February 24th, 2013
When the CBS/Sony family of record labels began releasing CDs across the globe in 1983, these discs were pressed in Japan. CBS/Sony opened its own pressing plant in Tokyo named CSR Compact Disc, with CSR standing for CBS/Sony Records. Thus, Japanese pressings began to appear on store shelves not just in Japan, but also in the U.S. and Europe. Reference has been made here frequently to Japan-for-U.S. and Japan-for-Europe pressings. These CDs are accompanied by custom inserts for the intended market and bear a catalog number specific to that market. Thus, for CBS/Sony titles, there could be three distinct original Japanese pressings, one for Japan, one for the U.S., and one for Europe. Each one has its own distinct label design, catalog number, and inserts. An example of an album existing as three distinct original Japanese pressings is the classic 1976 pop album from Boz Scaggs, Silk Degrees. Information on the three Japanese pressings is listed below.
- Japanese release: CBS/Sony catalog number 35DP 20. Inserts are printed in English and Japanese. Released with an obi strip.
- U.S. release: CBS catalog number CK 33920. Inserts are printed in English. Not released with an obi strip.
- European release: CBS catalog number CDCBS 81193. Inserts are printed in English. Not released with an obi strip.
These Japanese pressings were manufactured between 1982 and 1985. Towards the end of 1984, CD demand in the U.S. had increased to the point that CBS/Sony could justify opening a CD manufacturing plant in the U.S. In September of 1984, CBS Records opened the Digital Audio Disc Corporation (DADC) plant in Terre Haute, Indiana to manufacture CDs. By 1985, U.S. DADC pressings of CBS titles began to appear in the U.S. in place of Japanese pressings.
Similarly, in 1986, the demand for CDs in Europe had increased such that CBS Records could justify a local pressing plant. As a result, CBS Records opened a pressing plant in Salzburg, Austria in 1986, also named Digital Audio Disc Corporation. In 1986, Austrian DADC pressings of CBS/Sony titles began to replace Japanese pressings in Europe.
The transition from Japanese to Austrian pressings in Europe was not always direct. To meet local demand in the early days of the CD format, record labels often contracted manufacturing to different pressing plants, including at times plants that would not be expected for that label. As an example, CBS Records in the U.S. had some CDs pressed in Japan in 1985 and ’86 by JVC and Denon. This was done to meet demand that the new U.S. DADC plant could not handle. CBS Records in Europe also outsourced CD manufacturing even after the Austrian DADC plant opened.
A select number of European CBS issues were pressed at the U.S. DADC plant in 1985. These U.S.-for-Europe pressings are quite rare. They bear resemblance to the earlier Japan-for-Europe pressings and the more common early Austrian pressings. However, inspection of these CDs clearly reveals that they were made in the U.S. It is presumed that pressing runs of these European issues in the U.S. were rather limited.
Shown below is the cover, back insert, spine label, and a U.S. DADC pressing for the first European issue of Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees. Silk Degrees was very popular by virtue of the included hits “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle”. This popularity could very well have played into a need for CBS in Europe to source copies of the album from the U.S.
The cover for the U.S.-for-Europe CD of Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees (CBS, catalog number CDCBS 81193). This cover has been used since the album was originally released in 1976.
The back insert for the U.S.-for-Europe CD of Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees (CBS, catalog number CDCBS 81193). There is no barcode. This back insert is similar to the ones accompanying Japan-for-Europe and early Austrian pressings of Silk Degrees. Note the statement in the bottom right corner, “Made in Japan by CBS/Sony Distribution…”, obviously a holdover from the original Japan-for-Europe pressings.
A spine label for the U.S.-for-Europe CD of Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees (CBS, catalog number CDCBS 81193). This is the same design used for the Japan-for-Europe and early Austrian pressings.
The U.S.-for-Europe pressing of Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees (CBS, catalog number CDCBS 81193). The label design is the same one used for Japan-for-Europe and early Austrian pressings. This disc was pressed by the DADC plant in the U.S. It has “Made in USA – Digital Audio Disc Corp.” stamped on the clear plastic ring at the center. The matrix code is “DIDP 50020 41A5” and follows the form used for early U.S. DADC pressings of Silk Degrees issued in the U.S. Finally, although difficult to read in this picture, the disc has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY INC. IN U.S.A.” printed along the perimeter.