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Thread: Private pressing??? What even is this thing?

  1. #1
    make UωU, not war Czyszy's Avatar
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    Private pressing??? What even is this thing?

    I've heard the term "private pressing". It refers to LPs not pressed by a record label but rather for individual clients.... I think? But I have no idea how it was done, particularly in the 70s, before the advent of CDs and computer-based music recording technologies, and before the internet. Who pressed those LPs for the artists? Independent record plants? Perhaps record labels themselves did it, except they just wouldn't sign those "private" pressings as their "official" catalog releases? Was it legal? I mean, I don't think musicians just casually had record cutting lathes at home, right? Did recording studios have their own lathes back in the day? I can't find any detailed information online, and all info I can find is super vague and most of it is conflicting information. Seriously. It's all shrouded in mystery. Does anybody here know how private LP pressing looked behind the scenes?
    NG ~ BC ~ PA
    “Pointing out the problem doesn't make it go away!” —Mr. Enter

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    Member interbellum's Avatar
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    Some information can be found on the page related to the book Private Dutch:

    The Dutch pop-scene, better known as NEDERBEAT-scene, has always been packed with talented bands. THE OUTSIDERS, CARGO, COSMIC DEALER, MOTIONS, SHOCKING BLUE, AHORA MAZDA, Q'65, FAIRY TALE, AFTER TEA, GROUP 1850, FUN OF IT; just a few names from the glorious past. But there was more, much more!!!

    Just a few people know of bands like AVALANCHE, MIRROR, ELLUFFANT, FRAGILE, FLUX, OBELISQUE, LES GOSSES, KRACQ, TAMALONE, VOIZE, MACREEL. These bands had one thing in common; they all had hundreds of fans, played fantastic music but didn't get their breakthrough, resulting in a contract with a major record company.

    Some of these groups didn't even want a contract; they preferred the fun of playing together, playing the music they wanted to play. With their own money, or with the financial help of relatives or a big sponsor, they released their albums, the so-called private pressings.

    There were several reasons to do this: to break through, to pay back the costs of their instruments, or just as a memory for the fans. Music has always been my hobby; the idea of writing this book arose when I realised that there was almost nothing in existence and that other record-collectors couldn't read about these bands.

    I decided to fill the gap. Of course there is much more to discover in the world of pop, rock, blues, folk, hard-rock and psychedelic, but maybe this is the first step. Have fun with PRIVATE DUTCH.

    Author: Jean Jöbses

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    It's not that complicated. Bands paid to record their material, got it mastered and artwork done, and went to a record pressing company to have the records made. It started in the 70's but exploded in the 80's with the DIY philosophy sparked by the punk movement.

    There were a couple of companies that did this - names are gone in my fading memory.

    It's surprising, but there was life before the internet.

  4. #4
    I am not an authority on this by any stretch, but as far as l know the 'private pressing' model for LPs in the 70s was not any different than it became with the advent of CDs. The majority of prog artists who released CDs starting in the 90s, like, say, echolyn, would have their own label imprint. Mix and master their recordings, create their own artwork, and contact with a CD manufacturer to produce them.
    Similarly many progressive artists did the same in the LP days. I started my own imprint in the 90s and the first CD l contracted to re-release was an album a band released independently on vinyl in the 70s, and the model was the same for them, except instead of farming it out to as CD manufacturer, it was a vinyl pressing plant.
    With the advent of CDs literally hundreds of re-releases that came out were by bands who independently released their own records on vinyl, and still owned the rights to their recordings.
    Of course this also happened outside of the prog realm but the model is the same. So in the CD era, any band who released their own music could also be classified as 'private pressings'.
    Anyway l think that is what you are asking about, l hope l didn't misinterpret your question.
    Their are probably a hundred musicians on here that do this right now who may have more insight, if the answer should be more complicated.

  5. #5
    ....basically what Taliesin said while l was typing ☺

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    Quote Originally Posted by veteranof1000psychicwars View Post
    ....basically what Taliesin said while l was typing ☺
    I was typing fast after my extra strong coffee this morning .

  7. #7
    make UωU, not war Czyszy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by taliesin View Post
    It's not that complicated. Bands paid to record their material, got it mastered and artwork done, and went to a record pressing company to have the records made. It started in the 70's but exploded in the 80's with the DIY philosophy sparked by the punk movement.

    There were a couple of companies that did this - names are gone in my fading memory.

    It's surprising, but there was life before the internet.
    Yeah. In 70's Communist Poland, these kind of services weren't allowed, so that might also be why this concept is so strange to me.
    NG ~ BC ~ PA
    “Pointing out the problem doesn't make it go away!” —Mr. Enter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Czyszy View Post
    Yeah. In 70's Communist Poland, these kind of services weren't allowed, so that might also be why this concept is so strange to me.
    Makes sense - by the later 70's it was a fairly straightforward process here but probably not so much there .

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    It was common in my surroundings during the 70s and early 80s. The money came from gigs. Cover bands in the tri state area were playing 5 and 6 nights a week year after year.

    Most cover bands then ...recorded their music and scheduled shows to play which presented them as an original band. Most of them were in fact NOT signed to labels.

    In the 70s the money was decent. Either the management would pay for the recording studio or the band members themselves would divide the money. That wouldn't be possible today. At the time drinking age was 18 . Drinking laws did not change until 1980.

    People generally didn't think of cover bands the way that they think of bar bands today. Playing in Rock Clubs that were like Concert Halls was a more serious presentation to people. The idea revolved around presenting cover bands like concert bands. Club owners invested in building a large stage...hiring a in-house sound team and sound system. Lightshow ...and it wasn't unusual for a cover band to travel with a road crew.

    Bands like Witness, Pegasus, Witch, The Dead End Kids, The Heartbreakers, The Good Rats...some were signed to labels...some were not. Some labels were cheap low budget offerings and held no future for the artist. Some bands figured ..why deal with them when their manager could pay for everything. The studio time, the manufacturing/pressing...radio airplay...advertising...however...take into consideration that I am making reference to another lifetime where the rules for playing music were completely different.

  10. #10
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    ^ Thanks for this. I would love to hear bands, managers, label reps, producers, engineers, promoters, all dish recollections as they saw them to be at the time. The time is obviously short, and so much history to be captured. I get legal concerns, but it's late in the game to keep silent over offense or feelings. Would that none of that ever happened, but for some of us, this is important and needs to be regarded as such. Unless the principals don't see it as historically important?

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