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Fanfic / The Vinyl Scratch Tapes

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"In the year 1001 of the Celestia calendar, Equestrian scientists developed advanced magic making it possible to broadcast music over long distances. This innovation was called “radio,” and quickly became a sensation throughout Equestria. For a period of time, only one frequency playing classical music was available. This changed when a popular young disk jockey with the stage name DJ-P0n3 (born Vinyl Agatha Scratch) formally proposed the creation of an independent radio station called K-COLT. It was approved, with DJ-P0n3 as the host. In addition to playing rock-and-roll and other popular music, DJ-P0n3 also hosted the first Equestrian talk show known as 'The Vinyl Scratch.' These broadcasts were recorded for historical significance."

The Vinyl Scratch Tapes is a dramedy fanfic for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Written by Corey W Williams and featured on both Equestria Daily and (the story can also be read here on the latter site), The Vinyl Scratch Tapes is a record following two of the MLP:FiM fandom’s favorite background ponies, Vinyl Scratch and Octavia, as Radio Talk Show hosts. In this story, Vinyl is an eccentric, uninhibited Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and Octavia is her Beleaguered Assistant. Hilarity Ensues, along with some shipping (which becomes increasingly prominent as the story progresses) and a surprising amount of Character Development.

There are now two complete seasons. According to Word of God, Season 3 was in the works, but was cancelled to avoid Seasonal Rot.

The whole thing was being adapted into an audio drama on YouTube by Midnight Magic Productions. Begin here. It was ultimately cancelled after the 5th episode. However, Featherfall Studios is working on a remake of this audio version that will supposedly continue all the way to the end of the fic, starting with a short prequel video.

The Vinyl Scratch Tropes:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Lampshaded.
    Octavia: Do you just…have a thing for alliteration or something?
    Vinyl: And the pony who just used a word I don’t understand is my lovely co-host, Octavia.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Featherfall Studios Audio Adaptation has some extra content that wasn't in the original fanfic via the "Negative Tapes" side episodes. The first NT episode actually shows Vinyl's first meeting with Celestia and how she convinced the princess to let her have her own radio show.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Despite the Can't Hold Her Liquor incident below, real horses can't throw up.
  • The Atoner:
    • Princess Luna knows she screwed up way back when, and her attempt to reach out to Blueblood was part of an overall attempt to make amends for things. She gets royally ticked when she finds out it was Vinyl who guilt-tripped Celestia when she was the one who screwed up.
    • Blueblood himself after his Heel Realization.
  • Attention Whore:
    • Vinyl and Trixie.
    • Prince Blueblood. At best.
  • Audio Adaptation: Beginning here.
  • Badass Boast: Vinyl drops a decidedly Kamina-esque one at the end of the first broadcast.
    Vinyl: “That is the spirit of radio! There’s no limits! We’re here for truth, justice, and the power of rock and roll! It is our way! It is the only way! Even if we stop broadcasting, our signal will just travel across the universe forever! Stars fade away, comets burn out, black holes devour suns, but even out there in the black, ROCK will always live on! That means music will last longer than the heavens themselves! That is radio! That is K-COLT! And THAT. IS. THE VINYL SCRATCH!
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Octavia at the beginning of the story, although her role on the show rapidly becomes equal to Vinyl's.
  • Berserk Button:
    • If you mess with one of Octavia's friends, she will beat the crap out of you. If you mess with Octavia, Vinyl will call you a jerk, go out of her way to humiliate you, and then have security (the Diamond Dogs) beat the crap out of you.
    • Make false accusations about Celestia, and when Luna gets the chance to take it out on you, being deafened by the ROYAL CANTERLOT VOICE is going to be the least of your problems.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Octavia doesn't take it well when her friends are threatened.
  • Bigger Than Jesus: Possibly invoked by Vinyl in Season 2 episode 2 when talking about Octavia's ensemble.
    Vinyl: "Octy’s just being modest. Now, not that I’m the type of pony to brag or anything…"
    Octavia: "Oh, here we go…"
    Vinyl: "But they are bigger than Celestia now!"
  • Big "NO!": Vinyl does this after Spitfire reveals an embarrassing childhood secret: As a young filly, before she got her cutie mark, Vinyl simply loved playing the accordion!
