Vinyl records are an analog sound carrier made of polyvinyl chloride, consisting of a flat disk with a modulated spiral groove, which usually starts around the perimeter and ends near the center of the disk. The history of vinyl records often begins with Emil Berliner, who invented additional records in 1888. However, the popularity of vinyl recordings as a sound carrier began around 1918, when patents for the production of side discs expired, which open the ground for countless companies to produce them.
Early disc recordings were produced at different speeds from 60 to 120 rpm and with different sizes — first, around 1925. The speed of vinyl recordings wasstandardized at 78 rpm. You can learn more about that on Turntable.guide. However, for several years the difference between America and the rest of the world remained. In America, vinyl records played at 78.26 rpm, and around the world – 77.92 rpm.
Early recording formats typically have a diameter of seven centimeters. Until 1910, recording 10 inches (25.4 cm) was by far the most popular standard, on the side of about three minutes of music or entertainment. Since 1903, 12-inch CDs, mostly classical or opera music, have been sold for four to five minutes of music per page. The obvious solution for longer records was to release a set of records. The full recording of the work in HMV format, by Hernani Verdi, is known on 40 single-sided discs in 1903.
In 1930, RCA Victor launched the first long-playing time vinyl on the market, sold as the Transcription Program. These revolutionary discs were designed for playback at 33 rpm and pressed against a flexible plastic disc with a diameter of 30 cm, but at that time did not have commercial success.
Since 1939, Columbia Records has been working to solve the problems associated with narrow groove recording and playback and developing an affordable and reliable playback system for consumers. In 1948, Columbia introduced the 12-inch (30 cm) album Long Play (LP) 33S rpm, and in February 1949, RCA Victor released the first single with 45 rpm with a diameter of 7 inches.
Therefore, at that time, labels such as Colombia and RCA Victor also competed in formats. At first, in the mid-1950s, all labels agreed on a common recording standard called the RIAA equalizer. Before setting the standard, each company used its preferred standard, offering discerning listeners the use of preamplifiers with several selectable correction curves.
In subsequent years, 12-inch LPs, 10-inch EPs, and 7-inch singles played at 33 1/2 and 45 were standardized, and the work was modified to improve the sound quality of the recordings. Vinyl records remained the most popular audio format until the 1980s when they were replaced by CDs. Nevertheless, as the preferred format for audiophiles and connoisseurs, it has remained accessible and has recently returned significantly with higher sales at a time when overall sales of music in the form of physical products are declining.
Because CDs were easily removable in mp3 format, people became better connected to the Internet, and new file-sharing services were developed that bought music and gradually ceased to be a necessity for more experienced music lovers. It did not take much time until any desired music could be downloaded for free. So, when the content suddenly became available for free, why did people buy CDs? Well, of course, there is a moral question, but otherwise, the CD format does not offer any added value that will convince many people to pay.
Since digital music has become more convenient to use on the Internet, and we live in a world where streaming music is the most convenient option, it has become even more relevant. It also happens that the CD format has become a locked format in the middle. There is no flexibility in streaming and the large physical properties of the vinyl format. Vinyl records and streaming are ideally negatively correlated and, therefore, perfectly compatible. While streaming provides exceptional convenience, on the one hand, vinyl, on the other hand, provides the highest physical quality and is, in itself, a work of art.