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12-inch single

From Academic Kids

The 12-inch [30 cm] single gramophone record gained popularity with the advent of disco music in the 1970s. As the songs became much longer than the average pop song but the DJ in the club wanted a sufficient sound level, the format had to be changed from the 175 mm (7") single. Since production costs for 175 mm (7"), 250 mm (10"), and 30 cm (12") records were about the same by this time, there was no real motivation to use the smaller formats.

Record producers also sought a loud recording level to compensate for the poor signal-to-noise ratio, apparent when simply turning the volume up during playback. A loud recording level requires more space as the grooves' excursions (especially in the low-end so important for dance music) become much greater. Later music styles took advantage of this new format an recording levels on vinyl 30 cm (12") maxis have steadily increased, culminating in the extremely loud (or "hot") cuts of drum and bass records of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Many record labels produced only 12" singles (in addition to albums) during the 1980s, such as Factory Records. A Factory artist, New Order, produced the highest-selling 12" record ever, Blue Monday, somewhat helped by the lack of 7" versions of the track.

Maxi-singles

The term "12-inch [30 cm]" usually refers to a single with several remixes. Now that advances in compact disc player technology have made the CD acceptable for mixing and "turntablism", the term maxi single is increasingly used.

In the mid-late 1980s, prior to the rise in popularity of the CD single, vinyl maxi-singles for popular artists often included "bonus" songs that were not included on albums, in a manner similar to the older EP format.

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