Record dealers usually leave them on. They at least prove the record has been well-protected snug in their poly-lined interiors. They’re good to buy records in, but when I get the record home I usually replace them with a genuine old sleeve of the right era, or a replica sleeve (see replica sleeves).
They came with different colour side strips so that consumers and DJs could categorize the stock of discs … ballads, rockers, instrumental groups and so on. Radio stations and DJs in clubs almost always used them. Radio companies sometimes had their own sleeves, but many had a sticker on a card sleeve.
I was once interviewed by a local radio DJ (now major BBC presenter) who confided a total dislike of the records she put on between the chatter, ‘I don’t like music. Any music.’ She actually had to place them on the turntable herself in those days, and put on the B-side of a top ten hit by mistake. Not so bad, but she didn’t notice.
One of the many inconsistencies in the pirate radio comedy film The Boat That Rocked is the singles at the radio station are not only in company sleeves, but in clean ones, probably replicas.
A radio station would have kept them in plastic lined card sleeves, like the ones illustrated here or custom sleeves for the station. They frequently turn up with radio station stamps on them.
This is an example of a cardboard sleeve used domestically. It is poly-lined, has a retailer stamp on from Norwich, and has room inside the card sleeve to accept the original Capitol company sleeve. The title’s written on the sleeve, with the date of purchase, 15 November 1958, which was the Saturday immediately following release. The company sleeve is numbered, 14937, the same as the disc. This means these three components have always been together. Pity it’s not a more valuable record.