In 2004 the legal name was changed to Sonopress Arvato.
Labelcode: LC 4241 or LC 04241
Sonopress vinyl pressings can be identified by two ways:
The "bass clef" symbol, usually embossed on the B-side centre label.
Sonopress vinyl runout etchings, following certain patterns:
Early 1960s: In the early 1960s the pattern is not yet consistent. Often it is "1 B xxxx A-1 / B-1" (e.g. 1 B 1016 A-1 // 1 B 1016 B-1); sometimes it is the release's cat# (e.g. 45450 X-1 / 45450 Y-1"). The four digits are sequential but their meaning remains unclear (and should not be added as Sonopress numbers).
1965 - 1973: N xxxxx A-1 / B-1. N is a letter (mostly B, C, G, K) - but could also be two or more letters (e.g. B C, G L/C, G C, G FU or PU), and xxxxx is the cat# of the release. Examples: B 19174 A-1 // B 19174 B-1 (7") or G C 75562/63 A-1 // G C 75562/63 A-1 (LP).
1973 - 1975: S xxxxx A-1 / B-1 (or M xxxxx A-1 / B-1). The S stands for Stereo, the M for Mono, regardless the format.
1975 - 1978: S xxxxx A-1 / B-1 75 or xxxxx A-1 / B-1 / 76 S (the last 2 numbers stand for the cutting year). Often with additional roman numerals I, II, III etc.
1978 - 1983: The catalogue numbers are adjusted to 6 digits, e.g. xxxxxx A-1/79 S. In 1983, injection molding was introduced.
1983 - 1988: Use of leading DM, DMM or DS (e.g. DM xxxxxx A - 9/84 S). These letters indicate the mastering/processing method. DM became standard after 1984.
1988 - 1992: Use of 3-digit number preceding the DS, DM and the cat# (e.g. 005 DS xxxxxx A-2 or 105 DM xxxxxx A-1); the date appears irregulary but the S disappeared. Apparently, the 3 digits indicate the respective lathe.
Since 1965 there also is "Made in Germany" found (irregularly placed) in the runouts, indicating a pressing in Gütersloh (as opposed to Made in Austria or Made in Switzerland). Example: G 19080 A-3 Made in Germany // G 19080 B-3 Made in Germany (7"). Note: A "Made in Germany" runout stamp is by itself not an indicator of a Sonopress vinyl pressing, because other plants (e.g. Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft Pressing Plant) used it as well. "Manufactured in Germany" indicates a contractual pressing by Teldec-Press GmbH.
Please note: The numbers are not Sonopress specific work numbers. Generally, for all Ariola and BMG related pressings, xxxxxx stands for the cat#, provided by the record company, and is used throughout the labels they distributed (e.g. Jupiter, Pye, Ariola, Hansa, A&M, Virgin etc.). If the runout number is identical to the cat#, don't use it as LCCN number!
On releases manufactured between 1974 and 1982 you will in some cases notice additionally engraved 2/3-digit numbers. These were applied during galvanization if the mothers were destined to be used at other pressing plants:
002: Teldec-Press GmbH
011: CBS, Haarlem
12/012: Phonodisc GesmbH
014: Ariola Benelux B.V.
020: Sonopress - was engraved to indicate that lacquer or mother had been manufactured somewhere else.
However, an additional 3-digit code was re-introduced in 1988 (see above).
The Sonopress specific pattern on contracted vinyl pressings for outside labels begins in 1970. The pattern is A-xxxx, B-xxxx, etc., followed or preceded by the typical side identifiers and mastering codes as described above, e.g. A-xxxx A-3/83 S I or DM B-xxxx A-1/9-86 or B-xxxx A-1/83S I or 209 DMG-3990 A-2 (please note that often the DM and the following letter are combined to DMB-1234 or DMG-5678, etc., but only B-1234 would be the LCCN number).
The pattern was eventually carried over to CD releases, where it continued until Z-9999 was reached in 1999. Then it changed to A-xxxxx.
Note: Only these specific Sonopress patterns like B-1234, G-3990 or A-12345 can be used as LCCN company numbers.
Sonopress numbers on modern CDs occur in an 8-digit format of "5xxxxxxx". This number is usually followed by the release catalog number, often separated by a slash. The start of the numbering sequence is not exactly known, but it is unlikely to predate the year 2000. Similar numbering is also found on releases made by Arvato Digital Services. This sequential number can be added as LCCN number.
Bertelsmann rarely outsourced their production chain (cutting, pressing, printing, distribution). So, a "Printed by Mohndruck Graphische Betriebe GmbH", "Printed by TOPAC", "Ariola-Eurodisc GmbH" München or Gütersloh (found on the outer centre label ring), all Bertelsmann companies, would surely appear on releases pressed by Sonopress. However, occasional exceptions exist (e.g. for Switzerland or Teldec repressings).
1957: Reinhard Mohn decided to produce vinyl records for the Bertelsmann Schallplattenring and establishes Sonopress Schallplatten GmbH (April). Just a few years later, Sonopress was servicing customers outside the Bertelsmann group as well.
1962: Ariola-Sonopress GmbH is established in August and Sonopress Schallplatten GmbH is dissolved (November).
1966: Sonopress GmbH is established in June.
1969: Start with the production of compact cassettes.
1978: Acquisition of a production facility in Mexico City. Start of the internationalization. Sonopress Gesellschaft für Tonträgerherstellung mbH is established (October).
1981: Start with the production of video cassettes.
1982: Start with the production of LaserDiscs.
1984: Start with the production of Compact Discs.
1986: After the takeover of RCA by BMG, Sonopress takes over the RCA pressing plants in the USA, Italy, Mexico and Brazil.
1991: A plant in Hong Kong is opened. Sonopress Gesellschaft für Tonträgerherstellung mbH is renamed to Sonopress Produktionsgesellschaft für Ton- und Informationsträger mbH (February).
1992: Sonopress stops mass manufacturing vinyl records (July).
1993: Sonopress Ibermemory, S.A. is created after a joint venture with Iberofon, S.A..
1997: Start with the production of DVDs.
2002: Two plants are opened in France and Singapore.
2004: Acquisition of Audio Services Ltd. (ASL), the largest UK vinyl pressing plant (April)
2004: Renamed to Sonopress Arvato.