'Loss Leaders' Series & PRO
As the Warner label was undergoing its metamorphosis toward corporate domination, there was a point in time in which the autonomous and innovative directions of Mo Austin and Joe Smith merged. One such concept was the "Loss Leaders" mail-order compilations, begun in 1969, which eventually trailed off as new sales strategies in the music market swamped its viability.
It is interesting to note that Frank Zappa & Herb Cohen's independent labels of Straight and Bizarre Records gained 2 "Zapped" releases in this series to themselves. Many of the liner notes were written by Barry Hansen. A number of "Loss Leader" releases were auto-coupled. Some of this mail-order stock did find its way into the retail market outside of the US & Canada.
Note: The series is prefixed PRO (for PROmotion). Other releases of a promotional nature (NOT "Loss Leaders") had this prefix. I have added them for cat# continuity.
Listed in order of release.
(Ignore left-hand numbering - the numbering is shown in comment)
The list is, of course, reliant on the database and relies on my transcribing the bumph when and as I find it. PM me with info if you feel inclined.
From a typical "Loss Leader" liner;
The best, Biggest bargains on record! The Warner/Reprise Loss Leaders.
You can't buy these albums in a store; they are available only by mail, for the ridiculously low price of $2 for the doubles, $1 for "Zapped".
We can get away with that low price because these celebrated artists and this benevolent record company have all agreed not to make a profit on this venture. We (and they) feel it's more important that these samples of musical joy be heard.
If you're as suspicious of big record companies as we feel you have every right to to be, we avert your qualms with the following High Truths:
• This is new stuff, NOT old tracks dredged out of our Dead Dogs files. If our Accounting Department were running this company, they'd charge you $9.96 for each double album. But they're not. Yet.
• We are not 100 per cent benevolent. It's our fervent hope that you, dear consumer, will be encouraged to pick up more of what you hear on these special albums at regular retail prices.
• That you haven't heard much of this material we hold obvious. Over 8,000 new albums glut the market (and airwaves) each year. Some of our Best Stuff has to get overlooked. Or underheard. Underbought. Thus, we're trying to get right to you Phonograph Lovers, bypassing the middlemen.
• Each album is divinely packaged, having been designed at no little expense by our latently talented Art Department.
The WORDS OF WARNING: Warner / Reprise put out all kinds of albums, but only one kind of inner sleeve (this one). For those of you who have serious reservations about Youth, Artistic License, and Hard Rock, we recommend you stick to our "Schlagers!" epic. We suggest this mostly because we hate getting nasty letters.
As we mentioned earlier, these albums are not available in any store. If you want them (indeed, how can you resist?) you have to fill in the coupon and send it off, with your loot, to Loss Leaders, Room 215, Warner / Reprise Records, Burbank, Calif. 91505.
(The coupon appears at the top of the liner, along with a pictorial representation of albums on offer at the foot - with artists & tracks listed. The reverse of liner shows 2 lists; Artists on Warner Bros. and Artists on Reprise).
The coupon text also says;
SMALL PRINT DEPT: Make checks payable to Warner Bros. Records. Allow about six weeks for the clowns in our mail room and U.S. Postal People to get back to you. Offer only good in U.S. & Canada, because Customs is such a pain.
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