Vinyl vs LP – What’s The Difference?

Vinyl is the material used to create a physical vinyl record while an LP stands for “Long Play”, which originally referred to a particular type of vinyl record that could hold about 22 minutes of music per side. LP is now used interchangeably with the word album, even when the album is distributed digitally.

Why Is It Called A Vinyl?

Vinyl is a type of plastic resin that is used in the manufacturing of records. It became the term used to refer to records because before the 1970s, almost all records were made of polyvinyl chloride or PVC.

A vinyl is shaped like a huge disc and can be played using a turntable. A stylus is placed on the record in order to read the sound vibrations that are encoded on it. Even though it’s no longer the most popular format, there are still a pretty significant amount of people around the world that love and appreciate the sound of vinyl.

Why Is Vinyl So Sought After?

There are a few reasons why vinyl is so sought after by music lovers.

  1. Vintage collectors also appreciate the unique sound of vinyl. The crackling of the needle on the record, for example, is often seen as part of the vinyl experience (read our article on why do vinyl records crackle to learn more).
  2. Vinyl also has a tangible quality to it that digital formats lack. You can hold a record in your hand, look at the artwork, and even smell the ink on the label. There’s something about this physicality that appeals to many music lovers.
  3. Another reason vinyl is so popular is that it forces you to slow down and appreciate the music. With digital formats, it’s easy to skip around from track to track or create a playlist of your favorite songs. But with vinyl, you have to carefully select the record you want to listen to, take it out of the sleeve, and place it on the turntable.

Vinyl offers a unique listening experience, and it’s no wonder they’re still so sought after by music lovers around the world.

But there’s a big case to be made to listen to music digitally instead of vinyl, particularly if you have high-quality lossless formats of your music. Check out our article Is vinyl better to learn both sides of the story!

Why Is It Called An LP?

An LP originally referred to a 331⁄3 RPM long-playing vinyl record that can store around 22 minutes of music per side, this was far more than previous formats, such as the standard 78 RPM vinyl records which were limited to around 3-5 minutes per side. The term is now also used as a generic name for full-length albums regardless of the format.

What Is A Double LP?

A double LP is a vinyl record that has two records in one. This means that it has two sides, both of which hold tracks. Double LPs are usually used for albums that are too long to fit on a single LP. They’re also sometimes used as a way to release live albums or compilations.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what each term means, it’s easy to see that there is a difference between vinyl and an LP. Vinyl is a type of plastic that is used to make records, while an LP is a particular format of vinyl record.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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