Monday, August 26, 2013

Vinyl Experience(2)

Text:Fumimasa Hori

Before looking for records of current situation, let's look back on the history of records briefly.

Under the direction of Peter Goldmark who is a PhD in Electrical Engineering, It was 1948 
that American Columbia Records succeeded in commercializing mass production of LP 
records (33 rpm,diameter 30cm).It came to be called LP (short for Long Playing), because 
they could be played long time much the same size as the vinyl LP before.

Since the birth of the LP, past shellac 78 rpm records came to be called SP (Standard Play).
Speaking of the album of the record, it mean LP.EP records of 17cm has been released 
from RCA Records the following year. Speaking of single record, it refers to this EP or 12 
(45 rpm,diameter 30cm).

The first LP in Japan was released from Nippon Columbia in 1951, they were not spreaded 
quickly,because starting salary of the civil service was 6,500 yen at that time,but LP records price 
was 2,300 yen.
Album concept which hammered out the total work nature which includes not only music
but the artwork of a jacket was progressed in the 60s.It was different that singles were
in mainstream in 50s.Artists and groups of various genres, including rock album, jazz
soul could not embody in three minutes single records,but they have succeeded in 
presenting the deeper vision.

Because of albums, the sales of LP records went up and the whole music industry grew explosively. 
A documentary called "When Albums ruled the World" BBC4  produced drew the magnitude
of the influence of albums.

In the United States, sales of LP records were 330 million sheets in 1977 heyday,  
LP records grew up to be even an existence which gets a majority of a music market.
 It seems to have been pressing the record of one million copies in one week in the UK.Although possibly there was also a person that it was not believed that it thinks from the present situation, records were the most music media it was listened to in the 70s.

However, CD appeared from the 1980s, the situation turned around.Listeners changed
to compact and easy CD gradually, and records came to be forsaken nearly completely.
By the time records were forgotten among people, it did not take so much time. 
Seemingly, in a report, the speed from which records disappeared from the music
market was earlier than the time of 8 track tape disappearing from a market.Anyhow,
 when entering in the 90s, a share of records was reduced as much as below 1% 
of the music market.

CDs grew to the mainstream music media, records disappeared from the music market. 
This was not limited to the United States, it happened in countries throughout the world.
However, in Japan, movements, such as DJ and rare groove occured in the 90s,and 
records became popular media again among young people. Udagawa-cho of Shibuya
district which was the center of the movement became a world renowned record shop 
town where 50 or more record shops flooded. At that time,many overseas musicians 
and DJs became to  recognize that Japan was a country where had abundant vinyl 

That is, Japan preceded the record popularity which has happened in the world now.
This unique phenomenon in worldwide will be described in the second half of a series.

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