The Flexi-Disc is Back!!
Since the 1950s, the Flexi-Disc has been a greatly under appreciated format of recording sound. During its preeminent years, Flexis were primarily used as promotional tools and other sorts of voice recordings (at least in North America and Western Europe). The success of the technology is due (in part) toThe Beatles Christmas Records, which you can read about here, or listen to here. The medium took a completely different turn in Eastern Europe, as iron curtain nations had banned popular music. What started on the back of discarded x-rays turned into postcards and have become a highly sought after collectable item today. Here’s a great explaination.
Click here to see (and hear) a great collection of Flexis
I have always loved the idea of getting free music from a magazine. Growing up when I did, I just missed the Flexi-Disc era, but I do appreciate the higher quality of music from the CDs (or download links) that now come with magazines. I guess I just appreciate the quirkiness of this medium. I love how there were (and still are) so many of these made, any semblance of a complete collection is impossible. By the 1990s, production had halted drastically, and by 2000, they were gone, as was documented here
The Kills latest single, as printed on a Flexi
However, in recent years, the old-is-new-again crowd (and the flourishing vinyl resurgence) has brought this once dead format back to life. Bands like The Kills
are producing them, magazines like Decibel
are including them in their pages again. And if you’re looking to have some printed up, you can totally do that too. In Canada, I’d say to try Vinyl Record Guru
only because I’ve spoken with them, and they definitely still make ’em.
The future is unknown for this relatively obscure product. Manufacturing costs that were once drastically lower then vinyl have since risen, but releases geared towards the collectors market are moving well.
There are also many records available on eBay, and other sites. For the time being, this seems to be something that will be sticking around again.
Here are some more Flexi-Disc Resources. If you find more, post ’em in the comments, and I will add them.