CDs with JVC "Tetris blocks" + other JVC discs (my collection only)

By mjb mjb
updated 6 months ago

Some CDs made by JVC (Japan) or JVC Disc America (USA) have a text string laser-etched in a 3-by-3 "Tetris block" code in the matrix area. It is believed that this code indicates a JVC-made CD even if JVC is not credited, and that it debuted in 1987.

You cannot really infer LCCN data from this code yet. Forum discussion: https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/739580

On all the discs I've seen, the content of the code is the human-readable matrix number followed by an optional space (usually missing) and then two seemingly random letters. The optional "stamped" two-digit code which appears to be closer to the surface of the disc is not included, nor is the optional MFD BY JVC.

Here is a guide I made for interpreting the code: https://skew.org/jvc/

Discs made in Japan look exactly the same as those made in USA, as far as I know.

Prior to the introduction of the blocks, JVC CDs (Japan and USA) used a laser-etched OCR-B-style vector font with a widely-kerned matrix number (cat#-X#, typeset with half the letters pointing one way and half pointing the other way, rather than always pointing toward the center), and then a normally-kerned code (X##). I only have one of these (the Brenda K Starr album).

Mysteries:
• how to get a good photo or scan of the blocks
• when did the blocks really first appear?
• are there releases with the same laser-etched lettering but no Tetris blocks? Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 perhaps?

  1. Brenda K. Starr - Brenda K. Starr

    14 For Sale from $1.00

    M C A D - 4 2 0 8 8 - A 1 C12
    © 1987
    no blocks

  2. Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party

    21 For Sale from $3.50

    MCAD-5665 4S MFD BY JVC
    28 Apr 1986 (source unknown); mine is probably a later pressing
    blocks: MCAD-5665 4SOG

  3. The Art Of Noise - (Who's Afraid Of?) The Art Of Noise!

    8 For Sale from $12.36

    P33D-20025-A3E 11
    5 Sep 1986
    Made in Japan
    blocks: P33D-20025-A3EFP
    mine must be a later repress; images show the older format without blocks

  4. Tangerine Dream - Poland: The Warsaw Concert

    2 For Sale from $49.00

    8045-2-1-1T
    8045-2-2-1T
    © 1986 but 1988 release per fan discography
    blocks: 8045-1-1-TPA
    blocks: 8045-2-2-TAA

  5. Tangerine Dream - Underwater Sunlight

    8113-2-1T
    © 1986 but must be at 1987 or later release if JVC USA
    blocks: 8113-2-1TNI

  6. The Todd Terry Project - To The Batmobile Let's Go

    15 For Sale from $3.16

    CDRE-82009-2T 11
    © 1988
    blocks: CDRE-82009-2TAL

  7. Various - Hit Singles 1980–1988

    4 For Sale from $4.00

    D-110515 22T 21 MFD BY JVC
    © 1988
    blocks: D-110515 22T FA
    this is the only one with a space before the last two letters

  8. Information Society - Information Society

    10 For Sale from $1.50

    25691G-2-G1T 27
    Jun 1988
    blocks: 25691G-2-G1TFN

  9. Tangerine Dream - Wavelength (Original Soundtrack)

    7 For Sale from $21.25

    VCD-47223-1 2T 1: MFD BY JVC
    25 Oct 1988
    blocks: VCD-47223-1 2TJA

  10. Bernie Krause - Gorilla

    2 For Sale from $9.00

    NC-266494-1T 12
    © 1989
    blocks: NC-266494-1TON

  11. Revenge - Slave

    8 For Sale from $7.31

    CDP7-15610-JVC 1S
    1-2-1 CAPITOL JAX 6 C RE1
    © 1990
    blocks: CDP7-15610-JVC 1SLB

  12. Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia - Maenad

    3 For Sale from $4.00

    KK 069 1S 11 MFD BY JVC
    © 1991
    blocks: KK 069 1SIC

  13. John Williams (4) - Raiders Of The Lost Ark (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

    7 For Sale from $15.73

    POCP-2013-A1F V
    1 May 1991
    blocks: POCP-2013-A1FJH

  14. Boy George and Culture Club - At Worst... The Best Of

    9 For Sale from $2.50

    E239014 X3C MFD BY JVC
    © 1993
    blocks: E239014 X3CFJ

  15. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers* - Greatest Hits

    55 For Sale from $1.50

    MCAD10813 Y7C 13 MFD BY JVC
    © 1993
    blocks: MCAD10183 Y7CEH

  16. Kim Wilde - If I Can't Have You

    9 For Sale from $4.44

    MCADM54737 1C 11 MFD BY JVC
    © 1993
    blocks: MCADM54737 1CPH

  17. Tangerine Dream - Sorcerer

    19 For Sale from $8.43

    MCAD10842 1C 11 MFD BY JVC
    © 1977 but 1994 release per unknown source
    blocks: MCAD10842 1CHF