What was the first 45 you ever bought?
The 45 had the same smaller-sized groove as the LP, and the center hole was larger. 45s became popular in jukeboxes, which had previously used 78s, because 45s took up less space and you could fit more songs in the box. Suddenly jukes went from offering 24 or 40 songs on 78s to having 100 to 200 songs on 45s. 45s are also made of vinyl rather than shellac, and can hold up to about 5 minutes of music on each side. 45s are still being made in limited quantities for jukebox operators who have not upgraded to newer CD jukeboxes, so you can still get some of the latest releases on 45.
The sales of singles are recorded in record charts in most countries in a Top 40 format. These charts are often published in magazines and numerous television shows and radio programs count down the list. In order to be eligible for inclusion in the charts the single must meet the requirements set by the charting company, usually governing the number of songs and the total playing time of the single.
In popular music, the commercial and artistic importance of the single (as compared to the EP or album) has varied over time, technological development, and according to the audience of particular artists and genres. Singles have generally been more important to artists who sell to the youngest purchasers of music (younger teenagers and pre-teens), who tend to have more limited financial resources. Perhaps the golden age of the single was on 45’s in the 1950s to early 1960s in the early years of rock music. Starting in the mid-sixties, albums became a greater focus and more important as artists created albums of uniformly high quality and coherent themes, a trend which reached its apex in the development of the concept album. Over the 1990s and early 2000s, the single generally received less and less attention in the United States as albums, which on Compact Disc had virtually identical production and distribution costs but could be sold at a higher price, became most retailers’ primary method of selling music. Singles continued to be produced in the UK and Australia, surviving the transition from compact disc to digital download.
The discontinuation of the single has been cited as a major marketing mistake by the record companies considering it eliminated an inexpensive recording format for young fans to become accustomed to purchasing music. In its place was the predominance of the album which alienated customers for the expense of purchasing an expensive format for only one or two songs of interest. This in turn encouraged interest in file sharing software on the internet like Napster for single recordings initially which began to seriously undercut the music recording market.