Groove recordings, first designed in the final
quarter of the 19th century, held a predominant
position for an impressive amount of time -
just about a century - withstanding competition
from reel-to-reel tape, the 8-track cartridge
and the compact cassette. However, by 1988,
the compact disc had surpassed the gramophone
record in popularity.
spite of their obvious flaws, such as the lack
of portability, records still have enthusiastic
supporters. Vinyl records continue to be manufactured
and sold today, especially by independent rock
bands and labels. although record sales are
considered to be a niche market composed of
audiophiles, collectors and DJs. Old records
and out of print recordings in particular are
in much demand by collectors the world over.
the UK, sales of new vinyl records (particularly
7 inch singles) have increased significantly
in recent years, somewhat reversing the downward
trend seen during the 1990s.
disc jockeys ("DJs"), mostly in the
electronic dance music or hip hop genres, vinyl
has an advantage over the CD - direct manipulation
of the medium. DJ techniques such as slip-cueing,
beatmatching and scratching originated on turntables.
With CDs or compact audio cassettes one normally
has only indirect manipulation options, e.g.,
the play, stop and pause buttons. With a record
one can place the stylus a few grooves farther
in or out, accelerate or decelerate the turntable,
or even reverse its direction, provided the
stylus, record player and the record itself
are built to withstand it. Most CDJs and DJ
software these days have some of these capabilities
but nothing is like the real thing.