  • Bullying a Dragon: Vinyl spends the interview with Princess Celestia — the lady by whose good graces the radio show, and daytime, even exist— relentlessly badgering her about sentencing Luna to 1,000 years of boredom and loneliness on the moon, much to Octavia's horror. Though this dragon has family members willing to fight on her behalf. One's stupid and incompetent. The other…isn't.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Vinyl. She shamelessly teases, if not outright mocks, just about everyone she interacts with on the show, yet she's still incredibly popular and successful.
  • The Cameo: Various. It is a Radio Talk Show, after all.
    • Princess Celestia in Chapter 1
    • Spitfire in Chapter 2.
    • Photo Finish is mentioned in Chapter 2, and apparently threw a camera at Vinyl after the latter made fun of her accent and implied it was fake.
    • The Cutie Mark Crusaders, the Diamond Dogs, and Prince Blueblood in Chapter 3.
    • During the CMC scene, Twilight Sparkle gets one line—the only appearance by any of the Mane Six.
    • Also in Chapter 3, K-Colt is now sponsored by Derpy Express, Equestria's most endearing delivery service. They even include free Muffins!
    • And in Chapter 4, Trixie becomes K-Colt's latest sponsor, with a hilariously long, self-promoting spiel. Octavia notes that she's somehow even more egotistical than Vinyl.
    • In Chapter 2 Part 1, Twilight is almost mentioned by name as a sponsor.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Trixie in Season 2 Chapter 5. The result:
    Octavia: It's on my hooves!
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • In Season 2 Chapter 3, lines delivered by Princess Luna show that Vinyl's attitude towards Princess Celestia in the first season's first episode was completely out of line and that Blueblood knows how much he's hated and that his life has become almost a living hell because of what Vinyl did during Season 1 episodes 3 and 4.
    • Blueblood calling Octavia's band mediocre in a private moment to Trixie would imply his cancellation of Octavia's shows wasn't motivated purely by spite, even if spite probably did play a role in the timing.
  • Chewbacca Defense: Vinyl in Season 2 Chapter 2 applies this to Octavia upon hearing that somepony wants to do a Scooby-Doo-esque show starring her and her ensemble.
    Octavia: What do solving mysteries have to do with music anyway?
    Vinyl: What don't they have to do with it?
    Octavia: …that's so stupid I don't know how to respond.
    Vinyl: Hurray, that means I win by default!
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Vinyl, as Octavia often points out.
  • Crossover: At one point, Doctor Whooves Adventures did a crossover with the audio version, where they performed a Q&A session together. It was rather easy to set up, because the voice of the Doctor (The Jamjar) is also the director of the audio version of The Vinyl Scratch Tapes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The entire story is one for the two mane characters. Also, Williams takes the other members of Octavia's ensemble (who are often ignored by the fandom) and gives them names, personalities and dialogue (except for Harpo Parish Nadermane, who's The Voiceless until chapter two of the second season.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much Octavia’s default setting.
    • Though Vinyl tends to snark quite a bit too:
      Celestia (on the topic of imprisoning Luna on the moon): T-that’s a bit out of context.
      Vinyl: Fair enough. Please explain the context of hurling your little sister into the dark reaches of space.
    • The snark almost reaches critical mass when Vinyl and Octavia are guests on Blueblood and Trixie's radio show in Season 2 Episode 5. Literally everypony has a few sarcastic lines.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Octavia's Character Development throughout the story. She evolves from barely tolerating Vinyl's loud mouth and outrageous antics to realizing that she's really a good pony and becoming friends with her. Season 2 takes this further when they move in together.
  • Did Not Think This Through:
    • Little Vinyl had a habit of swiping any musical instrument that caught her eye during her quest to obtain her Cutie Mark. When she found one that she absolutely loved, she decided to invite everyone to her concert performance, including that instrument's rightful owner, the local sheriff.
    • Prince Blueblood, who doesn't see any problems with outlining his brilliant plot to get K-COLT off the air in front of a huge, increasingly angry audience.
  • Dramatic Thunder:
    • Trixie punctuates her dramatic speech to kick off National Pony Radio with this. It ends up setting the studio on fire.
    • Also used by Luna. BIG TIME!!!
  • Dumbass DJ: Subverted with Vinyl herself.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Did you know Vinyl's middle name is Agatha?
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Trixie is appalled at Blueblood's plan to ruin Octavia's career.
