Vinyl - 7" / 12" / LP
The regular 7"-release comes in a square (7"x7") thick paper or thin card `wallet style' picture sleeve which opens at the top or side. The Japanese 7"-releases tend to come in a blue and white Warner Brothers paper sleeve with a 7"x7" picture insert taking the place of the picture sleeve. Limited edition or promo items sometimes come in different styles of packaging. The "gatefold sleeve" is like a regular 7" sleeve but with an extra flap on the front so its size is 7"x14" when opened. Sometimes the front cover of the gatefold-sleeve will have the same picture sleeve as the regular 7" (e.g. Take On Me third release cartoon booklet), other times it may be completely unique (e.g. The living Daylights limited 7"). Sometimes the sleeves are "tri-fold" with double length flaps so when opened they measure 7"x21" (e.g. Cry Wolf limited fold-out picture bag). Other times the sleeve of the 7" may be a poster which itself has been folded to form the sleeve of the 7" (e.g. Manhattan Skyline limited 7"). Other limited 7"-editions may come with free merchandise. In the case of "The Blood That Moves The Body" the 7" record came in a cardboard `slim-line-type' box with front cover similar to the regular release including postcards. "Early Morning" came in a thicker box including a laminated tour pass in addition to postcards and the actual records. The two a-ha 7" picture discs are both shaped making them larger than regular 7" discs and come in 10" square clear PVC sleeves with stickers. 7" flexi discs are novelty items which are made of very thin plastic and are often one sided. The sound quality on these flexi discs is usually of quite poor standard.
The regular 12"-releases come in 12"x12" card picture sleeves which usually open at the top. Sometimes you can find releases in 12"-sized sleeves of stiffer cardboard which open at the side. The records often come inside thin PVC inner sleeves. The 12" picture discs usually come in 12" square clear PVC wallet sleeves with a "(Special) Limited Edition Picture Disc" sticker in the top right corner.
LPs usually come in the stronger 12"x12" spined wallet style picture sleeves which open at the side. The actual records are usually placed inside an inner paper or plastic sleeve. More often than not the paper inner sleeves will have pictures, additional information and often the song lyrics printed on them. Sometimes LP sleeves can be folded out and may hold two LPs.
Cassettes - singles / albums
Most cassette singles come in regular 7cm x 11cm all clear or clear and black plastic boxes. Usually the picture inserts are more or less the same as the regular sleeve but obviously scaled down to fit the shape of the box. With the exception of "Crying In The Rain", which is 10cm x 11cm when folded out, all UK cassette singles have an extra flap on the inside which opens but is only printed on one side. Other cassette singles may come in 7cm x 11 cm cardboard sleeves which are open at both ends and the cassette slides in (e.g. Lie Down In Darkness USA cassette single). The actual cassettes vary from being clear with white text to black with white text.
The cassette albums again come in the regular plastic boxes much the same as the cassette singles. Often the insert of the cassette will fold out with the lyrics or additional information and pictures of the band. The cassettes are usually clear with white text or white with black or coloured text. In some countries like Indonesia they issue `video-style' cassette cases which are a little bit bigger than regular cassette cases and usually made from black plastic. They look and open much the same as video cases, hence the term `video-style'.
CDs - Singles /albums
CD singles usually come in 5"x5" slim-line "jewel" cases (clear plastic cases) which have paper inserts with spines but no back insert. Sometimes CD singles come in the `album-style' CD cases which have an insert or booklet which slides in the front and back insert underneath the CD tray (e.g. Shapes That Go Together limited CD). Other sorts of CD cases include "digi-paks" which have cardboard covers (front and back) with a plastic CD trays inside. The front cover is the front flap of the case. Sometimes the "digi-paks" are "tri-fold" and have space to hold two CDs with one CD tray on each side. CD singles can also be found in "wallet" style card board sleeves (e.g. Dark Is The Night UK CD single part 2). The 3" European CD singles usually come in 5" jewel cases together with a white or black 5" plastic adapter. The Japanese 3" CD singles come in "snap packs"; they are 3" by 6" thin card board sleeves (front & back) with a 3" plastic tray inside. They are designed to fold in half so that the front sleeve makes up the front and back cover.
CD albums usually come in standard CD cases with plastic trays. They have space in the front for a sleeve insert or booklet and the back of the CD also has an insert which fits underneath the tray. Sometimes the CD tray is clear and there is an extra printed sleeve underneath which can be seen through the tray. On the odd occasion CD albums come in `digi-pak' sleeves similar to those of CD-singles. In the USA some CD albums come in a CD `long-box'. This is a long thin slim-line cardboard picture sleeve which is approximately 5"x10" in size. Half of the box is usually `wasted space' while the other half holds the regular CD album.
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