Dec 10, 2020

Japanese Vinyl Laboratory: Promo Records

If you are collecting Japanese pressed vinyl records, and if you are lucky enough, you may stumble on Japanese promo records someday.

Promotional records or promo records in short are pressings manufactured mainly for promotion before the commercial copies were released. As promo copies were distributed to radio stations and not for sale, unavailable in stores, they were few in number and tended to have a superior audio quality compared to records sold in retail.

Furthermore, promotional copies also contributed to marketing surveys. Music labels gained reactions and feedback about the music pieces played on promotional copies from listeners and decided whether or not they would produce the commercial copies and how many the production should be.

As promo copies had been pressed several months before the release of commercial copies, and they had not yet been set to be marketed, in some cases certain pieces were not included on promo copies but on the normal edition, or you may also find that the titles of certain songs are different from the songs recorded on the normal edition. These are definitely the factors that promo records are now attracting record collectors.

There are also cases in which only promo copies had been pressed and no commercial copies were put on the market. If you are a fortunate collector, you may encounter such really rare records.

Promotional records are now usually much more valuable and expensive than regular records today for their rarity.

How To Find Promo Copies


White colored labels are common for promotional records, which is also the case for western vinyl records. The white label was invented to differentiatie promotional copies from retail records and eventually became the informal standard for many record companies. Therefore finding a white coloured label is one big clue of getting a promo copy.


But as for Japanese pressed vinyl, there is another indication to confirm a promo copy: the Japanese letters “非売品” or “見本” appear on a label, meaning “NOT FOR SALE” or “PROMO”.

The label even contains information on the date of release.
Occasionally, there are promo copies with colored labels as well.


Promo Sticker On The Cover

There are some variations of promo stickers on album covers.
The 3 most common types:

- Small white sticker with red lettering


- Large white sticker with black lettering


- Small red sticker with white lettering


Those 3 stickers have the term “見本” meaning “PROMO” in Japanese. Basically, the term is latterd in red or black with white.

Promo Sticker On The OBI Strip

Although quite rare, a promo sticker may be placed on the OBI strip.


Promo Only Compilations

Japanese record companies released compilation of LP records solely for promotional purposes.

They compiled new songs from the label, and sent them to radio stations.
It goes without saying that these compilation albums were not sold for anyone back in the day.


Promotional records are definitely rare and valuable.
If you are ready to add them to your Japanese record collection, you are going to our selections.

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