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Vinyl 101: 5 quick ways to tell the difference between a promo record and stock copy

How can you tell the difference between a legitimate promo recording and a stock copy? Here are some of the most common visual cues.

How can you tell the difference between a legitimate promotional recording released by a record label and a stock copy like any other?

Here are some of the most common visual cues.

1. Stickers and stamps on labels, sleeves and covers using keywords that include “Demonstration – Not For Sale,” “Audition Record,” “For Radio-TV Use Only,” “Deejay” (or DJ), “Demo,” “Promo” “Review Copy,” “Test Pressing” and “Promotional Copy.”

promotional record stamp

2. Generic, handwritten or plain labels – often white, hence the term white-label pressing – that differ from the record company’s usual colors or designs.

3. Covers with notched spines, cut corners, drill holes, lines or markings through bar codes, or even the word “Free” punched into the cardboard.

4. Plain sleeves and covers. Labels also have issued records in jackets and sleeves marked as promo items.

5. A sticker or band of paper (aka timing strip) affixed to the front cover that lists song titles and run times.

   

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