WEA Manufacturing matrix barcodes (my collection only)
updated 2 months ago
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I figured out how to scan the barcodes in the matrix areas of some CDs.
The barcodes on CDs glass-mastered by Specialty Records Corporation (SRC) / WEA Mfg. Olyphant seem to be sequential project codes, roughly correlated with an original mastering date. Aside from maybe picking up a leading zero, the code stays the same on represses, even if the original pressing didn't have a barcode.
WEA Manufacturing started making CDs in late 1986 [maybe early '87... "Q4 1986" was mentioned in a mid-'86 Billboard article], so I would expect the lowest-numbered codes to include a lot of back-catalog titles (reissues of albums from previous years).
The first line of each comment is the value of the barcode. The next line gives clues about the release date.
The matrix barcodes on some Enhanced CDs have their own numbering sequence starting with 6 instead of 0, or they use the catalog number.
The matrix barcodes on CDs glass-mastered by Allied Record Company (ARC) / WEA Mfg. Commerce have their own numbering sequence, apparently. I put those, along with other odd cases, at the very end of the list. Nearly all of the CDs are glass mastered & pressed at SRC. Some are SRC masters pressed at ARC. Only very few are pressed and mastered by ARC.
Some barcodes omit the first digit and append a letter suffix. I don't know what it means.