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Flexi discs, also known as phonosheets and Soundsheets, are “flexible” plastic sheets that can be played on turntables. This audio format was used for a wide variety of purposes including promotional materials, giveaways, and inserts into magazines, stemming from their origins in playable chocolate discs in the early 1900s (Parks, 2018). At one point in time it was a $9 million dollar business, with the U.S. government as one of the top users of the technology (Penchansky, 1979). Their disposable nature, weight, ability to print directly on material, and affordable manufacturing made the flexi disc an alternative to vinyl pressings. However, the format was soon forgotten as digital compact discs, and eventually computer-based media, replaced the format. This paper presentation will examine the history of flexi discs, their international impact within Poland, Soviet Russia, their collectability within the international punk community, and their contemporary resurgence among music magazines and independent labels.


Presented at the 53rd Annual Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Conference, Portland, OR, May 10, 2019.