White label

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A white label promo 12" vinyl. White-Label-Record-Marcus-Andrews.JPG
A white label promo 12" vinyl.

White label records are vinyl records with plain white labels attached. There are several variations each with a different purpose. Variations include test pressings, white label promos, and plain white labels.

Contents

Test pressings, usually with test pressing written on the label, with catalogue number, artist and recording time or date, are the first vinyl discs made at the factory. They are produced in small quantities (usually under five copies) to evaluate the quality of the disc before mass production begins.

In the U.S., the traditional term white label promo (often abbreviated as WLP) refers to a promotional pressing with a label that has mostly the same text and label logo/artwork as the commercial label, but with a white background instead of the color or artwork found on the commercial pressings.

Plain white label promotional recordings were produced in larger quantities by bigger record labels, often containing a biography of the band, to distribute as demonstration discs ("demos") to music distributors, and radio stations in order to assess consumer opinion.

Today, white labels discs are commonly used to promote new artists or upcoming albums by veteran artists. In some cases white labels are issued to conceal artist identities (examples of this include songs by Traci Lords and La Toya Jackson, whose record companies issued white labels so that DJs would have no pre-conceived notions about the music just by seeing who the artist was). Many dance music producers press copies of white labels in order to test crowd response in dance clubs to their own musical productions.

Traci Lords American mainstream and pornographic actress, producer, film director, writer and singer

Traci Elizabeth Lords is an American actress, singer, model, writer, producer, and director. During the mid 1980s, she used a fake ID to conceal the fact that she was two years underage when she starred in X-rated films and was one of the most sought-after pornographic actresses in the adult entertainment industry. When the FBI acted on an anonymous tip that Lords was a minor during her time in the industry and pornographers were distributing and selling illegal images and videotapes, the resulting fallout led to prosecutions and court cases in addition to bans on all but the last of her adult films.

La Toya Jackson American singer

La Toya Yvone Jackson is an American singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman and television personality. The fifth child of the Jackson family, Jackson first gained recognition on the family's variety television series, The Jacksons, on CBS between 1976 and 1977. Thereafter, she saw success as a solo recording artist under multiple record labels in the 1980s and 1990s, including Polydor, Sony Music and RCA, where she released nine studio albums over the course of fifteen years. Her most successful releases in the United States were her self-titled debut album (1980) and the 1984 single "Heart Don't Lie". Jackson's other songs include "If You Feel the Funk", "Bet'cha Gonna Need My Lovin'", "Hot Potato", "You're Gonna Get Rocked!" and "Sexbox". Another one of Jackson's songs, "Just Say No" from her fifth album was composed for US first lady Nancy Reagan and Reagan administration's anti-drug campaign.

Dance music music composed specifically to facilitate or accompany dancing

Dance music is music composed specifically to facilitate or accompany dancing. It can be either a whole musical piece or part of a larger musical arrangement. In terms of performance, the major categories are live dance music and recorded dance music. While there exist attestations of the combination of dance and music in ancient times, the earliest Western dance music that we can still reproduce with a degree of certainty are the surviving medieval dances. In the Baroque period, the major dance styles were noble court dances. In the classical music era, the minuet was frequently used as a third movement, although in this context it would not accompany any dancing. The waltz also arose later in the classical era. Both remained part of the romantic music period, which also saw the rise of various other nationalistic dance forms like the barcarolle, mazurka, ecossaise, ballade and polonaise.

Aside from house music and hip-hop, plain white label records are not generally distributed to the public.

House music is a genre of electronic dance music created by club DJs and music producers in Chicago in the early 1980s. Early house music was generally characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats, rhythms provided by drum machines, off-beat hi-hat cymbals, and synthesized basslines. While house displayed several characteristics similar to disco music, which preceded and influenced it, as both were DJ and record producer-created dance music, house was more electronic and minimalistic. The mechanical, repetitive rhythm of house was one of its main components. Many house compositions were instrumental, with no vocals; some had singing throughout the song with lyrics; and some had singing but no actual words.

Use of white labels in house music and hip hop

Today, white labels are usually produced in small amounts (fewer than 300) by small record companies or DJs and are most popular with house music and hip-hop music DJs. In the early 1990s, hardcore techno and house artists created tracks in home or local studios and had five-hundred or a few thousand singles pressed on 12" white labels, which were easy to sell at dance music record stores. [1]

Steve Beckett of Warp Records recalls that "shops would take fifty white labels off you for five pounds each, no problem. Dance music was all imports, then people in Britain started doing it for themselves, and their tracks started to get better than the tunes in America." [1] Record labels like Warp, and Shut Up and Dance, were begun as white-label enterprises, providing cutting-edge dance music to pirate radio stations and music stores. [1] [2]

Many white labels contain unauthorized remixes or tracks that are not yet licensed or released (also called "bootlegs"). White labels are referred to as "promos" (short for "promotional copies") that many top-name DJs receive and play weeks or months prior to the day of general release to the public. As artists using samples pay high fees for the privilege of such, they must be able to gauge the market potential of their tracks prior to approval. Recently, smaller promo services offer record companies a more economical means of distribution although these companies may not have the means to properly protect releases from illegal copying.

Bootleg recording unauthorized recording or release

A bootleg recording is an audio or video recording of a performance that was not officially released by the artist or under other legal authority. The process of making and distributing such recordings is known as bootlegging. Recordings may be copied and traded among fans of the artist without financial exchange, but some bootleggers have sold recordings for profit, sometimes by adding professional-quality sound engineering and packaging to the raw material. Bootlegs usually consist of either unreleased studio recordings, live performances or interviews with an unpredictable level of quality.

Sampling (music) reproduction of short extracts from a musical work

In music, sampling is the reuse of a portion of a sound recording in another recording. Samples may comprise rhythm, melody, speech, or other sounds. They are usually integrated using hardware (samplers) or software such as digital audio workstations.

The industry itself seems to be aware of this necessity and white labels are commonly accepted as a necessary evil within the industry, which has only prosecuted a small number of those artists using white labeled pressings of uncleared samples and compositions.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Reynolds, Simon (1998). Generation Ecstasy: Into the world of Techno and Rave Culture. Little, Brown and Co. ISBN   0-415-92373-5.
  2. "Editors review: Warp Records". BBC. bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-10-31.