If you thought vinyl was a thing of the past, think again.
While iTunes and Amazon are still the primary places to purchase music, vinyl records are creeping their way back into the homes of music lovers all over the nation.
If downloading music from iTunes, or even purchasing a CD from Amazon, comes with such ease, why are many people making the effort to purchase an album on vinyl, when you also need a record player to play it? Is it a “hipster” trend? Or is it the nostalgia it brings? Read on!
“It’s not just older fans who grew up with the decades-old format who attest to its tangible pleasures – the arresting artwork, the labor of love that goes into flipping LP sides and the fact that many audiophiles say vinyl sounds better,” said August Brown in his article in the LA Times. “Younger listeners raised on torrent files can see LPs as a kind of talisman too.”
The rediscovering of vinyl is not just coming from those who grew up with it, but also young adults who simply enjoy how music sounds on vinyl as opposed to digital. Buying an album on vinyl also forces the listener to listen to a band’s entire album, rather than the singles played on the radio. Plus, how many people appreciate what a band’s album art looks like?
“Album artwork has become a lost art,” said intern reporter Alyse Backus in her article on Missoulian.com. “Music [also] doesn’t sound the same anymore. Gone are the days of analog music in which the third cello in a symphony comes to life over the warm sounds of a record on a scratchy turntable.”
Bands like The Killers are even putting their albums out on vinyl to keep up with the trends. I also follow several small bands on Facebook and see in the comments that fans often request them to put their records out on vinyl.
According to Brown’s article, last year the Nielsen SoundScan reported 1.88 million sales of new LPs, and a Wall Street Journal article by Eric Felton reported that while CD sales dropped 5 percent, vinyl increased by 36%. These are crazy numbers for a way of purchasing music that also requires owning a record player!
"Vinyl is decidedly inconvenient, which is the very reason it appeals,“ Felton said. "To play records, you have to be relatively engaged in the activity…Vinyl demands—and encourages—more attention.”
I bought my first vinyl after seeing PAPA perform a small show in Santa Ana, California last month. I loved their music and thought about how much better their EP would sound on vinyl. It may cost more, but vinyl is worth it, as the statistics show.
Digital music will continue to dominate the music world, but this resurrection of vinyl is bringing a new value to the music industry that, hopefully, is here to stay.