Vigotone CDs vs. CDRs
There is quite a bit of confusion as to which titles Vigotone released on CD and which titles they released on CDR. I hope this page will clear up the mystery.
Vigotone made CD versions of all their releases up until 1996 (this also includes Spank, Madman, Pegboy, and the other sub-labels). These CD versions have "Made in Australia" printed on the labels, and most of the later titles had their labels laminated onto the disks.
Starting in 1997, Vigotone began using CDRs for their releases.
After Vigotone made the switch to CDRs they began to re-issue their older titles in this format. Most of their releases that were on the market by the time they went out of business in 2001 were in the CDR format. These CDR versions of their earlier titles come in the same packaging as the CD versions. The only difference is the CDR itself. The content of the CDRs is identical to the CD versions, but it's been discovered that at least one title (Wildcat!) has been "shortened" (possibly due to technical problems?) in the process. (The last track of "Wildcat!" ends abruptly on CDR - about four minutes before the end of the CD version.)
The CDRs that Vigotone seemed to favor were "Mitsui" or "Mitsui Gold" (the gold CDRs were used for Vigotone's initial 1997 CDR releases). Some titles were released on other brands as well. (My copy of "The N.M.E. Poll Winners' Concert" is a gold Kodak CDR.) These disks have the title's name merely stenciled onto the disk and look pretty amateurish. (But the overall packaging of Vigotone releases makes up for this!)
Some of Vigotone's CDR releases look like regular silver CDs. These have printed artwork on the disk and could be confused with regular CDs. They can be told from a real CD by looking for the matrix number stamped into the disk itself. (All real CDs have a matrix number, but CDRs don't.) The backs of these are silver, not the usual green of regular CDRs. I refer to this format as "silver CDR".
In 2000, with the release of "Thirty Days", Vigotone started making CDs again (in limited quantities - for the Japanese market where CDRs are not popular). All Vigotone releases (including Spank and Reproman) made after "Thirty Days" were also sold in Japan as CDs. These releases feature authentic Vigotone packaging and are much more popular than the "standard" CDR versions that were released in the USA. (These are not to be confused with the blatant Vigotone knockoffs that started to crop up soon after Vigotone was shut down!)
Why did Vigotone switch to CDRs? Well, it was probably to make it more difficult for the authorities to figure out what they were up to, as it's easier to find a CD pressing plant than someone making CDRs in their cellar! Also, some of Vigotone's CDs seem to have had crummy quality control. The CD version of "Get Back Journals II" was prone to having the disks self-destruct, due to the white labels that were laminated onto them. Other people have reported trouble with the disks in the "Voodoo Brew" collection, saying the aluminum oxidized and have since made the disks unlistenable.
The big question people seem to have now is: which format is better to have? Well, of course a CD is more desirable than a CDR, but since Vigotone is no more, either format is good to have - as long as it's an original Vigotone release. All of the 1997 to 2001 releases were only available as CDRs (excepting the CDs made for Japan in 2000 & 2001). 1997 to 2001 were the best years for Vigotone, so most of the best titles the company released were CDR only.
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