Vinyl: A History of the Analogue Record: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Vinyl: A History of the Analogue Record

1st Edition

By Richard Osborne


224 pages

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Vinyl: A History of the Analogue Record is the first in-depth study of the vinyl record. Richard Osborne traces the evolution of the recording format from its roots in the first sound recording experiments to its survival in the world of digital technologies. This book addresses the record's relationship with music: the analogue record was shaped by, and helped to shape, the music of the twentieth century. It also looks at the cult of vinyl records. Why are users so passionate about this format? Why has it become the subject of artworks and advertisements? Why are vinyl records still being produced? This book explores its subject using a distinctive approach: the author takes the vinyl record apart and historicizes its construction. Each chapter explores a different element: the groove, the disc shape, the label, vinyl itself, the album, the single, the b-side and the 12" single, and the sleeve. By anatomizing vinyl in this manner, the author shines new light on its impact and appeal.


A Yankee Book Peddler US Core Title for 2013 Special Mention, 2013 IASPM Book Prize. '…this book is actually one of the best and most engaging books on phonography and/or recording formats in recent years.' IASPM Book Prize Jury Finalist, 2013 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research, Best Historical Research on General Recording Topics. A Yankee Book Peddler UK Core Title for 2012 Classified as 'Research Essential' by Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services 'Hats off to the excellent Richard Osborne for producing a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable romp through the musical history of polyvinyl chloride… The author has produced a valuable collection of sound bites and snapshots of what the 20th century sounded like.' Times Higher Education '… a well-written and thoroughly engaging précis of vinyl’s journey from its origins to its constantly shifting presence throughout the 20th Century.' Record Collector '… Richard Osborne has just released the most perfect book: a history of vinyl that does not neglect aesthetic or interpretative considerations, but focuses also on hard facts, and pays attention to technology, and economics… Osborne’s book proves a fascinating and essential read, and an elegant one at that.' InMedia 'Richard Osborne has produced a concise, readable, and well-researched historical study of the vinyl record. The text is not overloaded with scholarly apparatus, although Osborne supports his argument with quotations from primary sources… Vinyl would be an excellent addition to large public libraries as well as academic institutions that teach popular music and the history of recorded music.' CAML (Canadian Association of Music Libraries) Review '… a thoughtful discussion of the relationship between human senses and the physical aspect of records that makes them enduring objects of cultural interest… a fine introduction to both the history of recorded sound and the cu

About the Author

Richard Osborne is the programme leader for the popular music degrees at Middlesex University. He has published work on the themes of music technology, minstrelsy, alarms, Indian film and The Fall. His work for the project Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire can be found at

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Social History
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Recording & Reproduction