We hear music guru’s telling us they prefer the warmer sound of a vinyl record and prefer it’s ‘original’ sound to the harshness of digital music. In reality, a vinyl disk is the furthest from the original format as you can get; it is in fact the final archive format

A phonograph record (also known as a gramophone record, especially in British English, or record) is an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc. At first, the discs were commonly made from shellac; starting in the 1950s polyvinyl chloride became common. In recent decades, records have sometimes been called vinyl records, or simply vinyl.

The phonograph disc record was the primary medium used for music archive, storage and reproduction throughout the 20th century. It had co-existed with the phonograph cylinder from the late 1880s and had effectively superseded it by around 1912. Records retained the largest market share even when new formats such as the compact cassette were mass-marketed. By the 1980s, digital media, in the form of the compact disc, had gained a larger market share, and the vinyl record left the mainstream in 1991.

From the 1990s to the 2010s, records continued to be manufactured and sold on a much smaller scale, and were especially used by disc jockeys (DJs) and released by artists in mostly dance music genres, and listened to by a niche market of audiophiles. The phonograph record has made a notable niche resurgence in the early 21st century – 9.2 million records were sold in the U.S. in 2014, a 260% increase since 2009.

Likewise, in the UK sales have increased five-fold from 2009 to 2014.

As of 2017, 48 record pressing facilities remain worldwide, 18 in the United States and 30 in other countries. The increased popularity of vinyl has led to the investment in new and modern record-pressing machines. Only two producers of lacquers remain: Apollo Masters in California, and MDC in Japan.

Phonograph records are generally described by their diameter in inches (12-inch, 10-inch, 7-inch), the rotational speed in revolutions per minute (rpm) at which they are played (8+1/3, 16+2/3, 33+1/3, 45, 78), and their time capacity, determined by their diameter and speed (LP [long playing], 12-inch disc, 33+1/3 rpm; SP [single], 10-inch disc, 78 rpm, or 7-inch disc, 45 rpm; EP [extended play], 12-inch disc, 33 1/3 or 45 rpm); their reproductive quality, or level of fidelity (high-fidelity, orthophonic, full-range, etc.); and the number of audio channels (mono, stereo, quad, etc.).

Vinyl records may be scratched or warped if stored incorrectly but if they are not exposed to high heat, carelessly handled or broken, a vinyl record has the potential to last for centuries.

The large cover (and inner sleeves) are valued by collectors and artists for the space given for visual expression, especially when it comes to the long play vinyl LP.

Compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings (CD-DA) but was later adapted for storage of data (CD-ROM). Several other formats were further derived from these, including write-once audio and data storage (CD-R), rewritable media (CD-RW), Video Compact Disc (VCD), Super Video Compact Disc (SVCD), Photo CD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced Music CD. The first commercially available audio CD player, the Sony CDP-101, was released October 1982 in Japan.

Standard CDs have a diameter of 120 millimetres (4.7 in) and can hold up to about 80 minutes of uncompressed audio or about 700 MiB of data. The Mini CD has various diameters ranging from 60 to 80 millimetres (2.4 to 3.1 in); they are sometimes used for CD singles, storing up to 24 minutes of audio, or delivering device drivers.

At the time of the technology’s introduction in 1982, a CD could store much more data than a personal computer hard drive, which would typically hold 10 MB. By 2010, hard drives commonly offered as much storage space as a thousand CDs, while their prices had plummeted to commodity level. In 2004, worldwide sales of audio CDs, CD-ROMs and CD-Rs reached about 30 billion discs. By 2007, 200 billion CDs had been sold worldwide.

From the early 2000s CDs were increasingly being replaced by other forms of digital storage and distribution, with the result that by 2010 the number of audio CDs being sold in the U.S. had dropped about 50% from their peak; however, they remained one of the primary distribution methods for the music industry. In 2014, revenues from digital music services matched those from physical format sales for the first time.