Ongoing History Daily: The first attempt to kill vinyl happened in the 1950s

Music on rotating discs has been with us since the late 1800s. The vinyl record has been with us since June of 1948 when Columbia Records introduced the first long-playing 33 1/3 albums. But in the late 1950s, there was an attempt to kill records altogether.

The problem was that no one had figured out a way to encode stereo recordings on vinyl. There were several attempts throughout the 50s but they were all failures. By 1957, the recorded music industry was so frustrated that some advocated dumping records completely and going all-in with magnetic tape. Just in time, though, a new method of cutting stereo grooves into vinyl was invented, saving the format from extinction.

It was so successful that mono records all but disappeared by the end of the 60s and there was no more talk about killing off vinyl until the CD came along in the 80s.

Yesterday’s post talked about harmful bootlegs. You’ll see what I mean.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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