  • Flanderization: Prince Blueblood is turned from a shallow, snobby, self-absorbed Jerkass to a guy who lives to make everyone around him miserable through his inconsiderate excesses. The series portrays the Diamond Dog Rover in a less unpleasant light. For the record, in the actual show, Rover is an aggressive, foul-smelling, dim-witted, criminal slaver. As of Season two, however, he's been getting some Character Development. and at the end of the season seems to be tentatively entering a friendship with Vinyl.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Given the fic is based on in-universe recordings of the show and we're told it went on to become immensely popular and long-running, the efforts of Prince Blueblood to ruin it are doomed to failure.
  • Group Hug: Initiated by Beauty Brass near the end of the interview with Octavia's ensemble.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In Season 2, Chapter 5 Blueblood more or less reverses the planned damage he would have done to Octavia and her Ensemble and turns over management of the ensemble to Vinyl.
  • Heel Realization: Blueblood has one at the end of Season 2, Chapter 4.
  • Heroic BSoD: In Season 2, Episode 3, Vinyl suffers one after Luna gives her a massive What the Hell, Hero? speech for insulting her family, never thinking things through, and presuming she could talk on Luna's behalf to the ponies Luna hurt the most.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Between Vinyl and Octavia. Season 2 takes it beyond simple "subtext".
  • Hope Spot: Derpy brings Blueblood an enormous sack of letters, but when he opens it it's all hate mail.
  • Incendiary Exponent: In the Rock Opera Vinyl tries to get Octavia to support, Luna comes down from space to battle Celestia riding a chariot "made of fire, vengeance, and more fire."
  • Innocently Insensitive: Blueblood has a few of these moments. The whole feud started because he thought that taking Vinyl down a peg was the right thing to do. He also accidentally insults Trixie while he was trying to cheer her up. He's an ass, sure, but several of his actions are attempts at being good that blow up in his face.
  • In-Series Nickname: Vinyl Scratch introduces herself with a different self-aggrandizing nickname in each chapter. Most of them are alliterative as well.
    • Chapter 1: "The Turntable Temptress"
    • Chapter 2: "The Priestess of Punk"
    • Chapter 3: "The Devious Disc Diva"
    • Chapter 4: "The Diabolical Musical Mastermind"
    • Season 2, Chapter 1: "The Mad Minstrel Mistress"
    • Season 2, Chapter 2: "The Alluring Artist"
    • Season 2, Chapter 3: "The Elegant Elitist Egotist" (not used by Vinyl, but by Octavia to mock her)
    • Season 2, Chapter 5: "The Ravishing Rocker", plus "Octavia, the assistant with no alliterative title to speak of."
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Twice (that we see). They seem to have finally figured out how to know when they’re back on…three weeks after their first broadcast.
    • Inverted in Season 2, Episode 3 when Octavia tries to fill time solo by telling a slew of embarrassing stories about herself without knowing the station was off the air thanks to Luna losing her temper.
  • It's All About Me: If there's ever a competition for "who fits this trope best", Blueblood will win the grand prize.
  • Jerkass: Blueblood, even more so than canon. At least for a while.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Subverted. Celestia acts like this is the case after Vinyl chews her out…but when she meets Luna, she makes it very clear Vinyl didn't know what she was talking about. And she is not happy.
  • Jerkass Realization: Two characters have them. Vinyl has one following Luna's "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Prince Blueblood also has one to go along with his Heel Realization.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: This is how Spitfire describes Vinyl, after Octavia expresses doubts about her relationship with the DJ.
    Spitfire: Vinyl doesn’t talk about her feelings much, but she has them. She’ll act like nothing bothers her, laugh, and make fun of you…but she’ll also never tell you a lie, she’ll never cross the line once it’s been drawn, and she’ll never, ever, let you down when you really need her.
    • And she doesn't.
  • Just Ignore It: How Vinyl and Octavia eventually react to Blueblood's repeated phone calls threatening to shut their show down.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Rover is hired to be security at Vinyl's party. The fact that he has unrepentantly attempted to/succeeded in assaulting, kidnapping, and enslaving Equestrian citizens is quickly glossed over, though Trixie does use him as an example of Vinyl and her friends' hypocrisy.
    • Trixie accuses Vinyl of being one in her rant against Vinyl and her friends.
  • Large Ham: Vinyl.
    • Their rival station National Pony Radio seems to be joining in on the act in season two. Having The Great And Powerful Trixie as co-host will do that.
