Playing longer, sounding better all round

They revolutionised the music industry. They brought unprecedented sound quality to people’s ears. And their design meant that, for the first time, music fans could listen to a whole album’s worth of songs in their own homes.

The first LPs – or ‘long play’ records – were unveiled in the United States in 1948 by Columbia Records. Consisting of PVC plastic, not only did this material make songs sound so much better, it inspired the enduring nickname of ‘vinyl’. And because they could be played at a speed of 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, listeners got to enjoy 22 minutes of uninterrupted music on each side of a 12-inch LP.

LPs are still hugely popular with DJs and music collectors around the world. Of course, music is as important now as it was in the 1940s, but it’s a hotly contested area, too. Fierce battles can be fought over the intellectual property of a song, album, riff or lyric – something Abel + Imray know only too well. We provided pivotal trade mark advice on a long-running case between Jerry Dammers and The Specials in 2018, a case which ended up going all the way to the Courts of Justice of the European Union.

Colombia’s first LP pressing, also known as the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor.