Saturday, March 31, 2012

History Picking - Happy Birthday 45 RPM - First Ads For 45 RPM Record Players - March 31, 1949 / And How Willie Nelson Started Independent Music

Here is an ad that ran in newspapers all over the United States on this day in 1949.  This on is from The Salt Lake Tribune: March 31, 1949

At the beginning a format war developed that saw RCA and Columbia refusing to release records in each other's formats. See this article from the Cedar Rapids Gazette: July 30, 1949 (article in center top of right page "Stuggle In Speeds")

But the lack of foresight here was in the ease with which 45 RPM records could be manufactured.  What had started as a means to lock down a format that would forever more give one manufacturer dominance over the music market itself, gave musicians and small producers the opportunity to manufacturer and release small runs of records inexpensively.

Eight years later a DJ in Seattle, Washington would press a few hundred 45's of his own music at his own expense and sell them on his radio show.  That DJ was Willie Nelson.  The record wasn't a success, and he sold his next song for $50.00.  "Family Bible" became a hit for Claude Grey two years later.  But that self-will to plop down your own money was an action that would be often repeated, and would feed the dreams of musicians, the career's of record pickers, and start the successes of bands for the rest of the century, including most recently The White Stripes.  And hell, 45 RPM records are still the biggest format released on Record Store Day.

It's cause they're just so damn pretty.
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