  • Lethal Chef: A certain classical musician prepares an apple pie containing mushrooms. Vinyl eats it anyway because Octavia made it for her.
  • Loveable Rogue: Vinyl was one as a filly.
    • She continues into her adulthood, storing bail money under her desk and throwing an illegal concert.
  • Morality Chain: This is how Vinyl thinks of Octavia. From Season 2, Episode 4:
    Vinyl [to Octavia]: You just always bring out the best in me. I’m…I’m not really sure what I’d be…without you.
  • No Indoor Voice: Beauty Brass, more often than not.
  • Mythology Gag: The 2nd Negative Tapes episode has two of these in regards to some What Could Have Been situations surrounding the fic and the first Audio Adaptation:
    • The video starts out with Vinyl being stuck having to host the radio show by herself due to Octavia being sick. When the fanfic was originally conceived, Vinyl was initially going to be the only main character before Corey decided to add Octavia in as well.
    • Vinyl ends up deciding to imitate Octavia in order to try and keep ratings from going down. Hannah K, the voice actress of Vinyl in both this and the original audio version of the fic, had initially auditioned for both Vinyl and Octavia and was quite proud of her Octavia voice, only to end up getting accepted as Vinyl's voice actress.
  • Not Me This Time: Blueblood's co-opting of Princess Luna in Season 2, Episode 3 was not due to any intentional actions on his part.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Vinyl uses the exact phrase while comparing herself with Prince Blueblood in Season 2, Chapter 5.
  • Odd Couple: Vinyl and Octavia, of course.
  • Only Sane Man: In Chapter 3, Octavia introduces herself as "the sane one."
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: At the end of Season 2, Episode 3, Vinyl stops being her loud, obnoxious self after Luna chews her out.
  • Playing Doctor: Vinyl and Spitfire used to do this when they were fillies. It involved Vinyl pretending to saw off Spitfire's leg and then getting hauled in front of the medical board for malpractice.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Vinyl tries using these on Octavia. It usually fails, because she often has her sunglasses on while she's doing it.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: This is how Frédéric Horseshoepin, the pianist in Octavia's ensemble, comes across.
  • Random Events Plot: An in-universe example in the form of Vinyl's Rock Opera.
    Octavia: Look, I will admit this is…creative…but you just can’t have an opera where nonsensical things happen for no reason!
    Vinyl: Clearly you’ve never heard a rock opera before.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Princess Celestia. When Vinyl takes her to task for banishing Luna to the moon, she realizes that the Jerkass Has a Point and goes to apologize to her sister. Later, in Season 2, Episode 3, Princess Luna proceeds to tell Vinyl that she deserved what happened to her and that her sister had nothing to apologize for, and now Vinyl has made her plagued with guilt over something that was Luna's fault.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Vinyl has been on both sides of this trope:
    • She insults Prince Blueblood in Season 1, Chapter 3, while on the radio talk show that she and Octavia host. The thin-skinned prince retaliates by canceling several concerts by Octavia's ensemble. Incensed, DJ-P0n3 gets Blueblood on the phone, and then...
      DJ-P0n3: "I believe you are a bland, unintelligent, cowardly, prissy, stuck-up, laughable excuse for a stallion with a silver spoon shoved so, SO very far up his flank that you cannot possibly relate to anypony, anywhere, ever....My listeners like Octavia, Mr. Blueblood. They don’t like you. Nopony likes you. Heck, I have to wonder if Celestia even likes you. Or if your own mother does. Assuming, you know, you actually have a mother and didn’t just slither out of a pile of filth one day."
    • Vinyl gets one from Princess Luna in Season 2, Chapter 3. It was for making presumptions about what Celestia had to do to stop her and crapping all over her family in her presence, and Vinyl and all her friends get one from Trixie for the blatant hypocrisy and double standards that they employ that make Blueblood a villain for being a jerk, but make Vinyl a hero despite also being a jerk, engaging in a national level smear campaign against someone and bringing a dangerous criminal into the heart of Canterlot.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Vinyl and Octavia.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Blueblood is not smart enough to deal with Vinyl directly, which is why so many of his revenge schemes involve going after the more vulnerable Octavia.
  • Rousing Speech: Vinyl gives a few of them, usually about The Power of Rock.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Prince Blueblood.
    Octavia: "[Sigh.] Still as good at detecting sarcasm as you ever were..."
