Reissues »  [SOLVED] Helloween - Helloween (EP) Valentine Sound Production Reissue
I saw a few copies of a reissue of this legendary EP by this malaysian label, is it a bootleg?
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Unofficial/pirated pressing, according to https://www.discogs.com/Helloween-Hello ... e/11933655
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Oh, sorry, I said about a CD reissue from 2017
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actually is not pirated - at least, not for the malaysian conception of "pirated / bootleg".

Why? Well, let me tell you a story...

NSR (New Southern Records) which was one of the 3-4 major music companies in Malaysia (togegher with Life Records / Hup Hup and Suria Records, starting its activity in 1974) owned the copyright and license of the old, glorious VSP / Valentine Sound Production and re-released some of the tapes they put out in the 90's on CD from 2015 to 2017

The problem is that - at the time, so back in the late 80's - VSP / Valentine Sound put out hundreds and hundreds of albums on tape, mostly foreign bands and a handful of local bands (Cromok, Sil Khannaz, Suffercation and others) and it's not clear if VSP ever signed some deal with most of bands / licensing & original labels. It's quite sure that they did sign a regular deal at least with Xtreem Music almost at the end of the "metal production" in 1994-1996 (they kept for a couple years more releasing only eurodance/techno/reggae tapes) so all the VSP releases with bands in the Xtreeem Music rooster are technically official and licensed by the spanish label for a south-eastern asian distribution.

When New Southern Records acquired the material from Joe Siva (the founder and boss of Valentine Sound) in 2015, they just signed a contract with VSP and never cared to investigate wether that material was legit or not, i.e. they never cared to get in touch with the original labels and bands. But, technically, buying license and copyright from VSP is perfectly legit according to the malaysian laws.

Joe Siva was a sort of pioneer in developing heavy metal culture in Malaysia... there were already several unofficial tape labels back in the 80's (Footprints, Buddha, Fare Musical Productions, Music Star, GMR, Harrod and - above all - the mythical Apache) who released thousand of tapes of all generes, including several heavy metal / hard rock bands from all over the world. Of course they were all bootleg and not legit

Joe Siva founded VSP / Valentine Sound in 1987. He was a DJ into disco music and his trademark was big black moustaches and a black baseball cap, a nice guy according to everybody who knew him. He started to get in touch with music shops from all over the world and writing to european and american labels to order original vinyls and tapes.
Then he started to copy them on pro-printed tapes with additional folded poster included: for those years his releases were much ahead of its times and really well done. Most of times he alterated the tracklist moving some songs from Side A to Side B....
In the beginning he was releasing eurodance and disco music only, then around 1988 he started to release also hard rock and heavy metal: his proposal got so much success that in 1989 he started a dedicated line for metal music only (numbered from NE 001 to NE 371, while most of the releases taken from Noise Records kept their original catalogue number N-xxx) while - at the same time - keeping releasing more eurodance/disco music with the original catalogue number system

People say that european and american labels were quite aware of his activity and production and some bands never complained about it. Others, instead, did complain.

In 1996 he ceased productions in heavy metal and went back to his first love: disco music, techno, special DJ mixes and reggae music and so he went on until 1997 when VSP ceased as a proper music label and he just started to license his brand/logo to several other well established malaysian music companies, including NSR / New Southern Records (who re-released on CD most of its disco/dance albums previously released on tape only)

The full metal catalogue was then licensed to VMP (Valentine Music Production, which just took a similar name from VSP) based in Singapore, a sort of side label of Pony Canyon Singapore / Mojo Records Singapore and several other subsidiary labels with exclusive production for Singapore

It is said also that he licensed most of his metal releases on VSP to a lot of indonesian bootleg labels such as King Record's.... the truth is that King Record's (as well as similar other indonesian labels) just put their hand on his production to re-release them locally without any authorization (bootleg of bootlegs?) because malaysian albums were (and still are, theorically) forbidden for sale in Indonesia and indonesian-made productions are not allowed for sale in Malaysia (they must be forcedly licensed to malaysian labels to be sold and released in Malaysia)....

Anyway.... as a licensing brand, VSP survived the late 90's and the first decade of 2000.... around 2014-2'15 (can't remember well, exactly) NSR / New Southern Records decided to re-release on CD also the back metal catalogue of Valentine Sound, starting with big international names (Sodom, Kreator, Napalm Death, Carcass, Rotting Christ, Helloween, Ouija, Cradle of Filth) and also reissuing local bands (Sil Khannaz, Suffercation, Senseless... even if in the same times these bands already provided to re-release through other independent label the same albums, often with additional bonus tracks)

Joe Siva died in April 2016 and NSR - as well as Life Record, another big local major - ceased activity in December 2017 (I was by the local warehouse/distributor in Kuala Lumpur the same day that NSR announced to cease activity at the end of the year) so these CD reissues didn't go further....

There are many different opinions about the tape version released by VSP / Valentine Sound between 1988 and 1996 (some bands accept and allow them, others claim they are unofficial, Xtreem Records signed a deal with Valentine Sound, so at least those releases are official) so I can not express an opinion as it may vary from case to case.

As for the CD reissues made by NSR / New Southern Records between 2015-2017.... well, according to the malaysian laws they are official as the whole material and license were regularly purchased from Joe Siva / Valentine Sound.... so, technically they are not considered bootleg in Malaysia as there was a written deal between NSR and VSP. Then, outside the country, it's another story.... and they are generally considered bootlegs / unofficial (which is true, if you see it from an outside Malaysia point of view)... so, yes, they are considered as bootleg outside Malaysia but perfectly legit inside Malaysia and regularly sold and distributed (well, no more as since NSR ceased activity, some titles went out of stock and really hard to find)

I am gathering material and information about VSP / Valentine Sound to write a book sooner or later...
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