LONDON : Music Fans mark 70 years since first LP as vinyl enjoys revival.

In the basement of the British Library, curator Andy Linehan inspects the latest addition to a massive archive of wax cylinders, cassettes, LPs and CDs - a vinyl record  that made musical history.

Released in the United States in 1948, Mandelsohn's  Concerto in E. minor, performed violinist Nathan Milstein with the New York Philharmonic Symphony  Orchestra, was the very first vinyl LP, or long playing record.

The 12 inch 33 1/3 rpm format allowed longer pieces to be recorded changing the way listeners enjoyed their music.

''The fact that the long playing record came into existence was a  huge step for music sound recording and for the listener, ''Linehan, curator of popular music in the British Library sound archive, said.

''Previously, you could only get  three minutes  or so onto one side of a record and now because you you had a narrower groove and a slower speed, you could get up to 20 minutes, which meant you could get a whole classical piece on one side of a record   -you could get a whole package  of songs together  on one record.''

Thursday marks 70-years since Columbia records introduced the LP, and British music retailer  HMV and label Sony Classical recreated 500 copies of the concerto to give away to fans, with one replica donated to the British Library's archive.

The record adds to the library's 250,000 collection of LPs, usually commercial releases  in Britain, artefacts going back to the beginning of sound  recording, such as  wax cylinders , patented by Thomas Edison in 1877, the first way fans could buy music to listen to at home.

Thursday's anniversary comes at a time when vinyl  has been enjoying a revival. In Britain, while it still only accounting for   seven per cent  of  album sales, it draws fans for all ages.

According to the   British Phonographic Industry  [BPI] , vinyl LP sales rose to to  4.1 million  last year from  205, 292  in 2007.

''Vinyl is popular because people see it more artefact rather than utility,'' Gennaro Castaldo, BPI  communications director, said. ''They love the whole ritual around buying it and then playing it at home and also the sound quality is much warmer, richer and people appreciate that.''

Rock remains  the best selling vinyl genre an last year, the biggest seller on the format in Britain was  Ed  Sheeran's  Divide  album.

Older titles, such as  Amy Winehouse's    Back to Black  and  Fleetwood Macs   Rumours  were also in the top 10.

Our record stores are stocking more vinyl than we've ever stocked in terms of the last 10 years. Simon Winter, PR  and events manager at  HMV, said. [Reuters]


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