Needle drop (audio)
A needle drop is a version of a music album that has been transferred from a vinyl record to digital audio or other formats. Needle drops are sometimes traded among music collectors, especially when the original vinyl recording has not been released officially on a subsequent consumer format.
Other reasons for trading needle drops include the lack of availability of certain recordings on digital media, the non-availability of less compressed versions in digital form, or the lack of availability of certain versions or mixes of that record, e.g. mono or stereo versions, or the loss of the master tape. The term is thought to have been coined in 1949 by Peter Goldmark during the first rush of transfers of lacquer and 78 rpm records to the then-new long playing 33 ⅓ RPM format.
In music history classes in university, a "needle drop" is an examination in which the professor selects an excerpt from the a previously assigned music listening list, and the students have to determine which piece is being played. In order to prepare for a "needle drop" exam, students have to listen to the assigned music and take note of unique elements that can be used to identify the piece if it is played. For example, if one of the assigned works is for a string orchestra with a harpsichord solo, and this is the only piece with harpsichord, then this enables the student to identify the piece.