Music History

Published on February 11th, 2019 | by Alan Cross

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The answers to strange speeds, big holes, and other mysteries of vinyl.

[This was my weekend column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]

According to Nielsen SoundScan, more than a million brand new vinyl LPs were sold in Canada last year, up a healthy 27 per cent from 2017. And that number doesn’t include sales through many independent stores, used records, purchases made at record shows or online from sites like eBay and Discogs, and anything an artist may sell off the merch table at the end of a show. Add all that together and the total number of vinyl sales in Canada in 2018 probably exceeded 1.6 million.

With more people getting into the format for the first time and with lapsed fanatics picking up where they left off a couple of decades ago, some people have questions about some of vinyl’s eccentricities. Let’s see if I can help.

Most turntables sold today can accommodate records that rotate at two speeds: 33 1/3 RPM for albums and 45 RPM for 7-inch singles. Why those speeds?

For the answer, we need to go all the way back to the late 1800s,

Keep reading.





About the Author

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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