Music LP Records
LP, or Long-Play, records are the standard format for vinyl music albums. Prior to vinyl LPs, most music disks were made of shellac, an abrasive material that created noisy feedback and played at approximately 78 revolutions per minute, limiting the play time of a 12-inch disk to around 5 minutes of music. Vinyl LPs are smoother, have smaller grooves, are played using a smaller stylus and provide 20 minutes or more of music per side. Once introduced, vinyl LPs became the mainstay of recordable music for the home for centuries until they were replaced by compact disks.
Size and Capacity
LPs are generally either 10 inches or 12 inches in diameter, allowing for the recording of full albums across the two sides. Vinyl disks used to record singles are smaller in dimension, typically 7 inches.
LPs that contain whole albums typically play at 33.3RPM - revolutions per minute - and have 12-inch diameters. The slower speed and larger size mean they can hold more music, up to 30 minutes per side. When they were first introduced, LPs were relatively expensive and there was demand for a cheaper and more accessible option.
At first, it was only 7-inch singles that were released with a speed of 45RPM, but some record labels started to produce LPs in 45RPM on 10 or 12-inch disks, claiming that the quality was better at the faster speed. This reduced the music time to approximately 15 minutes per side.
78RPM LPs are relatively rare, as most LPs were recorded at the speeds described above. 78RPM was the original speed for shellac disks but was adopted and continued by bands and record labels preferring a retro feel to their music production.
As with all records that are played using a stylus, vinyl LPs can become scratched over time. Scratches on the surface of the disk will impact sound quality and can make the record skip damaged sections. It is therefore important to store and clean vinyl LPs carefully to retain value.