Flexi disc

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Flexi discs like this Interface Age "Floppy ROM" program sheet were occasionally included as inserts in computer hobbyist and video game magazines during the late 1970s and early 1980s. FloppyRom Magazine.jpg
Flexi discs like this Interface Age "Floppy ROM" program sheet were occasionally included as inserts in computer hobbyist and video game magazines during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The flexi disc (also known as a phonosheet, Sonosheet or Soundsheet, a trademark) is a phonograph record made of a thin, flexible vinyl sheet with a molded-in spiral stylus groove, and is designed to be playable on a normal phonograph turntable. Flexible records were commercially introduced as the Eva-tone Soundsheet in 1962, [1] [2] and were very popular among children and teenagers and mass-produced by the state publisher in the Soviet government.

Phonograph device for playback of acoustic sounds stored as deviations on a disk or cylinder

The phonograph is a device for the mechanical recording and reproduction of sound. In its later forms, it is also called a gramophone or, since the 1940s, a record player. The sound vibration waveforms are recorded as corresponding physical deviations of a spiral groove engraved, etched, incised, or impressed into the surface of a rotating cylinder or disc, called a "record". To recreate the sound, the surface is similarly rotated while a playback stylus traces the groove and is therefore vibrated by it, very faintly reproducing the recorded sound. In early acoustic phonographs, the stylus vibrated a diaphragm which produced sound waves which were coupled to the open air through a flaring horn, or directly to the listener's ears through stethoscope-type earphones.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.



Before the advent of the compact disc, flexi discs were sometimes used as a means to include sound with printed material such as magazines and music instruction books. [3] A flexi disc could be moulded with speech or music and bound into the text with a perforated seam, at very little cost and without any requirement for a hard binding. [4] One problem with using the thinner vinyl was that the stylus's weight, combined with the flexi disc's low mass, would sometimes cause the disc to stop spinning on the turntable and become held in place by the stylus. [3] For this reason, most flexi discs had a spot on the face of the disc for a coin, or other small, flat, weighted object to increase the friction with the turntable surface and enforce consistent rotation. If the turntable's surface is not completely flat, it is recommended that the flexi disc be placed on top of a full sized record. [5]

Compact disc Optical disc for storage and playback of digital audio

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.

In Japan, starting in the early 1960s, Asahi Sonorama published the monthly Asahi Sonorama magazine which included an inserted flexi disc ("Sonosheet"). [6]

Asahi Sonorama (朝日ソノラマ) is a Japanese book, magazine, and manga publisher and a division of Asahi Shimbun. "Sonorama" is a coined word combining sonus, the Latin word for "sound", and horama, the Greek word for "sight". The name was acquired through the purchase of the trademark for sonosheets.

Every year between 1963 and 1969, The Beatles made a special Christmas recording which was made into a flexi disc and sent to members of their fan club. While the earlier discs largely contained 'thank you' messages to their fans, the later Christmas flexis were used as an outlet for the Beatles to explore more experimental areas; the 1967 disc, for example, became a pastiche of a BBC Radio show and even included a specially recorded song entitled "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)."

The Beatles English rock band

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The line-up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr led them to be regarded as the most influential band of all time. With a sound rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the group were integral to the evolution of pop music into an art form, and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s. They often incorporated elements of classical music, older pop, and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways, and they experimented with a number of musical styles in later years, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As they continued to draw influences from a variety of cultural sources, their musical and lyrical sophistication grew, and they came to be seen as embodying the era's socio-cultural movements.

A fan club is a group that is dedicated to celebrities group, or idea. Most fan clubs are run by fans who devote considerable time and resources to support them. There are also "official" fan clubs that are run by someone associated with the person or organization the club is centered on. This is the case for many musicians, sports teams, etc.

BBC Radio division and service of the British Broadcasting Corporation

BBC Radio is an operational business division and service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The service provides national radio stations covering the majority of musical genres, as well as local radio stations covering local news, affairs and interests. It also oversees online audio content.

In 1964, the National Geographic Society released Song and Garden Birds of North America which included a 12-sided clear flexidisk, bound alternating with pages giving the titles and birds on the recordings. The work was done by Arthur A. Allen and Peter Paul Kellogg of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.[ citation needed ]

The National Geographic Society (NGS), headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational organizations in the world. Founded in 1888, its interests include geography, archaeology, and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical conservation, and the study of world culture and history. The National Geographic Society's logo is a yellow portrait frame—rectangular in shape—which appears on the margins surrounding the front covers of its magazines and as its television channel logo. Through National Geographic Partners, the Society operates the magazine, TV channels, a website, worldwide events, and other media operations.

