Vinyl records were the principle method of storing Audio data during the 20th Century, replacing wax cylinders and shellac records. The name "Vinyl" derives from the PVC (Poly-Vinyl-Chloride) plastic used to manufacture the record.
The music is recorded in an analogue manner. A sharp, balanced needle follows spiral grooves in the surface of the record, and oscillations in the position of the groove are converted into electrical signals to drive the speakers. Records typically rotate at 33 or 45 revolutions per minute (rpm).
You can see the oscillations at high magnification in the scanning electron microscope. Many music enthusiasts still consider that the analogue recording of music on vinyl records is still superior to compact disks. However, vinyl records are less durable than compact disks and their use is decreasing - you can see a scratch on this sample which would affect the sound quality. They remain popular with DJ's, who can "scratch" the music by physically moving the record.