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What is an OBI strip?

What is an OBI strip?

An "Obi strip" refers to a paper strip or band that is commonly found wrapped around the spine or packaging of Japanese releases of records, CDs, and other media. The term "Obi" is derived from the Japanese word for a sash or belt. These strips often serve multiple purposes and have become a distinctive feature of Japanese music releases.

Features of Obi Strips:


  • Obi strips typically include important information about the release, such as the title of the album, the artist's name, the catalog number, and sometimes the price.


  • Obi strips are often designed to complement the overall visual presentation of the release. They may feature artwork, logos, or other elements related to the album.


  • In addition to providing information, Obi strips may include promotional messages, quotes, or accolades praising the artist or the album. This can serve as a marketing tool to attract buyers.

Authenticity and Collectability:

  • The presence of an Obi strip is considered a mark of authenticity for a Japanese release. Collectors often value Obi strips, and the absence of one may impact the perceived completeness, collectability and used value of a release.

Relevance to Vinyl Records and CDs:

  • While Obi strips are more commonly associated with vinyl records, they are also frequently used in Japanese CD releases. The design and placement may vary, but the purpose remains consistent.

History and Origin:

The use of Obi strips in Japan dates back to the mid-20th century. Originally, Obi strips were introduced in the publishing industry, particularly for traditional Japanese books. The practice of using Obi strips extended to the music industry as Japan embraced Western music formats like vinyl records and later CDs.

Many collectors, both in Japan and internationally, actively seek out releases with intact Obi strips. The strips are often considered an integral part of the packaging, contributing to the overall visual appeal and uniqueness of the release. Collectors appreciate the additional information, the aesthetic contribution, and the sense of authenticity that Obi strips bring to the item.

Certain editions of Japanese releases, especially those featuring Obi strips in combination with other collectible elements such as unique cover art, special packaging, or limited editions, can command higher values in the collector's market. As a result, Obi strips have become a sought-after and valued aspect of collecting Japanese music releases.

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