The August 1965 issue of National Geographic included a soundsheet of the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill narrated by David Brinkley. The recording has the sounds of the funeral procession to St. Paul's, a hymn sung by the leaders of the world, and an excerpt of the funeral sermon. Excerpts from various recordings of Churchill's speeches are included. The recording ends with bagpipes accompanying Churchill's coffin to the funeral barge on the Thames, as the public phase of the funeral ends.[ citation needed ]

Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during most of World War II

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British statesman, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as a Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, for most of his career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but from 1904 to 1924 was instead a member of the Liberal Party.

David Brinkley American journalist

David McClure Brinkley was an American newscaster for NBC and ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997.

During the 1970s, MAD magazine included Soundsheets in several special editions. One was a dramatization of "Gall in the Family Fare", its parody of "All in the Family," packaged with MAD Super Special #11 (1973). The Summer 1980 edition of MAD Super Special (published in 1979) featured "It's a Super-Spectacular Day", a song with eight different versions pressed into eight concentric grooves; which version was played depended on where the needle was dropped onto the disc. Another issue included "It's a Gas", a song whose lyrics were belches. [7] [8] There was also a "Mad Disco" special issue containing a Soundsheet.

ABBA/Live 77 was a special single-sided promo gold flexi disc given as a bonus to children who sold magazines and books at Christmas for Jultidningsförlaget, a publishing company using door sales as their main distribution channel. The disc contained excerpts from the Swedish group's recent concert appearance in Australia.

A two-sided flexible sheet record of the songs of humpback whales (produced by Roger Payne) was included with the January 1979 issue of National Geographic magazine. With a production order of 10,500,000 copies, it became the largest single press run of any record at the time.

Computer magazines began to provide software in audio form "Vinyl Data" on flexi discs from June 1979 until 1986. [9]

While flexi-discs were usually just used as occasional giveaways, from 1980 to 1982, Flexipop made a speciality of giving away such a disc with each edition. Compact discs and the internet have rendered flexi discs largely obsolete, but gimmick discs are still produced occasionally: Amelia’s Magazine included a one-sided Libertines flexi of What Katie Did. [10] [11]

American manufacturer Eva-Tone, believed to be one of the last manufacturers of flexi discs, stopped production of the product in August 2000. [4]

As of December 2010, Pirates Press, an independent record manufacturing company based in San Francisco, California, USA, has started production of flexi discs of various sizes and color.

In November 2010 extreme metal magazine Decibel began releasing flexi discs with each issue, starting with the January 2011 issue. The content on the disc features "100 percent exclusive songs" from artists that have been previously featured in the publication. [12] [13]

In October 2011, the Los Angeles-based record company, Side One Dummy Records, teamed up with Alternative Press to offer a Title Fight flexi disc (containing 2 previously unreleased B-Sides) along with a year of AP subscription as a limited edition offer. Due to manufacturing delays the discs arrived packaged with the November issue of AP magazine in mid December. [14]

On April 2, 2012, Third Man Records released 1000 flexi discs tied to blue helium balloons into the air in Nashville, Tennessee. The discs contained the first release of "Freedom At 21", a track on Jack White's debut solo album, Blunderbuss . It is estimated that fewer than 100 of the discs will ever be found and they will be a valuable collector's item for many years.[ citation needed ]

On April 20, 2012, Domino Recording Company released a zine exclusively for Record Store Day that included five individual, multi-colored flexi-discs, each containing a song by Dirty Projectors, Real Estate, Cass McCombs, John Maus, and Villagers. The Dirty Projectors disc was previewed on April 19 by frontman Dave Longstreth via a YouTube video of him playing the record on a turntable. [15] [16]

In 2012 Rookie online magazine released its first hardcopy edition, Rookie Yearbook One, [17] which contained a red flexi disc with two songs written specifically for the site: "I Don't Care" by Dum Dum Girls and "Rookie" by Supercute!.

In the summer 2013 issue of German fanzine PUNKROCK!, the punk rock band Riots, based in Oslo, Norway, gave away a free 2-track exclusive flexi disc to the 200 odd subscribers of the fanzine. This flexi featured 2 tracks - Riots and We're All Slaves. [18] This was pressed by Pirates Press out of the USA.

