You will seldom find a purer feeling of anticipation than when a vinyl record is placed on a turntable, the needle touches the groove and you hear that first little taste of surface before it really gets going. That sound is unique, instantly recognizable and associated with worth, warmth and great music.
The first “records” were made and marketed in 1889 in Europe by inventor, Emile Berliner. His company, The Victor Talking Machine Company released the first 10-inch disc in 1901. After moving his company to Canada, Berliner and partner sold it in 1929 to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), which would then dominate the market for years to come.
Today, records are making a major comeback. Sales dwindled throughout the 80s and 90s due to the rise of compact discs (CDs) and digital media, but people have found that you just can’t beat the true, warm tone of music on vinyl, and sales have increased by leaps and bounds in the last decade. So, dust off that old collection in the garage, plug in the turntable and join the revival.
“Just take those old records off the shelf …”
- The most expensive record ever sold was a one-of-a-kind pressing of “Once Upon A Time in Shaolin” by the Wu-Tang Clan for $2 million. Packaged in an ornate, gold box, the record came with the caveat that it could not be commercially exploited until 2103.
- The first 12-inch record released by RCA was Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as performed by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.
- The most famous records in the Universe are the two copies of the Golden Record that are traveling in space on Voyager 1 and 2, containing greetings and information about Earth. The Voyager spacecrafts are now nearly 12 billion miles from our planet.
- 45s used to be color-coded according to music genre. Popular songs were on black vinyl; country 45s were green; children’s songs were yellow; classical was red and Gospel music was pressed on orange vinyl.
- A company in the UK will turn your loved one’s cremation ashes into vinyl. The record includes a 24-minute recording of the planner’s choosing and up to 30 copies can be made for distribution.
- Lately, nearly half of record buyers are under the age of 25. The kids are at it again!