This special section began as something between a lark and an imperative: How, after all, could the Journal of Popular Music Studies let the auspiciously numbered issue 33.3 pass by without marking the occasion? The slowing down of a phonograph record’s movement to 33⅓ revolutions per minute (or some variable approximation of that measurement, as Jonathan Sterne explains here) has made possible an array of forms and practices, including the long-playing album, the concept album, gatefold cover art, scratching and beat-matching, crate-digging, and the series of album-based books named after that rotational speed. The LP’s persistence in the twenty-first century hints at some of the ways popular music—its memories, its cultures, its material shapes—can endure across time.

With all these avenues and more in mind, the editors of JPMS issued a call for keyword-style entries on any term or concept carrying a credible link to 33⅓. Co–associate editor Roshanak Kheshti and I were rewarded with a surfeit of pitches, and this special section is the result. In taking up a range of once-novel innovations and their continual redeployments in the present, the contributors to this section listen closely to the ongoing resonances of the vinyl album form, with all its accoutrements, in our digital age.

Sara Marcus