The Soviet Roentigenizdat Solution

05 Jan 2015

When rock n’ roll began to spread eastward through Europe in the 1950s, Soviet authorities became very alarmed at this rebellious, capitalist music.  Rock was effectively banned behind the Iron Curtain.                                                        


Official policy, however, did not stop the music from spreading.  Although it was nearly impossible to trade in proper vinyl records and 78s, some enterprising Russians found ways to smuggle this music to fans.



Soviet music rebels distributed music on used x-ray film. Grooves were cut right into the film.  They weren’t very durable—and it was sometimes a little odd to see a chest x-ray spinning on your record player, but it got the job done.  This underground music distribution system—known as roentigenizdat–was made illegal in 1958.  Authorities set up music patrols and tried to curb illegal music activity throughout the USSR.

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