Color-Coding 7-Inch Singles

30 Dec 2014

When Columbia Records introduced the 12-inch long-playing recorded in June 1948, they offered to license the new format to their rivals at RCA. 

CEO David Sarnoff would have none of it and ordered his engineers to come up with something better.

The result was the 7-inch 45 RPM single, introduced by RCA in March 1949.  It differed from the LP in several ways.

  1. It was smaller;
  2. It had a big hole in the center;
  3. It was designed to play only on RCA-manufactured turntables; and
  4. All 45s were color-coded by genre.


Black vinyl:  Popular songs
Red: Classical
Midnight blue:  Popular classical
Yellow:  Children’s music
Green:  Country & western
Cerise:  Rhythm and blues
International releases:  Sky blue.

An interesting idea, but it didn’t last very long.

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