into distribution and were generally not as well represented.

The vast majority of privately pressed records were never distributed. I come from a background of 60s US garage and 70s underground rock and most of the famous rare 45s were custom pressed and distributed by the band members themselves, often selling at live shows or during breaks in the school day to their classmates! The soul market had a more concentrated scene which included sales at stores and clubs within the Black communities, which by necessity were much tighter knit than the suburban and small town/rural communities that had the garage bands.

3. See #1

4. Privately pressed records as I talked about in item 2 did not have the resources to get sent beyond their communities, that's what we call a local release. I've talked before about studio 'package plans' were a group would pay a flat fee to a studio to make a recording, have the record mastered and pressed in specific quantities (50 - 1000, with 500 being a very common amount). They would get all the records themselves and what they did with them was whatever they could...which was get the records to the local radio station(s) and tell everyone else by word of mouth.

All for now...

George

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Well explained George , interesting stuff :hatsoff2:

Cheers

Swifty :thumbsup:

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Posted

Well, I know a bit...

1. Stock, er, issue copies of records were pressed on demand. Most labels would print promos and a smaller batch of stock copies for artists that were unproven, either they never had a record out before or had other records but no hits. Promos were sent to different radio stations and media people (such as TV shows that had live acts perform, or booking agents). Radio stations got different 'service' depending on the type of music. If a station was country, most labels would only send them country. Same with 'easy listening' or adult pop stations (Sinatra, Streisand, etc). Stations that were 'top 40' or 'R&B' (that term was still used for stations that were primarly for the African American demographic) got the soul, rock, and 'crossover' country and pop hits (the term 'crossover' was used for records in the country, R&B, or easy listening style that 'crossed over' to the top 40 charts, the predominant (and most profitable) radio market. CBS (Columbia) and RCA seemed to be much more liberal with their promos, pressing and distributing many more per disc than other labels. Radio stations would report back to the companies about which records got played and if there seemed like there was demand in a city or region, stock copies would be pushed to the record stores via the distributor network....or conversely, stores would ask their distributors for records that customers were asking about. If a company saw demand for a title, they would press more stock copies. If there were no demand, then either the initial batch was discarded or cut out, or no stocks were pressed (it is very unusual for a record to have no stock copies pressed, but records such as the Yum Yums on ABC the few stocks that were made were probably cutout and/or sold in bargain packs, making them really rare) It was a very inexact science, but there was just so much money around everybody seemed to make out.

2. Yes, and no. All 'major' labels (Columbia, Epic, Capitol, RCA, Decca, Philips, Mercury, Motown, Tamla, Dot, Kapp, Smash, (US) Fontana, MGM, Atlantic, Atco, Liberty, Chess, Checker, etc) used distributors. Distributors carried a selection of companies just like any store carries brands, but usually not every brand, and they developed a working relationship. Beneath them were the 'major minors' as I call them, labels that had occasional successes but for the most part did not have the money or success rate to gain market shares. Those would be labels like Dore, Chattahoochie, Golden World, etc they would also be handled by distributors, but unlike the majors they did not always get every release into distribution and were generally not as well represented.

The vast majority of privately pressed records were never distributed. I come from a background of 60s US garage and 70s underground rock and most of the famous rare 45s were custom pressed and distributed by the band members themselves, often selling at live shows or during breaks in the school day to their classmates! The soul market had a more concentrated scene which included sales at stores and clubs within the Black communities, which by necessity were much tighter knit than the suburban and small town/rural communities that had the garage bands.

3. See #1

4. Privately pressed records as I talked about in item 2 did not have the resources to get sent beyond their communities, that's what we call a local release. I've talked before about studio 'package plans' were a group would pay a flat fee to a studio to make a recording, have the record mastered and pressed in specific quantities (50 - 1000, with 500 being a very common amount). They would get all the records themselves and what they did with them was whatever they could...which was get the records to the local radio station(s) and tell everyone else by word of mouth.

All for now...

George

Fantastic reply George. How did the national chart system work? allways amazes me as to how they could get the figures in to turn around the top 100 at such short notice, must have been one hell of an operation, with the size of the country

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Also,

Much of the raw material was recycled and as soon as it looked like a hit wasn't forthcoming stock copies were retrieved and recycled by some of the majors. Of course the promos were already in the 'system' and beyond reach.

The Majors were slow out of the starting blocks when it came to that 'darned new fangled soul music'. Their businesses were set up to produce 'Race Records' and as such the full might of their business often didn't include a fully matured promotional set up for the new crossover music. A good example of his is partly why Berry Gordy eventually chose to 'go it alone'.

The example of the Yum Yums is a good one also. I maybe put that down to Jimmy Bishop taking over the group just after it was recorded. He wasn't averse to a bit of shennanigans behind the scenes and with Harold Lipsius in tow I reckon he may well have scuppered the ABC release in order to promote them under his Arctic banner. Pretty powerful blokes in Philly at the time, Bishop and Lipsius.

Many record producers were making records with the actual intention of getting picked up by a major. Good examples of this are Pied Piper (RCA), Ollie Mac (Atlantic), etc. Get some local airplay, generate some local interest, punt it to a major and if the timing was right - distribution deal. If not, move onto the next project.

Regards,

Dave

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Both DEMOs for this Release are easier to find than the Stock Copy.

