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March 2020 Retro Gaming Article


March 4, 2020 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Metallica launches a vinyl subscription to include rare cuts, demos & rough mixes, and live rarities

Metallica launches a vinyl subscription club
The resurgence of vinyl has prompted many artists to use the medium for special edition releases. Metallica joins the club.
As vinyl continues to make a comeback, many artists are releasing their albums on both vinyl and CD, along with the digital versions. Vinyl subscription clubs have become a unique way for artists to release special edition tracks for fans. Metallica has launched a vinyl club consisting of four releases each year. You can choose to receive them on their individual release dates or wait for one shipment at year's end.

Those new to vinyl are most likely accustomed to the 12-inch LPs containing an entire album on it's two sides. Metallica's vinyl club stipulates each release will come on a 7-inch disc, also called a "45" due to the speed it must spin to play properly. The 7-inch format can also be cut at 33⅓. A 7-inch disc was often used for releasing singles. A less popular song was on the second (or"B") side. This is where the term B Side" came from. Sometimes the song on the back of a 45 was better than the single!

The metallica subscription uses the 7-inch 33⅓ format, but specify it as the "small-hole" format. Back in the day, your turntable needed an adapter to play 45s because the hole in the center was much larger than on the larger LPs. The 45s I grew up with (larger hole) cold hold about 4½ minutes of music on each side. I'm not familiar with the small-hole format, but it seems to hold six minutes per side. I mention all this for those who might be expecting a lot more music than this on each release.

Some Of Us Grew Up Before Digital Formats

I grew up on vinyl, so it's interesting to see it come back and reach sales beyond CDs. I loved buying albums back in the 70s and 80s, but the durability and convenience of Compact Discs had big appeal to me (and a lot of other folks). A lot of kids have now grown up in the digital MP3 era in which physical copies and analog are foreign concepts.

Imagine growing up in a digital world where physical media no longer exist - your digital music is on your smartphone! There are a lot of kids who fit this demographic. Imagine being told a large 12-inch plastic disc could be used to store music within the tiny grooves on the disc. Stranger still... listening to these discs involves a diamond-tipped needle (whoa that's analog) resting on a turntable that spins the disc at 33⅓ rounds per minute. Would kids today even believe any of this was possible?

The Metallica vinyl club sounds cool for those looking for unique collectable items for their collection. It's worth mentioning these analog releases also have a digital component for those who want to take some cool Metallica tracks on the go!

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