The LP is the oldest surviving consumer audio format. It was introduced in 1948, and it's still going strong with double-digit sales increases over the last few years. The LP is no longer just a nostalgia trip for baby boomers and Gen Xers; today's high schoolers are discovering vinyl's appeal. The 78 rpm record preceded the LP, and the 45 rpm single arrived soon after the LP, in 1949.
The CD came along in the early 1980s, and while some say its days are numbered, many tens of millions CDs are still sold worldwide every year.
When I polled my Facebook friends and Twitter followers about their favorite legacy audio formats, the analog cassette was by far the most popular. So much so I just ordered a new Walkman-style player, and I'm going to buy some new music on cassette soon. If any of it has merit I'll tell you all about it in the coming weeks.
The pre-digital era saw many consumer analog tape formats rise and fall: reel-to-reel, 4-track, 8-track, cassette, Elcaset (jointly developed by Panasonic, Sony, and Teac in 1976), and a few strange, quickly abandoned formats like the hybrid Digital Compact Cassette that looked like a near twin of the analog cassette.
I used a MiniDisc recorder for many years to record interviews, but now I use a Zoom H1 recorder with SD cards. MiniDisc was far more popular in Japan than the US; Sony introduced it in 1992 and killed it in 2013.
There's a never-ending parade of file formats -- DSF, DFF, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, WMA, APE, OGG, MP4, MP3 -- the list goes on and on.
The latest upstart, MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), is an audio recording, compression and distribution format created by Meridian Audio. It's garnered a fair degree of audiophile buzz, but as yet there's just a trickle of MQA-encoded music and MQA-ready digital converters.
Have I missed your favorite format? I want to hear about it in Comments section!