    Blueblood: "Oh… [Confused.] Well, thank you for the compliment."
    Octavia: "No, I was being…Ugh, you know what, never mind."
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Harpo and Beauty Brass to the EXTREME, with Harpo being The Voiceless (usually) and Beauty Brass having No Indoor Voice.
  • Scaled Up: Vinyl's planned rock opera features Celestia transforming into a serpent. To fight Luna. Who has returned from space on a chariot made from fire and lasers, and used the moon as a throwing weapon. Which explodes on contact. For no reason.
  • Script Fic: A variation; the story purports to be transcripts of Vinyl and Octavia's radio show.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Vinyl is always willing to laugh at herself. At least, until Princess Luna chews her out for disrespecting her family and never thinking things through.
    • In Season 2, Chapter 3, Octy laughs at Vinyl's impression of her…until she starts saying erotic things.
  • Ship Tease: Between Vinyl Scratch and Octavia. Also some between Blueblood and Trixie.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Silent Bob: Harpo turns out to be one in Season 2 Chapter well as The Quiet One.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: The relationship between Vinyl and Octavia, until friendship works its magic.
  • Smug Snake: Prince Blueblood, in spades.…until his Heel Realization and ensuing Heel–Face Turn.
  • Spoof Aesop: With the classic "Be Yourself" life-lesson.
    Spitfire: [Giggles.] No really, it’s fine. Vinyl’s just being herself.
    Octavia: I know. And that’s precisely why it’s wrong.
    Vinyl: Ha, ha, that’s a great lesson, Octy. All you fillies listening, remember what Octavia says: never be yourself.
    Octavia: No, the lesson is to never be like Vinyl. Ever.
    Spitfire: Words to live by. —> [DJ-P0n3 (Vinyl) laughs.]
  • Sunglasses at Night: Vinyl. She claims it's justified because they're prescription sunglasses.
  • Talkative Loon: Vinyl, in contrast with her canon depiction as The Voiceless (or possibly The Speechless).
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Part of Blueblood's Villainous Breakdown in Season 2 Chapter 4.
  • Toilet Humor: Vinyl's collection of Stock Sound Effects includes at least two different fart noises.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Vinyl and Octavia.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Prince Blueblood is already a Jerkass in Canon, but in this story the character is worse than ever. First, he cancels Octavia and her ensemble's performances out of spite after Vinyl mocks him on air. Then, when Vinyl talks Octavia into holding an outdoor concert anyway, he locks Beauty Brass in "the fillies' restroom," then claims to be holding her hostage, with the deed to K-COLT as her ransom. He's made out to be worse than the Diamond Dogs, who in canon, are slavers (albeit stupid ones). However, as noted, he eventually does a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Tsundere: Octavia, and, in Season Two, Trixie.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: When Vinyl wants Octavia to wear a shirt with Octavia's face on it.
    Vinyl: "That way it’d be like there’s two of you! Which actually reminds me of that one dream I had where-"
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Octavia and Vinyl's relationship is heading in this direction.
  • Villain Decay: The Diamond Dogs. They started out as a fairly credible threat in the main series, but have since degraded into dim-witted prank callers who are willing to humiliate themselves for steak.
  • Villain Team-Up: Beginning with The Stinger of Season 2, Chapter 1. Prince Blueblood, who's starting his own radio station to compete with K-COLT, talks with "The Great and Powerful" Trixie about becoming his co-host. In season 2, episode 2, their new radio station launches. And catches fire.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Blueblood spends Season 2 chapter 4 undergoing one, complete with the generation of a master plan that would launch him clean over the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Vinyl and Octavia. The first story has hints that it may blossom into Belligerent Sexual Tension. Season 2 takes it past "hints" to become sub- (and periodically super-, around- and totally enveloping-) text.
  • The Voiceless: Harpo, just like his Marx Brothers equivalent. At least, until Season 2 Chapter 2.
  • We Will Meet Again: Blueblood says this while being thrown out of Octavia's concert.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Vinyl asks Photo Finish, "What accent are we SUPPOSED to think that is?" during an off screen interview and gets a (free!) camera thrown at her head for it.
  • You're Insane!:
    • Octavia says this to Vinyl at the end of the first chapter, but it's more of a resigned lament than an angry accusation.
    • Played straighter in Season 2 Chapter 4 when Blueblood reveals his plan to Trixie.