No Barcode: A Greece-y Release?

Article by Derek Miller

Very few Grecian Smashing Pumpkins items have ever been officially released by Virgin.  However, Virgin Greece (the Virgin Records label in Greece) has been producing its own releases since at least the 1990s.  We only know this because of a few rare Grecian vinyls that have been acquired by collectors throughout the years.  Virgin Greece ceases to exist today, because in 2001 EMI Minos (EMI’s own Grecian record label), consolidated Virgin Greece and discontinued the use of the Virgin brand name.

So what Smashing Pumpkins releases came out of Greece during Virgin’s tenure?  As stated previously, not much.  The only known releases have been:

A)     Compilations  (a grouping of various songs from various artists) and,

B)      Mostly produced on vinyl

It is unclear why Virgin Greece pressed vinyl in addition to CDs.  Typically, pressing one or both platforms is costly (especially the vinyl product).  Nevertheless, they exist and are pretty elusive, even in today’s macro network of information exchange and data searches.

One of the most noticeable aspects to the Virgin Greece releases is that they do not contain barcodes.  The absence of such should raise a collector’s eyebrow.  If there is no barcode, a collector may presume two things:  they are bootlegs; or, they are promos of some sort.  SPfreaks has determined neither presumption is correct.  All releases produced and manufactured by Virgin Greece are official in nature.  Barcodes were not widely used in Greece in the past, and the tradition of their omission carried forward into the 1990s.  This makes all Grecian releases true commercial compilations – or does it?

The only way to distinguish a promotional copy from a commercial copy, so far, is by locating small stickers located on the release.  One such case, presented below, shows an example of one of these stickers.  The translation is roughly Sample Free (Catalogue Number).  In other words, Free Sample, which is another way of saying promotional.  Promos were often produced and provided this way in Greece – a commercial release is stickered and then distributed to radio stations and journalists alike.

To compare one release that shows all three forms (CD, commercial vinyl, and promotional vinyl), have a look below.

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