Vinyl records have been in existence for nearly 100 years when the first gramophone record player was invented by Thomas Edison in the year 1887. The vinyl records in use today were available to the masses only in the year 1918 when the exclusive patent for the production of vinyl records expired. Gramophone records are meant to be played at different speeds, and all record players come with a speed control system. Vinyl records come in two popular flavors, the 12-inch vinyl album is meant to be played at 33-1/2 RPM (revolutions per minute) and the 7 inch single at 45 RPM. Popularly known as LP (long playing) records, LPs were the primary means of distributing music until CDs came along.
A traditional LP can store around 52 minutes of music at most (26 minutes on each side) and is available in 10 and 12-inch diameters. Although regular vinyl records are very stable, unlike magnetic media like cassettes and floppy discs, vinyl records are not easily susceptible to the earth’s magnetic field, and even the oldest vinyl records are available in excellent condition.
Today vinyl records are mainly used by DJs.Since it is possible to directly manipulate vinyl records, DJs prefer using vinyl records for carrying out complex moves like scratching. Vinyl records can be played in any direction, and the speed can also be controlled using both the playing device and manually by the DJ as well, this is why vinyl records are still popular. There is CD software available that allow DJs to simulate effects similar to a traditional vinyl record. However, DJs still prefer to use vinyl records to carry out more complex effects like slip-cueing.
Also, a limited number of vinyl records are produced each year by independent rock bands and record labels. Today vinyl records occupy a niche market and are largely purchased by collectors and DJs. A rare vinyl record can fetch hundreds of pounds. Any one looking to buy vinyl records should look for original issue vinyl records from the 60s and 70s. Retro vinyl records are in demand, and it has become increasingly hard to find original vinyl records of artists like The Small Faces and Jimi Hendrix. Retro records are popular with not just collectors but also with DJs as the combination of a fuller sounding analog music, and great packaging makes them superior to CD & MP3 formats.
Do you have any music on vinyl? If so, how long since you listened to it (don’t lie, all of your vinyls are buried in your crawl space aren’t they)? If you walked into a records store, what would you look for? Would you just wander through the aisles nostalgically, or are there some specific recording artists or albums you would want to seek out? With me, it is some of both. Usually, I have an agenda because if I do not, I can spend a LOT of time or a LOT of money (or both) before I leave. So, I usually give myself an allowance (okay, on this trip I am going to look for such and such, like a decent copy of Pink Floyd The Piper at the Gates of Dawn at an affordable price), but then I like just to wander and browse for a while. I always find an album that floods me with memories of days long past. Many albums will instantly bring back a very poignant memory of exactly when I first heard a certain record or song. I can usually hear the music and see the faces of friends long left behind. Often I will buy a vinyl LP just for that reason. Then I will take it home and put it on the turntable right away and enjoy a totally selfish nostalgic experience that reconnects the now me with the then me and makes me feel just a little bit more whole.