Vinyl LP Turns 70

Your favorite record format celebrated a momentous occasion this week. 70 years have come and passed since the first ever vinyl LP was released by Columbia Records in 1948.

A performance of Mendelssohn's Concerto in E minor performed by violinist Nathan Milstein and the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra was the first to be pressed to wax.

Reuters reports that to mark the occasion, HMV and Sony Classical repressed 500 copies of the release to give away to fans. One copy was also donated to the British Library's archive, which currently houses 250,000 LPs.

"The fact that the long-playing record came into existence was a huge step for music sound recording and for the listener," British Library popular music curator Andy Linehan told the news agency.

"Previously you could only get three minutes or so onto one side of a record and now because you had a narrower groove and a slower speed, you could get up to 20 minutes, which meant you could get a whole classical piece on one side of a record … you could get a whole package of songs together on one record."

According to the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), vinyl LP sales rose to 4.1 million last year from 205,292 in 2007.

“Vinyl is popular because people see it more artifact rather than utility,” Gennaro Castaldo, BPI communications director, said. “They love the whole ritual around buying it and then playing it at home and also the sound quality is much warmer, richer and people appreciate that.”


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