Digital Audio Disc Corporation/ Sony DADC

Terre Haute, IN, and Pitman, NJ, USA

Digital Audio Disc Corporation was the first company to manufacture CDs in USA. It was established in 1983 by Sony and CBS. Production started in Terre Haute on September 21, 1984. Sony bought CBS' part in October 1985, and with their purchase of Columbia Records from CBS in 1988 they took over Columbia Record's Pitman plant, which had pressed vinyl since 1960. CD production in Pitman started the same year, but the plant was shut down on March 31, 2011. [1,2] Sony DADC operates several pressing plants all over the world, but this document currently only focuses on the two US plants. The North American plants were called Digital Audio Disc Corporation up until April 2004, when Sony Disc Manufacturing and Sony DADC unified worldwide production under the name Sony DADC, except in Japan where it is Sony Music Entertainment Japan Ltd [3].

The matrix codes are very simple, and were the same in both the American plants. The only way to tell them apart is by the mould IFPI codes, but the earliest Nirvana releases do not have IFPI codes. Below are some matrix variations of Smells Like Teen Spirit (DGCDS-21673), with the first also shown in image 1 (left):

Smells Like Teen Spirit (DGCDS-21673) matrix variation 1 and Lithium (DGCDM-21815) with stamper number
1. Left: Smells Like Teen Spirit (DGCDS-21673) matrix variation 1; right: Lithium (DGCDM-21815) with stamper number

Sony DADC worldwide matrix codes are easily identified by the series of identical symbols in the matrix codes. From around 1993 the last series was increased from five to eight symbols.

"DIDX-011334" is an internal job number. The four-letter prefix depends on the format, the type of music, and whether the record label is affiliated with Sony or not. The various prefixes are [4]:

Classical recordings released on Sony-affiliated record labels
Popular (i.e., non-classical) recordings released on Sony-affiliated record labels
Recordings pressed by DADC for release on non-Sony-affiliated record labels
Recordings pressed by the US division of DADC for the Columbia House Record Club
Recordings released on WEA Japan, only used from 1983 to 1985
CD-ROM software titles
Single-layer DVDs
Dual-layer DVDs
Single-layer Blu-ray Discs
Dual-layer Blu-ray Discs
DVD-ROM software titles
PlayStation titles
PlayStation 2 CD-ROM titles
PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM titles
PlayStation 2 DVD-ROM Dual-layer titles
PlayStation Portable UMD Single-layer titles
PlayStation Portable UMD Dual-layer titles
PlayStation 3 Blu-ray Disc Single-layer titles
PlayStation 3 Blu-ray Disc Dual-layer titles

The following number shows how many times the recording has been mastered. It is then fair to assume that Smells Like Teen Spirit CDs with the matrix code "DIDX-011334 3" also exist. The number may or may not give the pressing number. Several metalized glass masters (MGM) could have been created simultaneously for quicker processing and production, but a low number increases the possiblilty of being an earlier pressing.

The earliest DADC disc I have found to contain a laser beam recorder (LBR) IFPI is a promo sampler made in 1995, and the earliest confirmed disc I have found with a mould IFPI was another promo sampler made in 1996. Two mould IFPI codes have been found on discs manufactured by the Terre Haute plant, IFPI 50** and 51**. So far this is the only known case where a pressing plant had two mould IFPI repertoires. It seems however that IFPI 50** is no longer in use.

Most discs I have seen contain no stamper numbers. The disc shown in image 1 (right), a Lithium (DGCDM-21815) reissue made in 1995 at the earliest, determined by the presence of IFPI codes, contains a mechanically etched part, "A01", which seems to be the stamper number. Perhaps it identifies stamper 01 made from mother A. The Austrian Sony DADC plant uses the same system, for example "A5" and "C3", which further indicates that the letters count the mothers while the numbers count the stampers.

IFPI codes

50, 51