Phonograph record

A phonograph disc record (also known as a gramophone disc record, especially in British English), or simply a phonograph record, gramophone record, disc record or record, is an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc. At first, the discs were commonly made from shellac, with earlier records having a fine abrasive filler mixed in. Starting in the 1940s polyvinyl chloride became common, hence the name "vinyl". In the mid-2000s, gradually, records made of any material began to be called vinyl disc records, also known as vinyl records or vinyl for short.

A typical 12-inch LP record

The phonograph disc record was the primary medium used for music reproduction throughout the 20th century. It had co-existed with the phonograph cylinder from the late 1880s and had effectively superseded it by around 1912. Records retained the largest market share even when new formats such as the compact cassette were mass-marketed. By the 1980s, digital media, in the form of the compact disc, had gained a larger market share, and the record left the mainstream in 1991.[1] Since the 1990s, records continue to be manufactured and sold on a smaller scale, and during the 1990s and early 2000s were commonly used by disc jockeys (DJs), especially in dance music genres. They were also listened to by a growing number of audiophiles. The phonograph record has made a niche resurgence as a format for rock music in the early 21st century—9.2 million records were sold in the US in 2014, a 260% increase since 2009.[2] Likewise, sales in the UK increased five-fold from 2009 to 2014.[3]

As of 2017, 48 record pressing facilities remain worldwide, 18 in the US and 30 in other countries. The increased popularity of the record has led to the investment in new and modern record-pressing machines.[4] Only two producers of lacquers (acetate discs or master discs) remain: Apollo Masters in California, and MDC in Japan.[5] On February 6, 2020, a fire destroyed the Apollo Masters plant. According to the Apollo Masters website, their future is still uncertain.[6]

Phonograph records are generally described by their diameter in inches (12-inch, 10-inch, 7-inch) (although they were designed in millimeters[7]), the rotational speed in revolutions per minute (rpm) at which they are played (8+13, 16+23, 33+13, 45, 78),[8] and their time capacity, determined by their diameter and speed (LP [long playing], 12-inch disc, 33+13 rpm; SP [single], 10-inch disc, 78 rpm, or 7-inch disc, 45 rpm; EP [extended play], 12-inch disc or 7-inch disc, 33+13 or 45 rpm); their reproductive quality, or level of fidelity (high-fidelity, orthophonic, full-range, etc.); and the number of audio channels (mono, stereo, quad, etc.).

The phrase broken record refers to a malfunction[9] when the needle skips/jumps back to the previous groove and plays the same section over and over again indefinitely.[10][11][12]

The large cover (and inner sleeves) are valued by collectors and artists for the space given for visual expression, especially in the case of 12-inch discs.[citation needed]


Share this article:

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Phonograph record, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.