The vinyl record is a kind of gramophone record which was very popular from 1950s to the 1990s. It was mostly used for mass production of music. A vinyl gramophone is made of a disc of polyvinyl chloride plastic; that is engraved on both sides with a single concentric spiral groove. There is a diamond or sapphire needle or stylus that was used to run from the outside edge towards the middle. The use of gramophone slowly declined due to the invention of cassettes and CDs. But people are still fascinated about this ancient record and have them in their collection. Here are some very interesting facts about vinyl recordings.
- Vinyl recordings have been around for a very long time. It can be traced back to the early 19th century in France. A man named Emile Berliner invented the flat disc record in 1888. It was produced from vulcanized rubber of about 12.5 cm – 18 cm thick. The format of the disc improved with time. It went through a number of transformations in both the materials used and the recording methods.
- A Japanese company has come up with a turntable that will help in keeping the vinyl in best condition. There are three versions of it. You will need to spend at least $14,000 for the base model.
- Urban Outfitters is not the best vinyl album retailer. Amazon is at present the best retailer of vinyl sales according to Billboard. It has about 12.3% market share. Urban Outfitters is in the second place with 8.1% market share. Independent retailers also have a good number of sales. This helps to keep the overall market alive.
- There is a difference in sound between black vinyl and colored vinyl. Even though most records are black, you will still find some records in different colors. These colored vinyls are considered to be very valuable for the collectors, as they can be rarely found. There is a difference in sound between the two-colored discs. The colored discs degrade faster when you play them.
- Vinyl records produce a static charge easily. This means that they will attract dirt and dust. You must take good care of them by wiping them properly and keeping them clean.
- There is a record for aliens on Voyager spacecraft. When the Voyager spacecraft was launched in 1977, NASA placed a record called ‘Voyager Golden Record’ inside the spacecraft. This record contains sound, music, and images that describe life on Earth. The intention of this record was that if there was any intelligent life form out in the space, then it will listen to it. The record contents were decided by a committee. The tape includes songs of whales and birds, spoken greetings in 55 modern and ancient languages. It has had a musical collection which includes Beethoven, Chuck Berry, Bach and many more.
- Since 1993, the business of vinyl sales increased. The sales figure was only about 0.3 million in 1993, but later continued to increase. Many people thought that vinyl records will disappear due to the invention of electronic music. But this didn’t happen. Many artists are now recording their music on vinyl.
- The first 12 inch recording was actually Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. RCA Victor came up with a long playing record for his home in 1931. It had 10 inch discs which were used for popular music and 12 inch discs were used for classical music. This kind of record was pressed in Victrolac, a new vinyl based company. This provided a quieter playing surface. The 12 inch discs could accommodate up to 15 minutes per side. The Fifth Symphony by Beethoven was the first 12 inch recording that was performed by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.
- The Great Depression affected the sales of LP. RCA Victor released commercially available consumer LP in 1930. But the timing was very bad, as Great Depression was happening then. This resulted in poor sales. During the Great Depression, consumers didn’t want to spend their valuable money of something that they were not sure would work.
- The first record paper was invented in 1857. It was made by a French scientist named Leon Scott. He used a vibrating diaphragm which could record sound waves on paper. He used this only for visual analysis. But this set the stage for the invention of gramophone.
All these facts are very fascinating about vinyl recordings. To me, the most fascinating fact is the revival of this old form of record even at the time of electronic music. In an era where we are flooded with articles about the best soundbars, the smallest bluetooth speakers and wi fi audio streaming, it’s amazing that it is no more part of a collector’s item; people of all walks of life still love this product and buy it for listening to music.