COLUMBIA_4-44161-A_DJ_WT-1.gifCOLUMBIA_4-44161-B_DJ_WT-1.gif

COLUMBIA_4-44161-A_WT-1.gifCOLUMBIA_4-44161-B_WT-1.gif

COLUMBIA_4-44161-A_DJa-1.gifCOLUMBIA_4-44161-A_DJa-1.gif

COLUMBIA_4-44161-A-1-1.gifCOLUMBIA_4-44161-B_200-1.jpg

Took years of searching to find a Stock Copy with the correct title.

I had just convinced myself that it didn't exist following numerous requests, when a copy turned up.

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Just wondering if both Vinyl & Styrene were being recycled at the time, or just Vinyl.

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Both DEMOs for this Release are easier to find than the Stock Copy.

COLUMBIA_4-44161-A_DJ_WT-1.gifCOLUMBIA_4-44161-B_DJ_WT-1.gif

COLUMBIA_4-44161-A_WT-1.gifCOLUMBIA_4-44161-B_WT-1.gif

COLUMBIA_4-44161-A_DJa-1.gifCOLUMBIA_4-44161-A_DJa-1.gif

COLUMBIA_4-44161-A-1-1.gifCOLUMBIA_4-44161-B_200-1.jpg

Took years of searching to find a Stock Copy with the correct title.

I had just convinced myself that it didn't exist following numerous requests, when a copy turned up.

Some fascinating stuff being revealed here, as you say roger some of the stock copies were almost impossible, ie Dana vallery, recently seen the JD MARTIN stocker for the first time. As with the Rca stuff took me years to find a Dean courtney, allways puzzled me this one

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Also,

Much of the raw material was recycled and as soon as it looked like a hit wasn't forthcoming stock copies were retrieved and recycled by some of the majors. Of course the promos were already in the 'system' and beyond reach.

The Majors were slow out of the starting blocks when it came to that 'darned new fangled soul music'. Their businesses were set up to produce 'Race Records' and as such the full might of their business often didn't include a fully matured promotional set up for the new crossover music. A good example of his is partly why Berry Gordy eventually chose to 'go it alone'.

The example of the Yum Yums is a good one also. I maybe put that down to Jimmy Bishop taking over the group just after it was recorded. He wasn't averse to a bit of shennanigans behind the scenes and with Harold Lipsius in tow I reckon he may well have scuppered the ABC release in order to promote them under his Arctic banner. Pretty powerful blokes in Philly at the time, Bishop and Lipsius.

Many record producers were making records with the actual intention of getting picked up by a major. Good examples of this are Pied Piper (RCA), Ollie Mac (Atlantic), etc. Get some local airplay, generate some local interest, punt it to a major and if the timing was right - distribution deal. If not, move onto the next project.

Regards,

Dave

Thanks Dave, fascinating stuff, is there any particular reason as to why label designs were changed? ie East coast/ West coast releases.

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I'm assuming that these DEMOs were pressed by three different pressing plants at Initial release.

West Coast, East Coast and somewhere between.

WE_PRODUCE_XPA-1812-A_DJ_M-1.gifWE_PRODUCE_XPA-1812-A_DJ_S-1.gifVINYL

WE_PRODUCE_XPA-1812-A_DJ_M_V-1.gifWE_PRODUCE_XPA-1812-A_DJ_S_V-1.gifVINYL

WE_PRODUCE_XPA-1812-A_DJ_M_Y-1.gifWE_PRODUCE_XPA-1812-A_DJ_S_Y-1.gifSTYRENE

I

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The most fascinating thing is how the operation of distribution was carried out in the 60`s, in such a huge country, no internet ordering back then, phone and mail only. Not only the soul music, but all the genres of music, remembering 60`s was a massive era for all styles of music. Must have been one very well polished system, or a Nightmare.

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Similar situation with the Motown Stuff giving us the different Label Variations.

WEST COAST

VIP_25037-A_DJa_S-1.gifVIP_25037-A_DJb_S-1.gif STYRENE

DOUBLE SIDED STOCK COPY - (USED FOR PROMOTION I BELEIVE)

VIP_25037a_a.gifVIP_25037a_b.gif VINYL

STRAIGHT VIP LOGO

VIP_25037-A_DJa_V-1.gifVIP_25037-A_DJb_V-1.gif VINYL

STAGERED VIP LOGO

VIP_25037a_DJa.gifVIP_25037a_DJb.gifVINYL

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The most fascinating thing is how the operation of distribution was carried out in the 60`s, in such a huge country, no internet ordering back then, phone and mail only. Not only the soul music, but all the genres of music, remembering 60`s was a massive era for all styles of music. Must have been one very well polished system, or a Nightmare.

It's a great subject is promotion and distribution. It's a complicated tapestry of good talkers, good ears, DJs on the take, DJs owning labels, large companies setting up distribution outlets, artists setting up their own companies, Radio influences, Music industry papers like Cashbox and Billboard influences, the different charts for different musical genres. And once a record hit in a city it was playing catch up to try and repeat that success nationally. East Coast plants, Mid West plants, West Coast plants, When you talk to people involved in it all they certainly relay a sense of excitement and adventure about it all even if they never attained that pot of gold at the end of their particular rainbow.

Regards,

Dave

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What a great read! Informative AND interesting!

