The first long-playing records, known as LPs, were produced by Columbia Records in 1948. They were 10 to 12 inches (25 to 31 cm) in diameter, played at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, and they became a staple for the audiophiles of the 1960s and 1970s. However, their market share began to dip when eight-tracks and cassette tapes hit the market, and their popularity plummeted further when compact discs became popular. In 1989, Sony Music stopped making vinyl records altogether. Today, however, vinyl record sales are skyrocketing. They’re so popular that Sony plans to start pressing vinyl in 2018, for the first time in over 28 years.
Getting your groove on, again:
- Vinyl record sales could account for up to 18 percent of all physical music revenue in 2017, roughly $5 billion USD by industry estimates. Turntables and vinyl-related accessories are also in demand.
- Digital recordings tend to flatten the dynamic range of music heard on analog, often expressed by aficionados as dampening the highs and lows of a sound more prevalent in vinyl’s grooves.
- “Vinyl has always offered a more intimate experience,” writes Gizmodo’s Mario Aguilar. “There’s something wonderfully interactive about putting on a record, listening to a side, and then flipping it over to hear the other side.”