"Playback" was an interesting "experimental" project initiated by Columbia/Epic Records in the early ‘70s as an attempt to draw feedback from the US record buying public on the label’s lesser-known acts, and thus fathoming what artists were potentially worth a more widespread promotional boost. Advertised via the inner sleeves of various popular CBS albums at the time, the “Playback” club could be joined for a $ 3 fee, which covered the subscription of at least ten 7-inch singles/EP’s featuring newly-released (or, in some cases, even unreleased) tracks. These discs were shipped with info booklets and special questionnaires on the music contained, to be filled out and returned to the label by the subscribers.
After issuing around two dozen or so releases, Columbia eventually decided to fold the project sometime in 1974; presumably due to insufficient feedback. Apart from Bruce Springsteen, artists introduced to punters through the “Playback” series included Jeff Beck, The Blue Öyster Cult, Bob Dylan (!), Iggy & The Stooges, Loggins & Messina, Mott The Hoople, R.E.O. Speedwagon, Sweathog, The Tree Movement and Edgar Winter’s White Trash (to name but a few)...now, whatever happened to Andy Pratt??