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

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Posted (edited)

Also with the indie labels that had to go through independent distribution it was always necessary to have more records in the pipeline, in order to make sure you got paid for the current ones, as getting money from the indie distributors was always a chore by the sound of it. This continued even into the 80's where I'd hear arguements between labels and regional distributors all the time with the implied threat that unless they got paid for the current biggies they wouldn't ship the new releases.

There's some brilliant stories I think in Charle Gillett's "The Sound Of The City". I'll have to try and dig 'em out......

Ian D :D

Edited by Ian Dewhirst

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It's a great subject is promotion and distribution. It's a complicated tapestry of good talkers, good ears, DJs on the take, DJs owning labels, large companies setting up distribution outlets, artists setting up their own companies, Radio influences, Music industry papers like Cashbox and Billboard influences, the different charts for different musical genres. And once a record hit in a city it was playing catch up to try and repeat that success nationally. East Coast plants, Mid West plants, West Coast plants, When you talk to people involved in it all they certainly relay a sense of excitement and adventure about it all even if they never attained that pot of gold at the end of their particular rainbow.

Regards,

Dave

Once again great post Dave, it is something that has allways intrested me, the promotional & distribution side of things. I`ll bet there were a few dodgy dealings going on, to get that elusive hit. Also by the sounds of things the smaller labels never stood a cat in hells chance of making it. Very intresting stuff indeed :thumbsup:

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Also with the indie labels that had to go through independent distribution it was always necessary to have more records in the pipeline, in order to make sure you got paid for the current ones, as getting money from the indie distributors was always a chore by the sound of it. This continued even into the 80's where I'd hear arguements between labels and regional distributors all the time with the implied threat that unless they got paid for the current biggies they wouldn't ship the new releases.

There's some brilliant stories I think in Charle Gillett's "The Sound Of The City". I'll have to try and dig 'em out......

Ian D :D

Thanks for the reply Ian, would be very intresting if you could dig out some of them stories. Think we`ve all sat for hours talking about records not realising what went on to get the records distributed/released-HARRY :thumbsup:

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There were plenty of shenanigans going on with distribution.

The cut-out resale scam, where records were bought at sale prices then taken back to another distributer for a full refund was rife (and a way the mafia laundered a lot of money) - to the point where drill holes / cut corners and label paint/stamps were introduced to prevent it.

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There were plenty of shenanigans going on with distribution.

The cut-out resale scam, where records were bought at sale prices then taken back to another distributer for a full refund was rife (and a way the mafia laundered a lot of money) - to the point where drill holes / cut corners and label paint/stamps were introduced to prevent it.

to the point where drill holes / cut corners and label paint/stamps were introduced to prevent it.

Never knew about that either, this is really turning into a very intresting thread, thanks for the reply :thumbsup:

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John Anderson has a great tale about a big distributers just outside Philadelphia, where he was buying tea-chest size crates, contents unchecked as they were coming in off the trucks returning them.

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there is a good book about this,Chalky will remember title,about MCA the music industry and the mafia,if I remember right ??

it explains a lot of what you ask and also explains why records ended up in the most unlikely and off track small town stores.

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there is a good book about this,Chalky will remember title,about MCA the music industry and the mafia,if I remember right ??

it explains a lot of what you ask and also explains why records ended up in the most unlikely and off track small town stores.

Thanks will have to try and get a copy once ive got the title :thumbsup:

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there is a good book about this,Chalky will remember title,about MCA the music industry and the mafia,if I remember right ??

it explains a lot of what you ask and also explains why records ended up in the most unlikely and off track small town stores.

It's called Stiffed - I still have your copy here - about two-thirds read... :thumbsup:

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It's called Stiffed - I still have your copy here - about two-thirds read... :thumbsup:

Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business and the Mafia by William Knoedelseder (Hardcover - Mar 1993)

This one ? i`ll be ordering a copy, sounds very intresting

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That's the one.

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There a number of tangent threads about this side of the record industry.

Different groups of interested parties learned different lessons which enabled them to either, 'get away with things' (in the case of record companies and distribution companies), or ensure their work was ring-fenced financially (artists etc).

The lessons learned by the early independent pioneers were passed down to future generations. The likes of Ollie Mac, Kae Williams, etc had their children enter the business and especially in Kae Williams' case he was well 'educated' by his father in the way to do things.

The cut out came about as a way of identifying whether a record had been sold through the system or not. Once returned for credit, if it had the cut out it couldn't be returned again. It's a common way of identifying inventory status in a number of other businesses too.

One of the best ways to be successful as a black entrepreneur back then was to actually control as much of the products journey through the market stages to the point of sale as possible. Hence you find artists, record label owners, radio DJs, radio station owners, jukebox company owners, etc etc all making partnerships with each other in order to strengthen their chances of success. A good example of this was the Jamie/Guyden set up. Harold Lipsius and Jimmy Bishop teamed up and in the process owned artists contracts, rights to songs, (got writing credits!) , the labels the songs were released on , parts of the companies that distributed the product and the DJ's that played them. In some cases they actually owned the studios too! (Motown, Virtue, Cameo Parkway, CBS, RCA etc)

Things were (still I think), well stacked against the independents. Hence, of all music recorded on the planet 99.9% of it is owned by 4 (although it may now be 3) companies. Paul Mooney or Ian D might have up to date info on this subject though. Wanna jump in guys?

Regards,

Dave

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There were plenty of shenanigans going on with distribution.

