THE NORTHWEST MUSIC ARCHIVES documents audio recordings produced in, or by labels based in, the Northwestern area (Washington, Oregon, Idaho) of the USA. We present data as labelographies (by using our “Search by Label” function) that note what recordings were issued when by which labels and also (by using our “Search by Artist” function) as discographies that reveal what recordings were created when by which local musicians.

CONTACT: There is background info about our team at the bottom of this page. We welcome the contribution of relevant discographical data from fellow music fans, musicians, and labels. Please submit info (or recordings) via our Archives Facebook page, and/or through the mail to: NORTHWEST MUSIC ARCHIVES, P.O. Box 15349 Seattle, WA 98115

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THIS KEY is provided as an informational aid to understanding the discographical system of informational fields we’ve developed to describe, and differentiate, the Artists, Labels, and Sound Carrier artifacts documented here. It is a system based on standards adopted by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC). The specific format categories and terminology include:

ARTIST NAMES:  Where there is more than one distinct artist from two or more different Northwestern states (Washington, Oregon, or Idaho) bearing the same name, we will differentiate them by inserting an abbreviated note regarding their home-base within the listings. Examples:

  • The Aztecs [ID] would represent a band from Idaho called The Aztecs.
  • The Aztecs [WA] would represent a band from Washington called The Aztecs.

Or, where there is more than one distinct artist from the same Northwestern state bearing the same name, we will differentiate them by noting their home-town within the listings. Examples:

  • The Casuals [Seattle] would represent a band from Seattle, Washington called The Casuals.
  • The Casuals [Bellevue] would represent a band from Bellevue, Washington called The Casuals.

And, where a non-Northwest artist happened to have a recording issued by a Northwest-based label, that artist will have their home-base noted next to their name. Examples:

  • The Five Whispers [CA] would represent a band from California.
  • Les Thugs [FR] would represent a band from France.

LABEL NAMES:  Where there is more than one distinct label from the same Northwestern state bearing the same name, we will differentiate them by inserting a Roman Numeral regarding that label’s probable or estimated chronological primacy within their listing. Examples:

  • Rainier Records [I] would represent an early label that was active in, say, the 1940s.
  • Rainier Records [II] would represent a later label that was active in, say, the 1960s.
  • Rainier Records [III] would represent a more recent label that was active in, say, the 1990s.

And/or, where there is more than one distinct label bearing the same name – but they are based in different Northwestern states – we will differentiate them by inserting an abbreviated note regarding that label’s home-base within their listing. Examples:

  • Sea-Port Records [OR] would represent a label based in Oregon.
  • Sea-Port Records [WA] would represent a label based in Washington.

Similarly, when a notable Northwest-based artist had a recording released by a non-Northwest-based label, we will document that fact by inserting an abbreviated note within that label’s listing. Examples:

  • A&M Records [CA] would represent a label based in California.
  • OKeh Records [NY] would represent a label based in New York.

SOUND CARRIER FORMATS:  This site notes the different “sound carrier formats” (and their varying configurations) that recordings were released in. They include discs (16 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm, 45 rpm,& 78 rpm), player-piano rolls, reel-to-reel tapes, cassettes, 8-track cartridges, compact discs (CD), and even digital downloads. We have established default categories to aid in our data-entry process. Among those defaults are these:

  • All 7” discs are assumed to have a large center hole unless otherwise noted.
  • All 10” discs and 12″ discs are assumed to have a small center hole unless otherwise noted.

SERIAL NUMBER: A record’s Serial Number (or “Catalog Number”) is typically found in relatively large type-font on the paper label at the center of a disc, and will typically be the same number on both sides of that disc. It is intended as the record company’s means of organizing the sequence in which their various recordings are produced and/or released. Cassettes and CDs likewise have Serial Numbers noted on them.

MATRIX NUMBER: A Matrix Number is an alphanumeric code that is often printed on a record’s paper label (but typically in a smaller type-font than the Serial Number) – and/or stamped (or hand-etched) into the run-out area (the non-grooved area between the final band on a disc’s side and the paper label) of a shellac, vinyl, or polystyrene disc. A Matrix Number is intended for the internal use of the manufacturing plant – mainly to assign a filing/storage number for the metal disc-stamper – but they can also provide useful information to discographers about the edition of the record, and/or when it was pressed.

STAMPER CODE:  A Stamper Code is an alphanumeric code stamped (or hand-etched) into the run-out area of a disc. There are typically two parts to Stamper Codes: the Serial Number (or Matrix Number), and extra information which can include a “take” number (reflecting which rendition of a song, among several the artist may have recorded during a session, was selected for release). It may also include disc pressing-plant codes or logos, the initials or signature of the disc-cutting engineer, and cutting or copyright dates. California’s Monarch plant employed what is called a “Delta Code” – a number preceded by a pyramid-shaped symbol (which this site denotes with a ^ digit) that can be helpful in dating when that disc was pressed.

DATES:  Listed dates on this site are generally record release dates, rather than recording session dates (as the latter are not generally documented for most recordings in recent decades). All noted dates are presented in the Year-Month-Day format of YY-MM-DD.  [Example: for a recording released on January 21, 2014, our site would show 2014-01-21]

SONG PUBLISHERSPublishing companies are noted if they are listed on a recording’s label – as are various “performing rights” organizations they were associated with, including ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.).

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–––––ABOUT US: THE TEAM BEHIND THIS WEBSITE––––

  • PETE BLECHA launched the original Northwest Music Archives in 1982 as an independent historical preservation project which produced free public exhibits in Seattle relating the history of the region’s recording industry. In 1983 he began years of penning the path-breaking “Northwest Archives” history column in The Rocket magazine. He also served for a few years on the Northwest Area Music Association’s Hall of Fame Committee. Then, after spinning rare local discs as a radio DJ at KCMU, he served for 8.5 years as Senior Curator at Seattle’s music museum, the Experience Music Project (EMP). A long-time member of the Pacific Northwest Historians Guild, and the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (and has served several terms on their Excellence in Publications Committee), he is the multiple award-winning author of six books – and has worked as a Staff Historian & Contributing Editor for Washington State’s online history encyclopedia, HistoryLink.org since 2001. He can be reached via NWMA Editor / Webmaster.
  • R. BRUCE SMITH is an historian, a library sciences expert, and the pioneering discographer of local recordings who – way back in 1975! – founded Seattle’s invaluable Northwest Disc-Coveries & Sound Report, the long-running “news magazine of recording arts & pro sound in the Pacific Northwest.” His early writings on the history of Northwest record companies documented much previously unpublished information and set the standard in this region. Besides Northwest music & its history, other of his interests include American Civil War history, and he is a co-founder & key contributor to a website focused on this region’s historical links to that topic.
  • DUSTIN HAYS is a self-described “budding collector & historian.” We think he’s well on the way. He runs the ultra-cool Julianrecords.com online archive honoring the Julian record label that was active in his hometown area, the Wenatchee Valley, throughout the 1960s.
  • KATE RACE is a gifted graphic and website designer, & fine artist, currently creating beautiful imagery with Artitudes Design.
  • MILES MATSUMOTO is a principal at Tiny Whale Creative, a graphic designer and computer code ace – & the dude responsible for creating the logo for The Matrix movies.