Standard Japanese catalogue numbers (規格品番)

品番 (shinaban for product number) or 規格品番 (kakuhinshinaban for standardised product number).

It can be helpful (or just fun fact) to know that the 3 first letters of the standard Japanese catalogue numbers are meaningful, for instance VICL-60761.

The first two letters are about the company and the third letter is about no less than the medium format! Isn’t that last one great?

Because some editors will follow that code and some won’t, I prefer following what labels are visible on the release itself, for disambiguation purpose, but it’s still fun to know.


What’s the fourth letter? Random? :slight_smile:

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It’s a genre. But it’s up to each company to define what they want for the last letter. :slight_smile:


I wish we could actually use this information in some way. Unfortunately there is currently no way to link e.g. “Victor” to the catalog number “VICL-xxxxx” unless they are actually “the” label for the release. But it’s more usually a subsidiary label.

Well, we could definitely use it in some ways. It’s perfectly possible to do a report on of “releases with catnos that match this scheme where the format doesn’t match the format of the catno”.

This always bothered me. Not with just Japanese releases but with all releases. We don’t have a way to link the catalog number to the record company that it belongs to.

Maybe we can automatically link the record company and catalog number like they do on Discogs.


Hmm. Don’t Discogs just link the label/imprint of the release and the catno, in the same way we do? Do you have an example of what you mean? :slightly_smiling:

BMG Japan, Inc., page 17

Just click on any album, you’ll notice that the company isn’t in the label section but is mentioned as the record company or manufacturer. There may be more fields they associate the catalog number with but I haven’t really looked into it.


Yes, as @221bBS, IMO, we should just assign labels to release and catalogue numbers to mediums or releases.

Then what appears in release page, in label page, etc. is computed (like on discogs).

« IMO catalogue numbers should be attached to release (or better to medium MBS-1735 OR release MBS-5602), not to release-label.
This way when we attach several labels to a release (allowed by design), the catalogue number (only set once) will be shown in all labels. »

From Adding Sublabels & Parent labels as release labels topic (2013-05-13 10:33:11).

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I really like this idea.

It would also be nice if we could simplify labels. Maybe allow us to enter all labels shown and have a drop down field to assign it as primary, parent, distributor, etc People who don’t know anything about labels could just enter the labels on their release, more experience editors can assign the correct category the label belongs to.

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we should just assign labels to release and catalogue numbers to mediums or releases

I think there are situations where it is good to associate a label with the cat no., and situations where it is not. I would definitely like to see it be easier and/or more preferential to assign labels and catnos to releases without connecting them to each other.

I’d also like to be able to attach labels to a catno, without them being “release labels”.

I think that section is closer to what we would do with ARs. As reosarevok said, they do indeed link the label/imprint + catno exactly like we do.

Just one thing to add - a lot of small/independent labels or groups will use catalogue numbers which look similar to the standard Japanese catalogue numbers - 4 letters followed by a number - but aren’t actually following the standard. They generally just pick 4 arbitrary letters which are similar to the label or group name.

So keep in mind that just because a Japanese release has a catalogue number which looks like this, that doesn’t mean it can be interpreted as a standard code.

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I don’t understand why there’s a belief that a Japan catalog number and an imprint don’t go together - it is a fact that record companies/distributors like Victor Entertainment Corp. and Sony Music Marketing Inc. associate something that isn’t the distributor with the catalog number that the distributor has assigned.

Let’s be clear that “Victor” isn’t assigning any catalog numbers (whether of the form VIxx or otherwise) because it is just one of JVCKENWOOD Victor Entertainment Corporation’s imprints. So it’s not accurate to say we’re using a “sub(sidiary) label” of the Victor imprint.

The way that both and present it is that there are no “sublabels” of the “Victor” imprint - the imprints are all siblings of each other on the same level.

Coincidentally, huge retailers like Tower Records Japan have setup their schema the same way - tying an imprint with the catalog number (see the listings of CROWN STONES, e-stretch RECORDS, CROWN VenuS, CROWN GOLD…)

There may be incorrect data in their database, but the point is that it’s pretty standard practice in the Japanese industry to link the imprint and catalog number.

There are also a group of online retailers that don’t even try to support a “label” data schema at all, instead listing things the fields “発売元” (release publisher) and “販売元” (distributor and/or marketer, depending on the release). But that doesn’t mean there’s not a standard out there that is all about the imprint (release label), not the distributor.

Well, seeing as JVC = “Victor Company of Japan” … it really is Victor; but it’s Victor the company not Victor the imprint.

Edit: Correction, it’s “JVC Kenwood Victor Entertainment Corporation”, formerly “Victor Entertainment, Inc.” So at the time these were assigned it was “Victor Entertainment Inc.” that was associated with it. Still the point stands that it’s Victor-the-company-not-Victor-the-imprint.

This search would seem to suggest otherwise; there are quite a lot of different imprints associated with the VI prefix.*&type=release&limit=100&method=advanced

That is exactly what I’m trying to say - it is normal in the Japanese music industry for multiple mutually exclusive imprints (release labels) to share the same first two letters in the catalog number system, and record companies and retailers acknowledge this as my examples of Victor Entertainment, Sony Music Marketing, and Tower Records Japan are supposed to show.

What’s not normal is forcibly trying to divorce the Japanese release label from the Japanese catalog number…

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That would seem to explicitly not be linking the imprint to the catalog number. There is no connection between “VI” and SPEEDSTAR: “VI” means VIctor!