The cut-out resale scam, where records were bought at sale prices then taken back to another distributer for a full refund was rife (and a way the mafia laundered a lot of money) - to the point where drill holes / cut corners and label paint/stamps were introduced to prevent it.

The best book about that bar none, was "Stiffed".......

http://www.amazon.com/Stiffed-Story-Music-Business-Mafia/dp/0060167459

Ian D :D

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The best book about that bar none, was "Stiffed".......

http://www.amazon.co...a/dp/0060167459

Ian D :D

Thanks Ian, ORDERED on its way :thumbsup:

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Fantastic reply George. How did the national chart system work? allways amazes me as to how they could get the figures in to turn around the top 100 at such short notice, must have been one hell of an operation, with the size of the country

Thanks, you're very welcome, I love talking about this stuff. The Billboard and other industry charts were based on a sampling of key stations/stores/distributors and calculated using a formula that was probably drawn up on a cocktail napkin. They certainly didn't get feedback from every station in the country. I'm guessing there was probably something like 50-100 sources of data they used to draw up the chart. Also, these sources didn't name 100 records in order, just their top 30 or so, and the 100 came from the acculation of all the data. It could have been done by phone or mail. Maybe by telegram. During the 1970s and 80s in the US we had a show that was aired on radio stations called "American Top 40" and hosted by Casey Kasem where he would count down the top 40 records as listed in the previous week's Billboard. He would occasionally drop some info on how the chart was derived.

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Posted (edited)

Also,

Much of the raw material was recycled and as soon as it looked like a hit wasn't forthcoming stock copies were retrieved and recycled by some of the majors. Of course the promos were already in the 'system' and beyond reach.

The Majors were slow out of the starting blocks when it came to that 'darned new fangled soul music'. Their businesses were set up to produce 'Race Records' and as such the full might of their business often didn't include a fully matured promotional set up for the new crossover music. A good example of his is partly why Berry Gordy eventually chose to 'go it alone'.

The example of the Yum Yums is a good one also. I maybe put that down to Jimmy Bishop taking over the group just after it was recorded. He wasn't averse to a bit of shennanigans behind the scenes and with Harold Lipsius in tow I reckon he may well have scuppered the ABC release in order to promote them under his Arctic banner. Pretty powerful blokes in Philly at the time, Bishop and Lipsius.

Many record producers were making records with the actual intention of getting picked up by a major. Good examples of this are Pied Piper (RCA), Ollie Mac (Atlantic), etc. Get some local airplay, generate some local interest, punt it to a major and if the timing was right - distribution deal. If not, move onto the next project.

Regards,

Dave

Dave, some good comments that need to discussed further. Generally the majors have always lagged behind musical trends, that's just the nature of corporations.

Regarding cutouts/discarded records, there were millions that were sold on the secondary cutout market. Companies would buy up unwanted stock for pennies per record (back in the 1960s, a 45 would cost about 70 cents or so, an LP $3 to $4) and resell it in several ways.....the standard record store cutouts, to non-standard record markets like discount stores, and to mail order operations that sold 'oldies'. In the late 1960s when I first started buying records it was not usual to walk into a discount department shop (such as Woolworths) and see shopping carts full of 45s selling for 5-10 cents. I of course had no idea what the stuff was (I was 9-10 years old) but I can recall 100s of stock label 45s on Columbia, Mercury, Roulette, etc. These records were also sold in packs of 3 to 15 or so, packaged in containers labelled as 'Hits U Missed' or such. They included records that were hits but the occasional major label oddball. You can occasionally see unopened packs on eBay. These were available into the early 1980s (the packs....the shopping carts were long gone). I even remember seeing the packs as prizes for carnival games!

- George

Edited by George G

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Dave, some good comments that need to discussed further. Generally the majors have always lagged behind musical trends, that's just the nature of corporations.

Regarding cutouts/discarded records, there were millions that were sold on the secondary cutout market. Companies would buy up unwanted stock for pennies per record (back in the 1960s, a 45 would cost about 70 cents or so, an LP $3 to $4) and resell it in several ways.....the standard record store cutouts, to non-standard record markets like discount stores, and to mail order operations that sold 'oldies'. In the late 1960s when I first started buying records it was not usual to walk into a discount department shop (such as Woolworths) and see shopping carts full of 45s selling for 5-10 cents. I of course had no idea what the stuff was (I was 9-10 years old) but I can recall 100s of stock label 45s on Columbia, Mercury, Roulette, etc. These records were also sold in packs of 3 to 15 or so, packaged in containers labelled as 'Hits U Missed' or such. They included records that were hits but the occasional major label oddball. You can occasionally see unopened packs on eBay. These were available into the early 1980s (the packs....the shopping carts were long gone). I even remember seeing the packs as prizes for carnival games!

- George

Yep, great subject George. I too remember the old Woolworths bargain bins. It happened with CDs in the late 80s/90s in Walmart too. I picked up most of the Motown REissue catelogue on lookalike covers from there at the time.

Here's a question I've not been able to find an answer too. A lot of Detroit stuff has white or gold painted what looks like a DR on the label. I've only ever seen it on stockers, never on demos. Now either DR was a prolific collector who abused his labels or it may have something to do with the return system?

I'll try and dig one out later.

