To verify matrix series I checked three labels: Pathe from 1919‑1923, Gennett in the 1920s, and ARC in the late 1920s and early 1930s.There are no recording ledgers surviving for Pathe, so a comparison was made with Brian Rust’s standard discographies, which have been indexed by matrix number in a running listing in its relatively wide circulation, and the use that will be made of it as a primary source for other work, this review has gone into some detail on its pluses and minuses.
Additionally, the follows major numerical series of its listed labels beyond 1942.
For example, Victor’s principal pop catalog series of the 1940s, the 20‑1500’s, is followed to 1959, a helpful feature.
It should be noted that the 2000’s were skipped, so 1905 is off by 164, not 1164.
From 1905‑1909 the “primary” column reflects supplement dates (which is what the seems to have used); beginning in 1910 Columbia supplements explicitly stated that records would be placed on sale at the end of the preceding month, so “primary” reflects the placed‑on‑sale date.
New issues starting at A590 were announced monthly beginning in November, 1908, so “A250” for the beginning of 1909 is clearly in error.
Victor supplements of the early 1920s carried a notice that all records listed would be placed on sale on the first of that month, although later on advance‑release specials became more prevalent.The author never explains exactly what he means by his dates, or even by the term “released.” Do “January” and “June” mean the first of the month? For labels with heavy release schedules, this can make a considerable numerical difference. The difference is not always minor, as labels sometimes gathered together past releases into supplements which were then dated with deceptive precision.Columbia in the teens included in its supplements an explicit statement that the records listed therein would be placed on sale on the 24th or 25th of the month; the Victor files reveal that records listed in a given supplement were sometimes released for sale one to several months previously, in some cases regionally or as “specials.” While this sort of detail may not be of consequence to the casual user, greater precision as to terms would be helpful to the advanced researcher (and for those who wish to become one! The author is disarmingly candid about the limitations of his work (note the book’s title), and points out on that the charts provide approximate dates only.At one point, in 1923‑1924, the label even issued weekly supplements, making precise dating easy.The was checked against primary sources for Victor’s principal popular series (18000s‑21000s) for January of each year from 1920 to 1929. At the back are a variety of appendices, including an 18‑page guide to label designs (all text, no illustrations), comments on early electrical recordings, labels which leased matrices to other labels, discographical resources and an annotated bibliography.