THE NORTHWEST MUSIC ARCHIVES documents audio recordings produced in, or by labels based in, the Pacific Northwest area: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, Canada. 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.
AUDIO HISTORY: To gain a greater sense of the deep back-story of our main topic, please click on our NW History page. It includes links to essays covering topics including the first record ever cut in Seattle and an overview of recording history in the Northwest.
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.
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:
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:
Or, where there are three or more bands with the same name, we will differentiate them in chronological order of emergence. Examples:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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 PUBLISHERS: Publishing companies are noted if they are listed on a recording’s label — as are various performing rights organizations that they were associated with, including ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.).