From the earliest days of radio broadcasting many record companies would create what are referred to in the industry as, “DJ only”, “Promo Only” vinyl records. These records were never intended to be released for sale to the public and were only available to radio stations for airplay. The labels on these records are marked accordingly and often display the words “Not For Sale” on them.
Although thousands of radio stations exist in the U.S.A. there are many different formats related to what content they broadcast. Some radio stations are talk radio and do not play music at all. In reality the number of actual radio stations that broadcast a particular musical format are considered to be somewhat limited as well. Because of the limited radio formats this also had a direct effect on the actual number of “radio only” or “D.J only” vinyl promo records that were pressed by the record companies. These these “limited” radio only pressings, or copies, are considered rare and collectible by most record collectors worldwide and even more so now that vinyl records are a thing of the past in the digital age vuori promo codes.
Many times record companies would produce these limited “not for sale” radio station pressings to test different mixes for airplay or offer a shorter version of a song for airplay than that to be released on the actual 45 or album version. Radio stations rarely would give airplay to a song that was even close to 4 minutes long even in the mid nineteen sixties. An interesting example of how a record company used a “radio station only promo record” to gain airplay is from the recording “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers. The song shot to the charts and became a number one hit in 1965 but was assisted by the fact that their record label purposely misrepresented the actual length of the song. The “D.J only” or promo copy of the recording actually ran the full 3:45 however the label was printed to read 3:05 because of radios resistance to play song of such length.
The Righteous Brothers example of the use of promo recordings is an “exception” and certainly not the normal as to why record companies released limited radio versions but it is certainly one of the most well known in music history. It’s unknown exactly how many “promo records” were created by record companies but it would depend on the popularity of the artist as well as the amount of airplay a record would get. If a song got a lot of airplay more “promo/radio” copies of a song would need to be pressed. One reason was to maintain the on-air sound quality of the recording because of what was known in radio as “cue burn”.
Because vinyl records eventually degrade in sound quality the more they are played radio copies, of songs with heavy airplay, would eventually leave or create the sound referred to as cue burn. This happened because D.J’s would cue the record up to the actual sound or start of a record each time the record was placed on the turntable. In doing so the turntable needle would eventually leave this “cue burn” which is actually the sound of static or like a scratch.
Record collectors, especially of a particular popular artist, take special interested in these “D.J. Only”, “Not For Sale” radio rarities of the past due to the limited amount of copies ever pressed by record companies. Taking into consideration that vinyl records are no longer produced or marketed to the masses, AND the fact that most radio stations simply threw away their promo records once they became obsolete, it makes it easier to understand why these vinyl records are sought after by record collectors across the world.