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Record Company Admin Systems, Matrix Cards Etc


MBarrett
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As boring as it sounds I am quite interested in the way that admin systems for companies and organisations work.

 

The Darrell Banks "find" got me thinking that there had to have been records within the Decca/London organisations to record if a stock run had been ordered (and then possibly scrapped),

 

On the EMI Archive website they refer to "Matrix Cards". That suggests that each time a matrix number was issued a record card was opened - and that card might have carried information about production runs etc. etc.

 

Another website for the Victor record company has the following:

Blue history cards (BHC)

The Victor Talking Machine Company and RCA Victor maintained 4x6-in. file cards, of light blue stock, which detailed every recording issued by the company. Most blue history cards list Matrix number, artist, and title as well as catalog number(s). The artist and title listings on blue history cards often are in an abbreviated form. Many cards include composer names, the take(s) issued (see also Take), when discs were issued and deleted from company catalogs, and an indication of the number of discs sold (see also Number sold).

 

Has anyone delved into the way that the admin systems at the various record companies worked and what paperwork still exists?

 

And especially if any old admin paperwork still exists for Decca/London from the 1960s.

Edited by MBarrett
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I've looked at the "admin systems" for several small (non-major) US record companies, recording studios, pressing plants. I can assure you that they live down to all the UK/Euro stereotypes of Americans being illiterate, slovenly, uneducated louts. I've seen very little that relates to an accurate accounting. The only well documented catalog that I am aware of was the Cuca operation from Wisconsin, and even at that I don't think everything was accounted for (I don't remember if paperwork for the famous Devils 45 was there).

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I've looked at the "admin systems" for several small (non-major) US record companies, recording studios, pressing plants. I can assure you that they live down to all the UK/Euro stereotypes of Americans being illiterate, slovenly, uneducated louts. I've seen very little that relates to an accurate accounting. The only well documented catalog that I am aware of was the Cuca operation from Wisconsin, and even at that I don't think everything was accounted for (I don't remember if paperwork for the famous Devils 45 was there).

 

Thanks for your comments George. I can see exactly where you are coming from re. the small U.S. independents.

 

It's still possible that the big old-established companies had much better admin systems. The fact that that there is an EMI Archive with premises and staff and supported by Universal leads me in that direction.

 

https://www.emiarchivetrust.org/

 

I know for sure that one of the female members on this forum posted once that she had seen original EMI documents re. all the Stateside releases - with the exact sales figures for each release. I can only assume that was at the EMI archive.

 

I'll see if I can find out anything about Decca. Although in the last 50 years a lot of skips will have been filled with old company paperwork - so I won't be holding my breath . . . . . .

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I worked for Decca in 1977 and all the remnants from the 60s were still in place then. Everything was documented and rooms were dedicated to carrying copies of all releases. In my view things were much better organised and curated back then. Plus obviously physical copies of everything were kept from vinyl to paperwork. When Polygram bought out Decca most of that stuff was dumped or disappeared I believe...

Ian D :)

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