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What is a promo CD? E-mail

Firstly - the following discussion has nothing to do with promo items such as "Disk Union" boxes etc. While it's true they do sometimes include a bonus CD, these are similar to "Promo obis" (ie. a replica of an older release - see the FAQ on promo obis).

So.... A promo CD is "given out" to radio stations, journalists etc in order to promote an artist's work. They are also known as "cut-outs". In most cases the CD is considered to be leant to the recipient - it remains the property of the manufacturer.

Legally speaking, promo CDs cannot be sold or resold. In order to make it more difficult to sell, the CD case (and sometimes the CD itself) is usually marked or permanently damaged in some way.

Despite the legal implications, and the obvious violation of eBay's policies, promo CDs are regularly sold on eBay. That said, eBay does occasionally cancel auctions of promo CDs. For example, robots monitor eBay listings on some sites and report promo CDs to the manufacturers or copyright or other groups representing artists' and corporate interests and the auction will be cancelled at the request of the interested party.

The types of marking found on CDs vary dramatically from a simple removable sticker (which often causes no damage) through to a saw cut through the spine of the case.

Following are examples:

Saw cut through the spine.

This was the standard way of marking promos in the days of vinyl (pre bar codes in other words) and is still practiced today.

Promo saw cut on CD cover

Drill hole or slashed cut through the bar code (and therefore the case too in the case of jewel cases).

Promo drill hole through bar code

Sticker on the bar code.

Promo sticker on bar code

Etched stamp on the CD itself.

Promo etching on CD spindle
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Featured Releases (A selection of...)

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Front cover (main) image of UICY-93980 : Stewart, Rod : Sing It Again Rod +5
UICY-93980 : 2009-02-25
Rod's first 'greatest hits' album with a fantastic, die-cut sleeve.
Front cover (main) image of POCP-9194 to POCP-9208 & 9212/3 : Who (The) : POCP Target Obi Series
POCP-9194 to POCP-9208 & 9212/3 : 1999-09-29
The first edition of the first series of mini LPs for the Who (target obis) came with inserts that were pre-punched. A binder and T-Shirt accompanied the release. It is not clear how these were obtained but it seems likely that the small yellow coupon on the obi would have been snipped off and the folder at least was awarded on surrendering the full set of coupons.
Front cover (main) image of TOCP-65883 : Jethro Tull : Thick As A Brick +2
TOCP-65883 : 2001-10-31
The undisputed classic Jethro Tull album. The first full length concept album from Ian Anderson and, according the official web site, "a rock first: one continuous song on both sides"
Front cover (main) image of UICY-93013-38 : Rolling Stones (The) : In the 60's
UICY-93013-38 : 2006-03-16

2006 (reprinted at least once) release of Stones albums from the earliest days up to 1975. Does not include the early 70s releases.

Each album included a collector card. The backs of the cards, when laid side by side, formed the cover image of "Their Satanic Majesties Request".

Front cover (main) image of TOCP 71010-1 : Beatles (The) : The Beatles (aka The White Album)
TOCP 71010-1 : 2009-09-09
Double album named the beatles. Kaldes også det hvide album. Gatefold. Navnet the beatles præget i frontcover. Nummer skrevet i sort No 0000001. Ellers er mini lp'en som den originale vinylplade.
Front cover (main) image of WPCR-13295 : Talking Heads : Speaking In Tongues (+2)
WPCR-13295 : 2009-01-14

Fifth studio album, featuring Talking Heads only US Top Ten hit, Burning Down The House (including an alternative version as a bonus, and an unfinished outtake of Two Note Swivel).

This version is a reproduction of the limited edition clear vinyl version designed by artist Robert Rauschenberg, who won a Grammy Award for his work.


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