----- Original Message -----
From: "D P Ingram" <[log in to unmask]>
> Hello all.
> As part of a cataloguing idea I am trying to sketch out some
> schematics. Could somebody kindly explain/clarify something for me?
> The question refers I am sure to "older" music as well. It just
> happens that I've picked upon a recent(ish) example as it contained
> some other programming issues I have had to work around.
> In front of me I have a copy of "You're The One That I Want" by John
> Travolta AND Oliva Newton-John. It was issued on the RSO Label in
> Now the question is: The catalogue number given is RSO 006 but
> underneath there is also a number in brackets (2090279). These
> numbers are the same on both sides but don't indicate a date). Is
> this another catalogue number or what is it ? This gives me the
> problem as I'd like to be able to say "show all records on RSO" and
> this would come up, but what purpose does the other number serve?
Most likely (I can't verify this, since my discograpic expertise is
78-relared...) the number in the parentheses is the record company's
"matrix number." This was the actual number that was assigned by
whomever did the actual recording (or possibly the record company
itself...?) to the "matrix"...which refers, or used to, to the
first negative copy created by electroplating the original master
recording (wax, then later lacquer-coated discs...no idea exactly
what was used during the "tape era"...).
It is used by the record company to keep track of the original
versions of recordings...which were often made before a "catalog
number" had been assigned to the record. Chances are the recording
was #279 in a series that was assigned 209 or 2090.
If the original recording ledgers still exist, this would enable
a researcher to find whatever data had been noted at the time of
And, no, I have no idea why these numbers were/are shown on the
labels of commercially-made records, since the buyers were usually
NOT interested in this data. However, it has been quite valuable
to we researchers since whenever folks started seriously collecting
Steven C. Barr