Who Invented the Vinyl Record?

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While records in other materials date back to the late 1800s, in 1931 RCA Victor became the first company to release a vinyl record. The technology was developed further by Columbia Records and led to the release of the 12-inch, long-play album in 1948.

The vinyl records produced by RCA Victor did not fare well because of economic strife due to the Great Depression and the absence of affordable playback devices. Columbia Records focused not only on creating a better vinyl record but a more affordable system for playback. RCA Victor was the first to introduce the 45 rpm vinyl record in an effort to compete with Columbia Records' new albums.