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The Rise, Fall, and Renaissance of Vinyl and Record Players

Record players have been an essential part of the experience of music, preceding the era of compact discs and digital streaming. Sadly, the digital age of music has killed the art of playing music from a compressed disc. However, it does not change the impact of record players on how we consume music to this day.

The Rise of Record Players

First invented in 1857 by French inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, the record player wasn’t used for playing music from a vinyl record. Instead, the console was only made out of the turntable, used to inscribe airborne noise onto paper for visual study. During this time, it was called a phonautograph.

Thomas Edison gets the credit for inventing the phonograph in 1877. His device could now both record and play sound. However, it still did not use the vinyl, but tinfoil wrap and a cardboard cylinder for subsequent playback. Ten years later, Alexander Graham Bell added wax to Edison’s phonograph design, allowing it to record sound even better. 

Bell may be famous for inventing the telephone, but he also contributed to the development of the vinyl player through the graphophone, another of his inventions.

Meanwhile, Emile Berliner was dubbed the creator of the gramophone, which served as the basis for the contemporary record player. In 1887, he was able to secure a patent for it before its commercialization in 1895. It sold well during the 30s and 40s but peaked after a few decades. Nevertheless, the gramophone served as the primary method for music consumption until the 60s and 70s, standing side-by-side with the modern radio. 

The Fall of Record Players

After its peak, Hip-Hop disc jockeys found a new way to utilize turntables to produce a unique, contemporary style of music. They connected audio mixers to record players and scratched the records using the needle to create a new rhythmic set of sounds.

However, in the 90s, the use of record players faltered due to the popularity of cassette tapes. Later on, compact discs overtook the cassette and surpassed record players. In 2010, the music industry started the digitalization of music and streaming platforms as the primary method of consumption. It only pushed the need and demand for record players further.

The Return of Record Players

If you think about it, record players never really left; they merely enjoyed a long hiatus from the mainstream music industry. Today, artists as prominent as Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga produce their material on vinyl records, bringing awareness to this classic method of consumption. In addition, modern-day record players now have added features like USB recording or multi-platform connections for users to enjoy their music collection.


Record players hold a special connection in our hearts from the past and maintain an important status in the music industry. Whether you want to listen to Frank Sinatra or a heavy metal band, there is no sound quality that rivals the record player.

Music Connection is the leading music store in Manchester that offers previously loved records. We are where you can find quality vinyl records at a reasonable price. Check out our assortment of new and gently-used vinyl players and Hi-Fi equipment, cleaning products, protective sleeves, replacement needles, and storage solutions today.

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