with Allison Miller

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A Look Back: LP Records


In addition to celebrating Father's Day this weekend, KVMR's Music Dept. takes a look back at a prolific step for the music industry that occurred 67 years ago this weekend. Around June 18th in 1948, Peter Carl Goldmark and his engineering crew over at Columbia Records went public with a ground breaking invention: The 33-1/3 Record.

 No longer were performers bound by the four minute confines of the preceding 78-rpm shellac disc or the RCA 45-rpm record, with each side allowing for a whopping twenty-two minutes of glorious melodies. By using a slower speed, additional grooves, and lighter needle set-up, the 33-1/3 record quickly become the new standard for the music industry. That being said, there were many obstacles before the public actually got their hands on a 33-1/3 record in June of 1948.


 Before Peter Carl Goldmark and Columbia solidified their new stake in the record business, a slew of other companies had attempted the very same. Victor Records attempted to in 1931 but continued using the shellac disc material used on 78's, resulting in an undesirable playback. Columbia put out a 10-inch 33-1/3 around 1932 that was quickly dismissed. Edison and Western Electric also pursued similar endeavors. But between The Great Depression and eventually WWII, the evolution of the record was shelved for the majority of the 1930's & early 1940's. 


Finally, on Friday June 21st, 1948, Columbia Records went public with Goldmark's product, holding a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, revealing the superior form of music listening.

Today, people seem to be abandoning the physical mediums that eventually took preference over the vinyl record: 8-Track Tapes, Cassettes, CD's. All of these are mere novelties at this point. But Vinyl still maintains it's relevance. In 2014, 9.2 million records were sold (57% purchased from independent stores). 

So on this Father's Day, take your dad to a local record shop. Celebrate both the patience and durability of your old man and the admirable perseverance of the 33-1/3 Record...