updated 5 days ago
For background, please see the SPCN codes (Special Product Code Number) wiki page.
According to the research done by bsnpubs.com, the format of SPCN codes is “DDD RRRR XYZ”, where DDD is a 3-digit number indicating the distributor, RRRR is a 4-digit “record number”, XY is a 2-digit number indicating the format, and Z is a semi-random digit based on the format.
The RRRR code is supposed to be a base catalog number that is common only to various formats of the same release. The LP, CD, and cassette of the same title (all distributed simultaneously by one distributor) would share the RRRR code, while the XYZ would be different.
However, this list shows that this system doesn’t really exist as bsnpubs.com describes, or broke down at some point, or at least didn’t apply to all labels. While there are four CD/cassette pairs in this list that would logically share the same “2612” RRRR code, it shouldn’t be shared across 12 master releases. There is one obvious connection for all of these releases: they were all released by Frontline Music Group through their various sub-labels, which were actually more like imprints. According to one artist who was signed to them, all decisions were made at one table, and the sub-labels were just how certain genres were pushed.
Problems with these assertions: These items are all from my personal collection, and all from what is essentially one label, released in a limited period of time. It’s quite possible that the system did work when originally implemented.
These codes have been reformatted from “7-5126-12??-?” (D-DDRR-RRXY-Z) format to “751-2612-???” (DDD-RRRR-XYZ) format, to highlight the middle 4 digits. The various dashes and spaces in SPCNs apparently don’t mean anything.