11 Things About Vinyl Records

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Thalia M. España  •  College Times

Vintage is the future, and vinyl records are here to stay (and grow). This technology, which dates back to the 19th century, has been on the rise since its resurgence in the early 2010s.

Vinyl sales are especially high every April during Record Store Day, an annual celebration of the very establishments that keep this trend alive, well and musically vivid. So, prepare your turntable, throw a record on and read on to see what every vinyl enthusiast must know.

 

#11 •     Record and Turntable

Invented:

In 1857, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville invented the earliest known sound recording device, called the phonautograph which could not play the noise back. Thomas Edison paved the way for today’s record player when he invented the phonograph that recorded and played sound back in 1877. It inscribed audio to tinfoil wrapped along a cardboard cylinder for playback.

 

#10 • The “Vinyl Revival”:

In the late 1990s, CD and MP3 technology was on the rise as vinyl record sales decreased. Vinyl was proclaimed dead. The early 2010s played a significant role in its resurgence. Billboard describes U.S. record sales in 2017 to have reached a “Nielson Music-Era high,” with a total record sale of 14.32 million, which was up by 9 percent from the previous year. Sales rose an additional 15 percent in 2018

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#9 • Wu-Tang Clan:

The most expensive vinyl record is the only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s unreleased album, “Once Upon A Time in Shaolin,” which sold for $2 million. The second most expensive vinyl is “The Beatles” (commonly known as “The White Album”), which sold for nearly $790,000.

 

#8 • Beethoven:

The first LP vinyl recording was of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony performed by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski in 1931, when RCA Victor released the first version of the long-playing record for home use through Program Transcription discs.

 

#7 • Records in Space:

The NASA Voyager I and II spacecrafts’ version of a time capsule contains what is known as the Golden Record that was created to communicate “the story of our world [Earth] to extraterrestrials.” The 12-inch, gold-plated copper disk contains images, music, sounds and greetings from Earth.

 

#6 •       Different Color,

Different Sound:

There is an ongoing debate among loyal record collectors. Some say colored vinyl degrades quicker than the original black vinyl, therefore resulting in weaker sound quality. However, colored vinyl can be a collector’s favorite as they are rare.

 

#5 • The Largest Record Stores:

Amoeba Records in Los Angeles claims to be the largest independent record store at 24,000 square feet. It houses over 100,000 CDs, vinyl records, cassettes, DVDs, laser discs and more. In Shibuya, Tokyo, Tower Records rises to the top with its nine-story facility at 53,820 square feet.

 

#4 •       The Largest Personal

Collection:

Brazilian businessman Zero Freitas is known to have the biggest personal vinyl record collection with 6 million in safe storage. Freitas plans to curate his collection into a public archive.

 

#3 • Inner-Groove Distortion:

Many artists who produce vinyl records put their best, loudest songs on the outer edge of the record because there, the quality is clearer and. Known as inner-groove distortion, this causes sound from the innermost part of the vinyl to have a more unclear, muffled sound.

 

#2 • The Millennial Revival:

On average, it is the younger generations—not nostalgic Baby Boomers—who are credited for bringing vinyl back. About 50 percent of vinyl record customers are younger than 35 and claim to find a unique experience in record listening and physical ownership.

 

#1 • The First Record Store Day was on April 19, 2008, during which Metallica spent hours meeting fans at the Rasputin Music record store. Since then, it has become a day when many musical artists, big and small, visit record stores for performances, signings and meet and greets with the local, vinyl-loving communities.

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