Regards,

Dave

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Thanks, you're very welcome, I love talking about this stuff. The Billboard and other industry charts were based on a sampling of key stations/stores/distributors and calculated using a formula that was probably drawn up on a cocktail napkin. They certainly didn't get feedback from every station in the country. I'm guessing there was probably something like 50-100 sources of data they used to draw up the chart. Also, these sources didn't name 100 records in order, just their top 30 or so, and the 100 came from the acculation of all the data. It could have been done by phone or mail. Maybe by telegram. During the 1970s and 80s in the US we had a show that was aired on radio stations called "American Top 40" and hosted by Casey Kasem where he would count down the top 40 records as listed in the previous week's Billboard. He would occasionally drop some info on how the chart was derived.

Great stuff George, amazing to find out how the wheels turned, really enjoying this thread :thumbsup:

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Thanks, you're very welcome, I love talking about this stuff. The Billboard and other industry charts were based on a sampling of key stations/stores/distributors and calculated using a formula that was probably drawn up on a cocktail napkin. They certainly didn't get feedback from every station in the country. I'm guessing there was probably something like 50-100 sources of data they used to draw up the chart. Also, these sources didn't name 100 records in order, just their top 30 or so, and the 100 came from the acculation of all the data. It could have been done by phone or mail. Maybe by telegram. During the 1970s and 80s in the US we had a show that was aired on radio stations called "American Top 40" and hosted by Casey Kasem where he would count down the top 40 records as listed in the previous week's Billboard. He would occasionally drop some info on how the chart was derived.

Casey Kasem - "keep your feet on the ground, but never stop reaching for the stars"?

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Just wondering if both Vinyl & Styrene were being recycled at the time, or just Vinyl.

I forget the history timeline now but didn't wholesale recycling of unsold vinyl and non hits start with the Suez oil crisis in the early 1970's?

Seem to recall being told a story about the head man at Scepter at the time being to blame for starting this process.

derek

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Dave, some good comments that need to discussed further. Generally the majors have always lagged behind musical trends, that's just the nature of corporations.

Regarding cutouts/discarded records, there were millions that were sold on the secondary cutout market. Companies would buy up unwanted stock for pennies per record (back in the 1960s, a 45 would cost about 70 cents or so, an LP $3 to $4) and resell it in several ways.....the standard record store cutouts, to non-standard record markets like discount stores, and to mail order operations that sold 'oldies'. In the late 1960s when I first started buying records it was not usual to walk into a discount department shop (such as Woolworths) and see shopping carts full of 45s selling for 5-10 cents. I of course had no idea what the stuff was (I was 9-10 years old) but I can recall 100s of stock label 45s on Columbia, Mercury, Roulette, etc. These records were also sold in packs of 3 to 15 or so, packaged in containers labelled as 'Hits U Missed' or such. They included records that were hits but the occasional major label oddball. You can occasionally see unopened packs on eBay. These were available into the early 1980s (the packs....the shopping carts were long gone). I even remember seeing the packs as prizes for carnival games!

- George

That's where the incredible Bostocks Bradford Market load came from in the early 70's, which was apparently several million 45's. They bought up all the MGM/Verve warehouse overstocks which also included many other major labels and thousands of independents. They used to sell to travelling fairs and lots of other none-traditional accounts which is why you'd often see some some interesting looking records whenever the local fair came to town. In fact I won a Don Gardner "I Can't Help Myself" on Spectacular at a local fair!

Ian D :D

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The vast majority of privately pressed records were never distributed.

I come from a background of 60s US garage and 70s underground rock and most of the famous rare 45s were custom pressed and distributed by the band members themselves, often selling at live shows or during breaks in the school day to their classmates!

The soul market had a more concentrated scene which included sales at stores and clubs within the Black communities, which by necessity were much tighter knit than the suburban and small town/rural communities that had the garage bands.

4. Privately pressed records as I talked about in item 2 did not have the resources to get sent beyond their communities, that's what we call a local release. I've talked before about studio 'package plans' were a group would pay a flat fee to a studio to make a recording, have the record mastered and pressed in specific quantities (50 - 1000, with 500 being a very common amount). They would get all the records themselves and what they did with them was whatever they could...which was get the records to the local radio station(s) and tell everyone else by word of mouth.

Superb explanation George and I'm sure many soul fans can think of various "garage" sounding records which were reportedly ''500 only' presses which got massive airplay on the northern scene.

When you talk about the soul market being much more concentrated within the black community I recall being told a story many, many years ago that The Magnetics super rarity on Bonnie was only ever sold for a limited time, out of one record store across the whole of the Greater Detroit area.

So even in the unlikely chance that (a) you'd actually heard the record in the first place and then (b) actually wanted to buy a copy - if you didn't know which specific shop was actually selling it you'd never be able to locate a copy.

All these circumstances contributed together to make it the super rarity it has become.

However I must add - stories is all we ever hear - the record industry just like the whole of the entertainment business has more than its fair share of people that massage both the figures and the truth.

Fascinating thread this.

Better stop tho' I've got a wall to point before the rain starts again....

derek

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Fantastic thread & what a breath of fresh air, what SS is all about IMHO.

Thanks everyone

Best Russ

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Superb explanation George and I'm sure many soul fans can think of various "garage" sounding records which were reportedly ''500 only' presses which got massive airplay on the northern scene.

When you talk about the soul market being much more concentrated within the black community I recall being told a story many, many years ago that The Magnetics super rarity on Bonnie was only ever sold for a limited time, out of one record store across the whole of the Greater Detroit area.

