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  • Analogue Productions re-releases

    I am trying to avoid the proverbial trap of missing out on some vinyl releases from various labels. Some releases have specifically stated (such as some of the MOFI releases and the Bill Evans AP Riverside box set) that they are limited edition runs, which I assume once those are gone, they are gone. Other labels, like Pure Pleasure and Speakers Corner, seem to have a limited number over a 3-5 year span and once they are gone, they are gone. But Analogue Productions seems to be able to release and release for years. Do they have rights that other labels don't have? They keep reproducing many well known titles, even after they have sold out. They repress many such as the Nat King Cole series, Norah Jones Box Sets, and mostly all on their catalogue list. Has that changed for them? I wish I could've bought some of their earlier releases (Vince Guaraldi 45 RPMs mastered by Hoffman/Gray immediately come to mind), but they were released and gone fairly quickly compared to today's releases. Any insight on this process, as I don't want to get stuck searching for a copy to buy and find out it is out of print. If money were no issue, I'd buy them all now, but so many I that are on my want list.

  • #2
    Good question. I didn't know that AP was re-releasing previously sold out runs. I thought they were limited to 2500 prints per release.

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    • #3
      It really comes down to the business practices of the different reissue houses. To reissue a record, you need two different kinds of licenses in the U.S. The first is a so-called "mechanical license" for the musical composition which is compulsory; that is, the copyright owner cannot say "no" once the composition has previously been released on a "phono record" (or its modern equivalent). The rates are set through an administrative agency procedure under the Copyright Act. The current rate is somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 cents per track per copy. These are typically administered through the Harry Fox Agency, although one could go through the Copyright Office if necessary.
      The second license is for the reproduction and distribution of copies of the master recording. There is no compulsory license for this under the U.S. statute. These are subject to negotiation and can be refused, or subject to exorbitant pricing demands.
      That is essentially a precis to what a reissue label has to do to "clear" a record for reissue, leaving aside artwork, permission to reproduce a label, photography, liner notes, etc. Although lawyers can be involved, music clearance (for phono record, film, advertising, etc.) is very much an industry unto itself.

      The reason why many of these records, as reissued, are done in finite quantities is that the market will only bear so many copies. As audiophiles, we would think that "everybody" will want to pay $50 for a record or $500 for a boxed set. Some sell out; others don't. But the reissue houses must secure the rights to do an issue and for business reasons, one wouldn't expect them to license or pay for more than they intend to produce. Thus, the licenses are typically finite in quantity. When a reissue is "reissued" again by the third party I suspect they would have to go through the same clearance/licensing process once again. Chad is certainly a known quantity and no doubt has some goodwill which ought to enable him to go through this process for reissues of reissues more smoothly than some.
      But, there can also be stumbling blocks.
      Sometimes, the label that owns the master has its own plans to re-release material, and may not want a third party with a competing product in the marketplace (even though a $50 dollar record, to take an example, isn't likely to compete with a $20 dollar one, at least in audiophile circles). Another issue arises when the original label no longer controls the rights in the master recording. The band or descendants also may have some say in whether and to whom they want to license.
      That should explain some of the business structure and practice for how the licensing/business side works. As to whether a particular set will sell out (or not) is part of the great casino of the record business, writ small these days. Predicting the "hits" in the days of million sellers was a dark and uncertain art at best.
      I hope that helps.

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      • #4
        Well I purchased 10 of the "VERY LIMITED PRODUCTION" limited edition Fleetwood Mack RUMORS LPs when they first came out..As I recall but I could be wrong the limit was 1000 so I invested some cash thinking it would be a good investment....Then what do you know, they were producing them "ad nauseam" after the LIMITED run sold out... This taught me a valuable lesson...You can't trust the notion that a production run is limited...Too many loop holes....I ended up giving away several of the Rumors as gifts...No investment value at all...
        Primary 2 channel stuff: Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk 3.3, Pass Labs X600.5 amps, Aerial SW 12 subs, True Sound Works Ultimate Apogee Divas, Dunlavy SC4s, VPI HRX Reference w Avenger mag drive and Reference footers, Gimbal Fatboy, Yamaha GT2000 for Mono, Miyajima Kansui, Miyajima ZERO, Fidelity Research MC-201 & 202, VPI ADS, Vendetta Research SCP-1, Audio Note UK- 3.1X II balanced DAC, Meridian Sooloos, Western Electric Speaker wire, mostly diy balanced interconnects, Furutech Power Cords

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