Specialty Records Corporation (SRC) was founded in 1946. Warner Bros. Records took over in 1978, but kept the SRC name up until 1996, when they changed it to WEA Mfg., for Warner-Electra-Atlantic. They replicated CDs from September 1986, while DVD replication started when the format was introduced in mid 1996. They also manufactured MC and VHS tapes. Vinyl production was discontinued January 01, 2002, to clear floorspace for their rising DVD replication. The plant was finally sold to Cinram in October 2003.
They manufactured several Nirvana vinyl records in the early 90's, but none have been confirmed to have been pressed after they changed name to WEA Mfg. They may have pressed the 2000 reissue of Bleach. They stamped an "SRC" logo into the lacquers or copper mothers they received, as shown in image 1. In addition, lacquers sent to SRC were often labeled "-SR-1", "-SR-2", etc., after the catalog number in the matrix code, where the numbers indicate the number of lacquers sent to SRC from the mastering studio . It appears they did not have an in-house mastering studio. Most Nirvana records they pressed were cut by Masterdisk, as seen from the matrix codes.
1. Stamped SRC logo
They pressed several discs for Geffen/DGC, both as SRC and Wea Mfg., mostly promotional discs and samplers. Some changes were done to the matrix codes when they changed name to WEA Mfg. First we look at About A Girl (PRO-CD-4688-A) from 1994, when they were still called SRC:
(S) 38 PRO CD 4688-2 RE-1 SRC**01 M0S1
2. About A Girl (PRO-CD-4688-A) matrix code
The "(S)" is the Specialty logo, as seen in image 2. "38" is DGC's client code. Similarly, Sub Pop's client code is "IR". (The three first client codes are their own main labels, Warner/ Reprise, Electra, and Atlantic, respectively.) The catalog number is followed by a "-2" for Compact Disc. "RE-1" means remake 1, which means there was something wrong with the original metalized glass master (MGM) or the image-ready CD-R used to master it.
"SRC**01" means it was the first MGM to be made at Specialty for this release. Often other symbols replaced the stars, I do not know if each symbol has a significance or if it is just random. "M0S1" gives the mother and stamper numbers. "M0" means that no mother was ever made, and the father was directly used as a stamper. Something like for example "M1S5" would mean that it was pressed with the fifth stamper made from the first mother. The mother and stamper numbers stand out from the rest of the matrix code, as they were physically etched into the mothers and stampers.
The original matrix codes in 1987 did not contain the Specialty logo, and the matrix font was similar to Arial. A continuous bar occupied the unwritten area, but this was replaced with a barcode in 1990 or early 1991, with a few early exceptions, such as the In Bloom promo (PRO-CD-4463) from 1992. The Specialty logo was first included in 1993, and at this time the matrix font was also changed to something similar to Courier, like shown in image 2.
SRC aquired their IFPI repertoire in the middle of 1995, as this is when IFPI codes first started to appear on their discs. Releases with the Specialty logo and an IFPI code were then manufactured between mid 1995 and mid 1996, when they changed the name to WEA Mfg.
A few things were changed after they changed name to WEA Mfg. The matrix code below, also shown in image 3, is of Aneurysm (PRO-CD-1033) from 1996:
wea mfg. OLYPHANT ifpiL903 Y8 38 PRO CD 1033-2 01 M0S1
3. Aneurysm (PRO-CD-1033) matrix code
The most obvious change is "wea mfg. OLYPHANT" replacing the Specialty logo. The laser beam recorder (LBR) IFPI is written below the WEA logo, and cannot be seen in image 3. The disc also has a mould IFPI, which is not visible on the scanned image. The MGM number no longer contains SRC, but is now only a number appearing just after the catalog number, in this case "01".
The alphanumeric code which appears before the client code, in this case "Y8", is an internal project number. The letter identifies which LBR was used to master the disc. "Y" corresponds to L903, "X" corresponds to L902, "W" corresponds to L901, and "Z" corresponds to L909. It seems they aquired the "Z" LBR in 2002.
Only one disc has been found with a slightly different matrix code, Hype! (SPCD371), which was released some time in 1996. The MGM number is "OLY@@01", and it still has the Specialty logo. This could have been manufactured during the reorganization. The Drain You promo (PRO-CD-1070) from 1996 has two stamper numbers, one partly covering the other. Most likely "M1S1" was incorrectly etched, and the correct stamper number is "M0S1". Both these examples are shown in image 4.
4. Hype! (SPCD371) and Drain You (PRO-CD-1070) matrix codes