Shortly before the release of the 2014 Foo Fighters album "Sonic Highways" some of the pre-orders came with a cover of Two Headed Dog on Flexi-Disk

In the summer 2015, PizzaDischi, an independent record manufacturing company based in Italy, has started production of flexi discs too, in collaboration with the European Slimer Records independent label run by Panda Kid members, dedicated to limited and rare edition of worldwide artists.[ citation needed ]

In the Soviet Union

Flexi discs were mass-produced from 1964 to 1991 by the Soviet government as inserts in the popular Krugozor magazine for teens. The appearance of the Soviet flexi disc was always the same, vivid blue, and the discs are familiar to virtually anyone who grew up in the Soviet Union and even the post-Soviet era. In 1969 in addition to the successful audio-magazine Krugozor, the government also launched the audio-magazine for children Kolobok, which also consisted of flexi disks.

Because of a shortage of vinyl recording material (and official censorship of some Western music) during the Soviet era, bootleg recordings known as Ribs , Bones or roentgenizdat were produced on discarded medical X-ray prints. The musician Stephen Coates of UK band The Real Tuesday Weld has created the X-Ray Audio Project devoted to these. [19] [20] [21]

Human League track

"Flexi Disc" is also the title of a spoken-word track recorded by electronic band The Human League on a flexi disc which accompanied their 12" single "The Dignity of Labour" in 1978. Re-released as a bonus track on their album Reproduction , the song is a discussion between the band members concerning the advantages and disadvantages of the flexi disc format and the possibility of including one with the album to provide commentary. [3] [22]

See also

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A cardboard record was a type of cheaply made phonograph record made of plastic-coated thin paperboard. These discs were usually small, had poor audio quality compared to vinyl or acetate discs, and were often only marginally playable due to their light weight, slick surface, and tendency to warp like a taco shell. Playability could be improved by placing a coin between the lock groove and the spindle hole to add weight and stability. These records are distinct from both flexi discs, which are sturdier, and from many of the old home-recording discs since cardboard discs were mass-produced for a specific purpose.

<i>The Code Is Red...Long Live the Code</i> 2005 studio album by Napalm Death

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English rock group The Beatles sent out spoken and musical messages on flexi disc to members of their official fan clubs in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) each Christmas from 1963 to 1969. An LP compilation of all seven, titled From Then to You in the UK and The Beatles' Christmas Album in the US, was sent out in 1970.

Private Eye, the British fortnightly satirical magazine, has produced various comedic audio recordings since its founding in 1961.

<i>Reproduction</i> (album) 1979 studio album by The Human League

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Flexipop was a British pop music magazine that ran from 1980 to 1983, which featured a flexidisc in each issue. The magazine was launched in 1980 by ex-Record Mirror journalists Barry Cain and Tim Lott. One of the most notable issues was the February 1981 disc featuring Adam and the Ants performing a version of the Village People hit "Y.M.C.A.", called "A.N.T.S.". Flexipop's last released flexidisc was "In The Mix" by Haysi Fantayzee in 1983

Krugozor was a musical magazine with flexi-discs issued in the Soviet Union by Melodiya. The magazine was started in 1964. From 1968, it published a related-issue magazine for children, Kolobok. Krugozor was published at Pravda publishing house.

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<i>The Thompson Twins Adventure</i>

The Thompson Twins Adventure is a 1984 graphic adventure game that was distributed by Computer and Video Games magazine as a promotional 7" flexi disc "freebie" along with its October 1984 issue. The game is based on the Thompson Twins' single "Doctor! Doctor!", and features the Thompson Twins band members as the protagonists. The unusual storage format of the game showcases an experimental technique pioneered by the London-based Flexi Records label, and places the game alongside a small handful of other games distributed on grooved disks. This format never became established and The Thompson Twins Adventure is today valued more for its nostalgic and artifactual value than for its ludological aspects which have been uniformly panned by critics.

<i>Spoiled Identity EP</i> 2014 EP by Iron Reagan

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  1. Penchansky, Alan (November 10, 1979). "New Building for 'Soundsheets' Firm". Billboard. Vol. 91 no. 45. New York: Billboard Publications. p. 88. ISSN   0006-2510.
  2. US Trademark for "Soundsheets" was granted to Eva-Tone Soundsheets, Inc. in 1982. The term was first used in commerce in April 1962. Trademark Serial Number: 73399790, Registration Number: 1258434
  3. 1 2 3 Foley, Ryan (June 18, 2007). "Disposable Pop: A History of the Flexi Disc". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  4. 1 2 "Soundsheet Product Line is Retired". Eva-tone. August 2000. Archived from the original on October 25, 2004. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
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  15. Maloney, Devon (April 19, 2012). "Hear Dirty Projectors' Record Store Day Demo 'You Against the Larger World'". SPIN . Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  16. ""Smugglers Way Vol. 1," Domino USA". Domino USA. April 20, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
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  18. "| Seite 2". Punkrock-fanzine.de. 2013-11-08. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
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  20. More "rock on bones" roentgenizdat flexi records
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