So even in the unlikely chance that (a) you'd actually heard the record in the first place and then (b) actually wanted to buy a copy - if you didn't know which specific shop was actually selling it you'd never be able to locate a copy.

All these circumstances contributed together to make it the super rarity it has become.

However I must add - stories is all we ever hear - the record industry just like the whole of the entertainment business has more than its fair share of people that massage both the figures and the truth.

Fascinating thread this.

Better stop tho' I've got a wall to point before the rain starts again....

derek

Thanks for the info Derek, it is a great thread, with some amazing input by some very knowledgable folk :thumbsup:

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Posted (edited)

In the late 1960s when I first started buying records it was not usual to walk into a discount department shop (such as Woolworths) and see shopping carts full of 45s selling for 5-10 cents.

- George

In fact, the 2nd known copy of the Invitations "Skiing In The Snow" came from a U.S. Woolies for 10 cents!

Ian D :D

Edited by Ian Dewhirst

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Here's a scan of a Detroit 45 with the "DR" I referred to earlier. As I say, only ever seen on issues. Anyone got any ideas? There may be a perfectly simple explanation but I can't find out what it's significance is. surely other collectors have 45s with this mark on oris it just me buying too many 'wols'.

Regards,

Dave

post-1369-0-38760000-1318519160_thumb.jp

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Anyone collecting US soul singles in Manchester (UK) in the 1970s would probably have been to Global Record Sales and if you were unlucky may have dealt with the American owner Ed Balbier, a right misery. However before he came to sunny Manchester he ran a record distributors in Philadelphia at 2512 North Broad St.

During my four year stint working for Global in the mid 70s I went to the US a couple of times and stayed at the Philly warehouse. One time I came across some old lists and paperwork from the 60s . One of these was a list of the labels Global distributed. I think there were about 25 to 30 fairly well known indies but the ones I remember were Drew, Double Shot and Sun/Philips International. These stood out as it explained why Global had thousands of Precisions and Brenton Wood singles and a quite a lot of early Sun stuff singles,but no Elvis P Sun 45s.

However there were only two Precisions titles- ''If This is Love'' and ''Instant Heartbreak''. So it seems, like George said, a distributor outside a labels hometown would only carry the labels singles that had managed to pick up exposure in new areas. I suppose if the Precisions got plays in the Philly area Global did a deal with Drew to distribute that record but didn't handle every release. All the stock Global had were probably shop returns and overstock that they may have paid Drew a few cents each for, or not paid anything for as distributors expected free stock.

Similarly the Double Shot stock consisted mainly of Brenton Woods ''Oogum Boogum Song'',thousands of them. So again Global only carried a hit record from a label.

On both these labels there were no overstocks of demos so Global were not doing any promotion for the labels, however the bigger established distributors such as Henry Stone or Stan Lewis did some of the promotion for the labels they represented and would carry stocks of promos. For those records that didn't take off the stock copies were sent back for credit but the promos were kept as there was no point paying to return useless 45s. Maybe they were binned or more often sold off to Del Boy (N.Y) and ended up in 10c bins and fairs. Demos of hit records never seemed to exist in unplayed stocks and I don't think I ever came across white label promos of artists such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Beatles etc.This is probably why some records are more common on promo than stock copies but I don't go with the theory that stock copies were only pressed after DJs had played the title. A few titles may only exist on promo but it was due to some legal hitch

etc.

As well as distributors there were ''One Stops'' which carried the chart records, major artist new releases and sometimes hot local sellers. They charged the dealers a few cents more per record but for the small shops it was worth being able to get everything at one stop. Its unlikely they ever bothered doing any promotion so wouldn't have demos. There was a one stop place in Manchester in the 1980s called Wynd Up.

On one visit to Philly I remember the local radio station hammering ''Center City'' by Fat Larrys Band, which was not surprising, but when I got back to the UK it was about 2 or 3 months later that Record Corner imported it and Levine started playing it. So although it was on a major label it still had to break out of its home territory before it went nationwide .If this is how most new artists records worked it shows how a record could be a local seller even on a major label. For example Lorraine Chandler on RCA would have to do well in Detroit and the East Coast before it went nationwide but Sam Cooke would be available across all of the US

The mention of packs of singles in plastic bags reminds me of one of Ed Balbiers blunders when he bought thousands of these and I had the task of opening them and sorting them out. Heaven you would think but after 7 or 8 days all that turned up was one copy of'' Change your Ways''- Willie Kendrick but thousands of Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Bensons on SSS Int.

Rick

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Another book about the industry (although not necessarily about the distribution) to have is Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock 'n' Roll Pioneers (Music in American Life)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Record-Makers-Breakers-Independent-Pioneers/dp/025207727X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318538211&sr=1-1

Review

"Covering the convoluted history of the recording industry from the 1940s to the 1960s, [broven] combines in-depth archival research with fascinating anecdotes about chart-toppers, shady characters and label owners... The impact of conniving entrepreneurs on the musicians and the layering of rich details and digressive detours as Broven traces the transition from R & B to rock make this equal to Roger D. Kinkle's massive, four-volume Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz." --Publishers Weekly

"Broven is masterful, making Record Makers an essential book for anyone interested in not only American musical culture but American culture, period." American Songwriter "A rich and engaging history ... A first-rate picture of how this whole rock 'n' roll thing got started." --New York Daily News

"4 stars. Welcome to a world filled with payola, the mob and jukebox sounds." --Mojo

Product Description

This volume is an engaging and exceptional history of the independent rock 'n' roll record industry from its raw regional beginnings in the 1940s with R & B and hillbilly music through its peak in the 1950s and decline in the 1960s. John Broven combines narrative history with extensive oral history material from numerous recording pioneers including Joe Bihari of Modern Records; Marshall Chess of Chess Records; Jerry Wexler, Ahmet Ertegun, and Miriam Bienstock of Atlantic Records; Sam Phillips of Sun Records; Art Rupe of Specialty Records; and many more.

