What is a Cut-out Cut-outs are records which have been cut or drilled in order to indicate they have been sold at a discount price.
Cut-outs are predominantly a US phenomenon is used mainly by distributors to prevent dealers trying to return discount items for a full refund.
Some labels and even shops have used the same method to prevent returns. It has also occasionally been used to identify promos, which have been given away.
The term Cut-out refers to records which have been marked in a number of ways:
Cut: this is the commonest, a saw cut is made near the corner into the sleeve
Cornered: the corner is cut away diagonally
Drilled: a drill hole is made either near the corner of the sleeve or right through the vinyl (on the label)
History and notes
Cut Outs were most common in the 70s and 80s, the practice has declined, but cut-out CDs from the 90s do turn up.
Some titles were dumped in huge numbers on the US market.
Shops buying cut-outs in had little control over what titles they got, so many music shops avoided them, this meant they surfaced in discount stores Etc.
Most Cut-outs in the UK are US imports, huge numbers were shipped over in the 70s and 80s, often at ridiculously low prices.
The only UK pressed cut-outs I have found evidence of where packs of 12" singles sold off by the HMV chain store in the 1990s.
In the US the cut-out still has a stigma attached to it, and prices may be lower than for an uncut copy, in the UK collectors tend to pay less attention, however those UK records cut by HMV must be considered as damaged.
As a rule go for the uncut copy when you have the option...