Issued for worldwide sale by a major international label, such as EMI, HMV, Decca, Harmonia Mundi, Warner and Argo.
The Archive has recordings from defunct and current labels and continues to add the latest new releases to the collection.
Whether on 78s, LP or CDs, these represent some of the rarest recordings in the Archive. Only a limited number would be pressed and in some instances, just one or two copies
Test pressings of 4 or 5 copies were underaken in all recording formats allowing an evaluation by the record company and Director of Music as to whether it should be rejected, re-recorded or released.
Issued mainly for UK sale from labels, current and defunct, who specialise in church and organ music recordings such as Priory, Regent, Herald, Lammas and Abbey.
These were produced from the 1930s onwards for overseas radio stations and were recorded directly onto 78s or LPs from the on-air BBC broadcast.
About 100 copies of each disc were pressed with instructions to destroy after broadcasing. Fortunately, many were not and the Archive has a substantial collection of these historical gems - such as the only recording of Worcester Cathedral under Willcocks.
Over the decades, there have been many hundreds of small labels, often a one-man-band, who produced choir recordings mainly for sale in the local area.
Many of these labels, such as Sound News, offered the facility to press copies of 78s and LPs from the choirs own reel-to-reel tapes.
'One-off' private recordings
Over the years, many commerical videos and DVDs have been issued of services, concerts, choral works, documentaries and TV & film dramas.
Recorded either by the choirmaster or an enthusiastic amateur on tape or the modern equivalent, these recordings are often the only sound legacy of a particular choir or solo chorister.
The Archive has a vast collection of these 'one-offs' and they represent some of the greatest recorded gems in the collection.