Skip navigation

Tag Archives: bbc

Listen now! Only 6 days left to listen on the BBC Iplayer

Long before the invention of the MP3, there was a way of getting hold of music, speech, and other audio sensations, free of charge, in the form of flexidiscs. Originally developed in the 1930s to play at 78rpm, by the 1960s, seven-inch, 45rpm flexidiscs were so cheap to produce, and so light and bendy, that they were often given away free with a magazine. In the Soviet Union, though, where flexidiscs were called roentgenizdat, and were recorded on disused medical x-ray sheets, the audio was usually of an illegal nature, such as jazz music, or, later, punk rock. In telling the story of the flexidisc, we’ll hear plenty of music, some of which is now valuable (such as the Rolling Stones Exit on Mainstreet Blues, given away with New Musical Express in 1972).