Labels often create series of recordings. Occasionally, these form part of a coherent project that means something to the customer. Most of the time, though, the connection between the recordings is only important to the record label*, and the real reason for having a series is because it saves time when you’re trying to convince retailers to stock them.
How, though, is the customer supposed to make sense of this?
Don’t fret. I’m looking out for you. Here’s a helpful glossary of the most common catalog(ue) marketing terms. It’s all you need to know:
Original = Old
Legend = Old
Classic = Old
Great = Old
Master = Old
Gold = Old
Platinum = Very old
Pleasure = Cheap
Ultimate = Cheap
Best = Cheap
Most = Cheap
Supreme = Very cheap
Masterpieces = Cheapest
Complete = Big
Essential = Too big
Greatest = Old and cheap
Edition = Same record, different cover.
Collection = Too old, too big, and not nearly cheap enough.
Library = Run for the hills. Do it while there’s still time.
* Are these all recordings on which the artists are no longer due royalties? Are they 1960s vinyl releases having a last shot at incremental revenue before they enter the public domain? Have artists active on the label recorded the same repertoire, triggering a price drop on the old records? Are these better than the new recordings but not nearly as easy to market? Who cares. The covers are crap, but they’re cheaper now.
I am a sucker for these ploys. Put classic reissue jubilee edition in the box and I gotta get ’em all.
you forgot “limited edition” usually means :-we will stop pressing them, when you stop buying them! -Ed
I think it’s “We’ll be lucky to sell our first pressing”.
So true! The glossary is spot on.