Vinyl records were the dominant music format for most of the 20th century. The first popular form of phonographic record was the 78 record, named for its rotations per minute or RPM.
In 1948, Columbia Records introduced the “Long Playing” (LP) record. An LP measures 12 inches and has an RPM of 33⅓. 78’s continued to be popular until the early 1960s, when the LP surpassed it. With the rise in sales of pop music in the 60s, the demand for records skyrocketed.
Vinyl sales were at their highest in the 1970s, reaching a peak in the early 80s. Cassettes and CD's soon overtook vinyl resulting in a drop in sales. By 2004, vinyl only accounted for 0.5 per cent of all music sales.
But something happened in the late 2000s, people began buying vinyl again.
In 2017, 14 million records were sold in the U.S., marking the highest total since 1991.
Mark Corner, who runs the bi-annual Calgary Music Collectors Show said, “people were looking for the classic rock titles, and then all of a sudden more and more new titles started coming out and the music industry thought, ‘hey, maybe there is a future for records.’”
Eraz Cohen, co-owner of the l Calgary shop Recordland, believes that young people’s interest in vinyl is a key reason why it has come back.
“The young [customers] definitely outnumber the older people now,” Cohen said.
While vinyl may never be the dominant format it was in the 1960s and 70s, the signs show that it won’t be going away anytime soon.
Vinyl and its resurgence Produced by: Jackson Reed
- By Jackson Reed