1968 Retrospect: Recorded Music Formats

In 1968, recorded music sales hit $2 billion worldwide, with about half of that being in the United States. Of the sales, 60% went to LP albums, 30% to single disks (45s), and 10% to tapes (including 4-track, 8-track, and cassette).

1968 was a turning point for the cassette format. It was the first year that cassette player sales surged past 4-track and 8-track equipment sales. Further, cassettes player sales were set to move past record players within five years.

 

A new format was introduced in 1968 that you may have never heard of: The Pocket Disc. It was introduced toward the end of the year as a truly portable format. It was 4 inches in diameter and sold for 49 cents. The idea was that you could put it in your pocket and take it with you to play at a friend’s house. It would play on a standard turntable (so long as it wasn’t one of the automatic ones) or you could purchase a smaller version of the turntable to play these discs. They even sold the discs in vending machines. However, this was a short-lived fad–passing into oblivion after only a couple of years.

Because of the short life of this format, I have not been able to find a lot of other information. The discs are extremely rare and go for hundreds of dollars now.

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2 Responses to “1968 Retrospect: Recorded Music Formats”

  1. saintpaulgrrl Says:

    Thanks for this little nugget of trivia. I was 13 in 1968 and was in my prime for vinyl LPs and 45s scattered all over the bedroom floor. I hadn’t heard of these “pocket discs.” (I do still have a turntable hooked up to my audio system and play selections from my vinyl collection from time to time.)

  2. Nectarfizz Says:

    Just don’t sit down with one in your back pocket.


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