As I promised,here is the post where I will try to explain the differences between original CDs and bootlegs.
Firstly,please have in mind that everything that I will write is based to my personal experience.That means that I am refering to Greek bootlegs,because I am Greek.I have heard that there are also Russian and German bootlegs but I don't know the differences.It is very possible that they are the same.Greek bootlegs are made by original Greek CD factories (of course without having the rights and they are illegal) to my knowledge.It's a certain person that runs the whole bussiness and he just gives a prototype CD to the factory and the factory makes him many copies at a small cost.That means that the CDs are not totally crap (speaking about quality) like CD-Rs and burned CDs,but they are not as good as the original CDs of course.Most of bootlegs are hard to find CDs and in low prices,so they can attract the interest of collectors or individuals that don't want to spend a lot of money to buy a certain CD or they see these CDs as special and one-in-a-million oportunities.These bootlegs are also being sold in stores that sell only rock and metal CDs in Athens.Of course the owners of these stores will never inform you about these CDs and they will sell these at the prices of an original CD (sad but true-that's how the market works:You buy this crap for 3 or 5 Euros,and you sell it at the price of 10,15,20 or even 25 Euros).As you can see,and most of you already know,the crime is well-orginized...
The most common,basic and maybe the best way to see if a CD is bootleg is to see it's matrix code.The matrix code is a line of numbers and a few letters on the inner ring at the back of the CD.I must also inform you about the catalogue number:it's also a line of numbers and letters that are written at the side of backinsert of a CD,and you can see it at the side of the jewel case.I hope that you understand what I mean...So,the original CDs usually have as matrix code their catalogue number (there are some exceptions,such as some japanese CDs) followed by some numbers or letters or even both numbers or letters (sometimes,even small barcodes-some japanese pressings).Bootlegs have the same matrix and catalogue numbers,or more possibly they have as matrix code the name of the band's CD or the name of the certain album.I will explain it better by using examples and photos (when someone will finally show me how to upload and post them).
General Example (I first make the analysis with a general,simple example,because the examples that I will write later may confuse you a bit)
Band:Fuckers of bootlegers-Album:bootlegers suck our dicks
b.Matrix number:"BSOD-69" or "bootlegers suck our dicks"
b.Matrix number:BSOD-69 AO1 (if it is a japanese CD,it may have a small barcode after the matrix code)
Some examples from CDs I own
A.Lion-Dangerous Attraction (japanese version-I have the bootleged 1st press and the original special edition reissue-have in mind that catalogue numbers are different in different issues of the same CD)
b.Matrix number:PCCY-00542 3,followed by a small barcode
B.Heavens Edge-Heavens Edge (Bootleged European press and original japanese press)
a.Catalogue number:466816 2
b.Matrix number:Heavens Edge (!)
a.Catalogue number:CSCS 5183
b.Matrix number:DP-3807 1 followed by barcode (the japanese exceptions I was talking about-a european or american CD could have this matrix:CSCS 5183 1 or CSCS 5183 RTS 13)
C.Lionheart-Hot Tonight (japanese version bootleg and original)
b.Matrix number:DPA-1788 1 followed by barcode (japanese exception)
D.Treat-scratch and bite CD (japanese version-I have the bootleged 1st press and the original reissue)
b.Matrix number:824 353-2- 2F V (another exception:some japanese pressings issued with a matrix code which is the european's version catalogue number followed by some numbers and letters)
E.Lillian Axe-Lillian Axe (japanese version bootleg and original)
b.Matrix number:MVCM-21061-1- 2M V
I hope that you understand what I mean at this point.
Another way to understand if a CD is bootleg is too see very carefully the colour of booklets and inserts (also obi,if you have a japanese version).The colouris darker or lighter than the original.You can see also the CDs:letters,numbers and everything that is printed on the CD usually fades,because the quality isn't good.You can also check the inner (silver usually) ring of the CD:Bootleged CDs have a bigger (more often-Lion,Treat,Heavens Edge,Lillian Axe CDs) or smaller (not so often-Lionheart CD) ring than the original CD.The bad thing with this method is that you need to have seen already the original CD and you know its characteristics,so you can make the comparison with the CD that you suspect that is a bootleg.
I don't know if the bootlegers have upgrade their methods,because I haven't bought a bootleg since 2007 (when I finally understood what happened).Even in case they can now reproduce a right matrix code,I am quite sure that the low quality of CDs will expose them.Everything on a bootleg CD fades:numbers.letters even the silver backside of the CD.
Instructions to ebay users:
1.If you are not sure if the CD you want is original or bootleg,check the seller's feedback.Don't get fooled by his almost perfect feedback rate:most of ebay users don't know what's going on with bootlegs-these CDs are almost like the original as I said and people leave positive feedabck.Check the page where is shown what he has sell recently.A normal seller cannot have 10 copies of Lion's Dangerous Attraction CD (for example-the truth is that this bootleg is very profitable.It is sold at the average price of 25$).
2.If the item you are looking for is very rare,look also at the price:Unusual low price usually (but not always of course) is associated with bootleg,because the serious collectors that are after certain rare titles can understand that a CD is bootleg and they stay away from it (so the price remains low-when I use the word "low" I don't necessary mean a price of 5 or 10 dollars.For example a price of 25 or 30 dollars is low for the Lion's Dangerous Attraction CD,if you think that the original is sold for 50,60 or maybe 70 dollars).
I had seen some Greek bootlegers on ebay:Vilainshadows and Last empire were some of them.However,they usually change IDs.Just keep your eyes open and try to inform any collector you know about these bastards.
I hope that the information that I shared with you are enough to help you understand and discriminate between bootleg and original CDs.Please try to keep away from these dickheads,so we can save our love:music and CD collections.I was fooled a few times in the past,and I wasted money to buy these pieces of shit.
Best wishes from a 21 years old music lover and CD collector from Greece.
(Please forgive me for any mistakes.It is too difficult to write and speak using a foreign language.I tried to be as precise as I can).