Promotional Records
White Label Promos
WLPs
Disk Jockey Records
Radio Station Records
PROMOS

To promote record sales, record Labels would send free copies of upcoming and current releases to radio stations. In the days before Clear Channel and computer generated digitally distributed corporate play-lists, live people called 'Disk Jockeys' would pick the records to play on their shows and play actual records. Promos were a way to get one's latest and greatest into the hands and ears of local DJs.
  • Promos are primarily advance copies of records also issued as Stock Copies. DJ and Radio Station Copies are Promos specifically designated as being for DJs ad Radio Stations. Radio shows and interviews are either categories of Promos or separate categories altogether, depending on who you ask.
  • JARGON
    Label with an uppercase 'L' is the publisher, lowercase 'l' is that part of the record.
    'Stock Copy' is the record, sleeve and or jacket produced for retail sale to the general public.
    'Jacket' is the cardboard container U.S. labels used, or the laminated and thinner Jacket used almost everywhere else for the outer packaging.
    'Sleeve' is either the paper inner sleeve of an LP or the paper sleeve of a 7 inch 45 rpm record or 1 78rpm. Except for early 45's, many of which had cardboard 'sleeves'.
    Album is a 10 or 12 inch 33 1/3 rpm vinyl record, sometimes a 7 inch 45 rpm Extended Play (more than one song per side) or a container for 78 rpm records (like a photo album).
  • Records made to promote something else are not Promos. The seemingly endless series of Christmas records co branded with grocery stores and tire manufacturers did promote the brands but are not Promos. Which is not to say you might not find a Promo of a Christmas LP.
  • A promo label is not the same as a stock copy. Many promos have white labels, hence WLP.
  • Some phrases on the label indicate that it is a promotional record, not for resale. Record Labels paid royalties on record sales, not record giveaways.
  • Generally the material on the promo was also released as a stock issue.
  • Some recordings were released for limited distribution and labeled as promotional. Rather than promoting a new record, these records promoted the artists. If that seems to contradict my comment about Christmas records, you are not thinking like a collector.
  • Sometimes you might hear promos described as 'demonstration' records. 'Demo' or 'Demonstration' record or tape more commonly refers to a recording made by a song writer or artist to demonstrate material or performance to a promoter, record Label, or recording artist.
    Also many demonstration records were produced to demonstrate the new Stereo process.
    Labels also marketed demonstration LPs with tracks from several albums to demonstrate their product.
    And to round this bit out, some WLPs are labeled as demonstration records.
  • This is only part of the story. Record Labels were concerned about putting platters on home turntables, Artists were concerned about putting their best efforts on wax and cheeks on seats at concerts. Being concerned about the trials and tribulations of future collectors attempting to describe and categorize just was not on any one's to do list.
For non- and new collectors, here is a short tutorial on how to read a record label
Anatomy of the record label
A Promo Will have a specific promotional label, different than a stock label.
The label will say that the record is not for resale, is for promotional use only. Several different phrases were used.
A Designated Promo is a stock copy with a promotional designation. Most often rubber stamped on the label.
A Gold Stamped Promo refers the promotional designation on the record jacket. Generally a stock jacket, often in gold colored print. The record inside the GSP may be a stock copy, designated promo, or WLP.
A few sampel phrases
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Radio Shows Syndicated radio shows were distributed on vinyl. Local stations would schedule air play. A complete package generally included printed notes on the content, timing, any ads included in the program.
Interview Records Pre recorded interviews on vinyl were also common. Generally one side of the LP will have the voices of interviewer and the recording artist, the other side will have just the answers. A cue sheet will have the questions and the beginning and end of the answer.
Both radio shows and interviews have language similar to a promo's on the label, but they are not promos.
Radio Station and D J records are promos specifically designated as Radio Station or DJ records.
MORE
Bootlegs Boots are not promos. Boots are unauthorized releases of material the Label or the artist did not chose to release. Many are concerts, some are studio tracks of alternate takes or rehearsals. Often the labels are white and can confuse the novice collector. Boots generally do not have a copyright notice or the typical phrases that denote a promo. Generally. Some do have one or another of these elements, but a 'legit' promo should have a Label name, copyright notice, promo designation, and the 'not for sale' notice.
A Few 7 in 45s
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