This mistake is very common when listening to vinyls. The error can provide a great deal of embarrassment depending on the time it takes you to notice it, and the amount of people present.

There are also lots of 12"s with different RPM on each side. With those, the screw-up is very easy to make.

But at least in minimal or experimental electronic music, a record can in some cases work just as well or even better at the wrong speed. Especially the works of Wolfgang Voigt can provide surprising results this way.
In some instances, the wrong RPM is deliberately printed on the label for this reason. (I recall this being done by Voigt on Profan.)
Playing a record at the wrong speed is absolutely vital for the art of beat matching. As not every track are the exact same BPM (Beats per minute), you need to adjust the pitch so that you can line them up correctly.

Most modern turntables, such as Technic's SL-1200s, have a variable pitch control that allow the adjustment of -8% to +8%.

See Beat Matching 101: A dj primer.

The famous jazz pianist, Teddy Wilson, used this technique as a young boy to pick out fast runs by ear.

Although this kind of ear training is vital to the learning process, it is no longer this easy because music is mostly distributed on CD now.

However, with a little bit of tech savvy you can still accomplish something similar. Use CD ripper software to get a track or part of a track from the CD. Next, use a digital audio editing program to slow down the clip. Be sure to use an algorithm that preserves the pitch while changing the speed. Most modern editing software should have something like this (even Windows Sound Recorder has this capability).

Right place, right time, wrong speed.

Last Christmas, Christmas 2003, John Peel ran a competition to have his listeners design a badge for his show. Some of the finalists were hilarious and played on John's most familiar catchphrases. For example: "Click on my face", my particular favourite, based on the phrase that John repeated every evening on his show when navigating listeners to his homepage on the BBC, Radio 1 website. The winning entry was a badge that said "Right place, right time, wrong speed", based on John's tendency to play at least one record at the wrong speed on every single show. Sometimes he would realise immediately that he was playing the record too fast/too slow, but would find that he actually preffered the speeded up/slowed down version and would leave it playing at the wrong speed for the duration of the song often playing it again, immediately afterwards at the correct speed!

John Peel died today, 26th October 2004, he will be sadly missed. Rest In Peace John.

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