My father has a collection of 45’s of various music from the 60’s and 70’s. I’m sure anyone else from that time has a likewise collection. It’s nothing special. Just like today someone might go to the music store and buy a CD of a favorite album, back then they would purchase a LP or 45. What I find advantageous about the old days though, over today, is that one could buy a 45, instead of the LP, and enjoy one or two songs instead of getting stuck with an album of songs that one isn’t interested in listening to. If we’re talking about a top band that one is big on, there is no problem in purchasing the whole album, but there are so many “one-hit wonders” to the point where you just don’t want to take up space with a whole album. Obviously the record players are rare, or perhaps even extinct, but what choice do we have today that our forebears had thirty years ago? What can someone do if he or she just wants to add one song to his collection as opposed to an entire album? Do they manufacture CD’s like they did 45’s with one or two songs?
You can certainly buy CD singles. They come on little CDs that will fit in a special groove in your CD player. They’re not very popular, but sometimes you find them in bigger record stores.
I heard about this thing called “Napster” also, where you could go and download the song of your choice. It used to be free.
As well as the mini-cd’s, there were 7 inch EP records (held about 4 songs). None of the “smaller than album” recording formats ever gained the popularity of the 45. Part of it is economics - these formats represented a much higher cost per recorded minute over their counterparts, while 45’s were cheap enough that people didn’t think about it. But another part, I think was the rise of “album rock” stations in the 70’s - it became harder to know what to put in the small package.
Of course, with napster, maybe we are going to eventually shake out now to where music is something you simply download to your own media, and pre-recorded media will become something sold only to specialty markets. What I find amusing is that when CD’s first came out, I remember wanting exactly that since the music was now digitized data - of course that was long before the internet, and I was envisioning taking your media (bernoulli box technology existed in those days, IIRC) into the store and paying them to write the music of your choice onto it.
There are also CD singles that are the same physical size as album-length ones, in case your CD player can’t play those silly little ones.
The opposite case is true as well, that 78’s were available in albums. But in those days an album looked like a photo album, with multiple sleeves hinged at the spine.
Which is, of course, how the word “album” came to be applied to the 33 1/3 LP’s which replaced them, and has survived to be used for CD’s.
And R. Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders cut a 78 in the 70’s, thereby releasing a record that many people no longer had the equiptment to play.