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Anyone collecting US soul singles in Manchester (UK) in the 1970s would probably have been to Global Record Sales and if you were unlucky may have dealt with the American owner Ed Balbier, a right misery. However before he came to sunny Manchester he ran a record distributors in Philadelphia at 2512 North Broad St.

During my four year stint working for Global in the mid 70s I went to the US a couple of times and stayed at the Philly warehouse. One time I came across some old lists and paperwork from the 60s . One of these was a list of the labels Global distributed. I think there were about 25 to 30 fairly well known indies but the ones I remember were Drew, Double Shot and Sun/Philips International. These stood out as it explained why Global had thousands of Precisions and Brenton Wood singles and a quite a lot of early Sun stuff singles,but no Elvis P Sun 45s.

However there were only two Precisions titles- ''If This is Love'' and ''Instant Heartbreak''. So it seems, like George said, a distributor outside a labels hometown would only carry the labels singles that had managed to pick up exposure in new areas. I suppose if the Precisions got plays in the Philly area Global did a deal with Drew to distribute that record but didn't handle every release. All the stock Global had were probably shop returns and overstock that they may have paid Drew a few cents each for, or not paid anything for as distributors expected free stock.

Similarly the Double Shot stock consisted mainly of Brenton Woods ''Oogum Boogum Song'',thousands of them. So again Global only carried a hit record from a label.

On both these labels there were no overstocks of demos so Global were not doing any promotion for the labels, however the bigger established distributors such as Henry Stone or Stan Lewis did some of the promotion for the labels they represented and would carry stocks of promos. For those records that didn't take off the stock copies were sent back for credit but the promos were kept as there was no point paying to return useless 45s. Maybe they were binned or more often sold off to Del Boy (N.Y) and ended up in 10c bins and fairs. Demos of hit records never seemed to exist in unplayed stocks and I don't think I ever came across white label promos of artists such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Beatles etc.This is probably why some records are more common on promo than stock copies but I don't go with the theory that stock copies were only pressed after DJs had played the title. A few titles may only exist on promo but it was due to some legal hitch

etc.

As well as distributors there were ''One Stops'' which carried the chart records, major artist new releases and sometimes hot local sellers. They charged the dealers a few cents more per record but for the small shops it was worth being able to get everything at one stop. Its unlikely they ever bothered doing any promotion so wouldn't have demos. There was a one stop place in Manchester in the 1980s called Wynd Up.

On one visit to Philly I remember the local radio station hammering ''Center City'' by Fat Larrys Band, which was not surprising, but when I got back to the UK it was about 2 or 3 months later that Record Corner imported it and Levine started playing it. So although it was on a major label it still had to break out of its home territory before it went nationwide .If this is how most new artists records worked it shows how a record could be a local seller even on a major label. For example Lorraine Chandler on RCA would have to do well in Detroit and the East Coast before it went nationwide but Sam Cooke would be available across all of the US

The mention of packs of singles in plastic bags reminds me of one of Ed Balbiers blunders when he bought thousands of these and I had the task of opening them and sorting them out. Heaven you would think but after 7 or 8 days all that turned up was one copy of'' Change your Ways''- Willie Kendrick but thousands of Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Bensons on SSS Int.

Rick

LOL, I know the feeling Rick.

One of the major clearing houses for 45's in the mid 70's was House Of Sounds in Philadelphia. House Of Sounds took up a whole block and (I think) was around 5 stories high. Each floor was filled with hundreds of 20' x 20' wooden crates that were each packed with 45's. I can't vouch for the accuracy, but off the top of my head, I'd say that probably each floor held at least a few hundred 20' x 20' crates apiece. Vinyl paradise.

When I got access to 'em I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. The guy that took me in there looked at me with sympathy and said, "it's all yours. Have fun".

So I climbed into the first crate and started digging through 1000's of 45's. They all seemed to be Country & Western. I spent 4 hours in crate no.1 and went through maybe 20,000 45's and didn't find jack. So I switched to another crate, climbed up the ladder and started wading through crate No.2. Same thing. Spent 2 hours wading through crap.

So after 6 hours of intense crate-digging and the only thing I found was a Total Eclipses on Right On, I climbed out of crate No.2 and took stock of he situation. I'd maybe covered a quarter of crate No.1 and the top layer of crate No.2 and found just one OK record. I looked around the ground level floor and realised that it would take me the best part of a year working 5 days a week to do just the ground floor. And 5 years to cover the entire warehouse.

So although I KNEW that there were incredible rarities in those crates, there simply wasn't enough time in the world to dig 'em out.

That's when I realised that the sheet AMOUNT of 45's that the U.S. was pressing in the 60's and 70's dwarfed anything that my brain could understand.

