February 2nd, 2011

Gaslight: Happy birthday, 45 rpm!

35 Year Collection of Top 100 45 RPM Records, 1955-1990

February 2, 1949: 62 years ago today, the first 45 rpm vinyl record was released by RCA Victor, greatly enabling the market for sales of record singles. 45s also had a larger hole in the center, which was easier for jukeboxes to handle. Plus, it was smaller than other formats at the time–7 inches in diameter, as opposed to the 12-inch 33 1/3 rpm released in 1948 by Columbia, which was easier for radio stations and jukeboxes to use since they took up less space. 45s were also less expensive, and took off as the format of choice for singles, since they were more affordable for teenagers, who started purchasing rock-and-roll singles in droves during the 1950s. Over time, however, artists focused more on creating full albums. As the ‘concept album’ grew in popularity, and the demand for singles declined, the 45 was no longer the preferred format

35 Year Collection of Top 100 RPM Records Collection

for most music. Still, it never disappeared entirely–by one count, fewer than 2,000 new 45 rpm records have been produced in 2011.

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