It sounds hard to comprehend, but there were simply too many 45's. For sure, you could maybe get lucky and hit a crate that was full of Detroit cut-outs but it might take several months before you found that particular crate. Which could mean months of going through C&W cutouts before you hit a rich seam.

In short, mind boggling.

When I eventually gave up, halfway through my second day, the guy that was looking after me just laughed and told me that I was looking for a needle in a haystack. He was right.

A few years ago I hit a similar place in New Jersey but this time I was looking for rare 12"'s. Exact same thing again. It would have taken a year to comprehensively go through every crate on the ground floor. Myself and a mate spent 2 days going through a just couple of crates out of 1000's before we eventually gave up. For sure, we found some killers in those couple of crates, but the sheer logistics of the operation and the overall hit rate against the time spent going through it all eventually crushed us with the sheer volume.

There is such a thing as too many records. :lol:

Ian D :D

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John Anderson has a great tale about a big distributers just outside Philadelphia, where he was buying tea-chest size crates, contents unchecked as they were coming in off the trucks returning them.

I recently read an interview with John Anderson about great tales of founds and selling/buying of great great records back in 70s, 80s, where I can read more about it? soul record dealers, sales lists, distribution in 70's, etc?

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I recently read an interview with John Anderson about great tales of founds and selling/buying of great great records back in 70s, 80s, where I can read more about it? soul record dealers, sales lists, distribution in 70's, etc?

You have to meet him in person and ply him with Red Wine.

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You have to meet him in person and ply him with Red Wine.

LOL, I'm not sure if that's the best game-plan. Heaven forbid if you get morbid John LOL. He could write the greatest book ever but I'm not sure if he wants to.........

Ian D :D

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This is a truly superb thread - has gone a long way to restoring my love and faith in Soul Source.

Much appreciation for the depth of knowledge, passion and sense of history of the posters

Genuinely fascinating stuff. Thank you all.

Richard

Edited by Premium Stuff

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Posted

Another book about the industry (although not necessarily about the distribution) to have is Record Makers and Breakers: Voices of the Independent Rock 'n' Roll Pioneers (Music in American Life)

http://www.amazon.co...18538211&sr=1-1

Review

"Covering the convoluted history of the recording industry from the 1940s to the 1960s, [broven] combines in-depth archival research with fascinating anecdotes about chart-toppers, shady characters and label owners... The impact of conniving entrepreneurs on the musicians and the layering of rich details and digressive detours as Broven traces the transition from R & B to rock make this equal to Roger D. Kinkle's massive, four-volume Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz." --Publishers Weekly

Co-sign on the recommendation for this book - read it earlier this year, absolutely fantastic read and eye-opening about the US independent scene and the shenanigans involved in running a record business back then.

Excellent stuff! :thumbsup:

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Thanks Dave, fascinating stuff, is there any particular reason as to why label designs were changed? ie East coast/ West coast releases.

There's a really interesting reference to this in the 'Endless Trip' book on US 60s psych/rock releases - will dig it out and scan it!

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LOL, I know the feeling Rick.

One of the major clearing houses for 45's in the mid 70's was House Of Sounds in Philadelphia. House Of Sounds took up a whole block and (I think) was around 5 stories high. Each floor was filled with hundreds of 20' x 20' wooden crates that were each packed with 45's. I can't vouch for the accuracy, but off the top of my head, I'd say that probably each floor held at least a few hundred 20' x 20' crates apiece. Vinyl paradise.

When I got access to 'em I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. The guy that took me in there looked at me with sympathy and said, "it's all yours. Have fun".

So I climbed into the first crate and started digging through 1000's of 45's. They all seemed to be Country & Western. I spent 4 hours in crate no.1 and went through maybe 20,000 45's and didn't find jack. So I switched to another crate, climbed up the ladder and started wading through crate No.2. Same thing. Spent 2 hours wading through crap.

So after 6 hours of intense crate-digging and the only thing I found was a Total Eclipses on Right On, I climbed out of crate No.2 and took stock of he situation. I'd maybe covered a quarter of crate No.1 and the top layer of crate No.2 and found just one OK record. I looked around the ground level floor and realised that it would take me the best part of a year working 5 days a week to do just the ground floor. And 5 years to cover the entire warehouse.

So although I KNEW that there were incredible rarities in those crates, there simply wasn't enough time in the world to dig 'em out.

That's when I realised that the sheet AMOUNT of 45's that the U.S. was pressing in the 60's and 70's dwarfed anything that my brain could understand.

It sounds hard to comprehend, but there were simply too many 45's. For sure, you could maybe get lucky and hit a crate that was full of Detroit cut-outs but it might take several months before you found that particular crate. Which could mean months of going through C&W cutouts before you hit a rich seam.

In short, mind boggling.

When I eventually gave up, halfway through my second day, the guy that was looking after me just laughed and told me that I was looking for a needle in a haystack. He was right.

A few years ago I hit a similar place in New Jersey but this time I was looking for rare 12"'s. Exact same thing again. It would have taken a year to comprehensively go through every crate on the ground floor. Myself and a mate spent 2 days going through a just couple of crates out of 1000's before we eventually gave up. For sure, we found some killers in those couple of crates, but the sheer logistics of the operation and the overall hit rate against the time spent going through it all eventually crushed us with the sheer volume.

There is such a thing as too many records. :lol:

Ian D :D

Great post Ian, as allways these stories are simply fascinating stuff :thumbsup:

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