It doesn’t take a hipster to love vinyl
No one could have guessed vinyl records would make a comeback.
Vinyl was considered old news after the birth of the cassette tape, let alone CDs and MP3s. But against all odds, vinyl has become the premiere format for collectible music. In fact, vinyl is doing so well these days, it’s a billion dollar industry.
Just take a second to let that sink in. A billion-dollar industry. Honestly, even if you’re a vinyl collector, can you actually believe 40 million records were sold in 2017? That’s insane!
Yes, vinyl is more alive than ever, and it’s not just thanks to hipster college kids looking to decorate their dorm rooms. If you’re wondering what the appeal of vinyl is, here are five reasons you might want to break out your old record player again.
5: The cover art is gorgeous.
Every format since vinyl strives to be compact. Heck, “CD” literally stands for compact disc! While this has functional advantages, smaller formats mean it’s hard to fully appreciate great cover art.
Meanwhile, a new vinyl record is like getting a new painting. Details that wash out on other formats look bright and vibrant on a vinyl sleeve. If you like to show off your music as much as you like to listen to it, there’s no better way to go than vinyl.
4: It sounds better (depending on who you ask).
This one’s a bit controversial. A lot of vinyl collectors insist that the sound quality on vinyl records is unmatched. Whether they mean the sound quality is superior or just like the fuzzy scratchy sounds of the record player will depend on who you ask. And hey, if the music sounds better to the person collecting it, then it’s not like they need to justify their stance anyway.
Many audiophiles have argued against vinyl, and have cited the numerous advantages of CDs and digital formats. Because I am but a writer who likes to talk about collectibles. I honestly can’t chime in authoritatively on the subject. What I do know is Elijah Wood likes vinyl, and that’s a good enough endorsement for me.
3: You usually get a code for an MP3 download with it anyway.
Of course, even if vinyl doesn’t sound as good as MP3s, many modern records straight up come with the MP3s anyway.
This is always a great boon for collectors. It’s always a struggle to know whether to unbox your collectibles or not, but vinyl often gives you the best of both worlds. In other words, vinyl is one of the easiest collectibles to keep in good condition.
2: Listening to a record is a ritual.
Modern music is predicated on ease of use. At any given moment, I can find virtually any song in the world to listen to with just a google search. And when it comes to my personal library of music, I can find any song I want by typing in the first two letters of the title. Imagine potato chips appearing on your lap the moment you craved a snack. That’s basically modern music.
Vinyl is the antithesis of this. Playing a vinyl record means deliberately intending to listen to that record. Once you start, there’s no easy “skip” or “shuffle” button to get to the parts you like. Instead, the music becomes a journey and you’re just along for the ride.
Sure, nothing’s stopping you from listening to a CD or MP3 album this way. But because vinyl lends itself to this kind of listening so well, it eliminates the temptation to skip around and change artists every other song. Tom Hanks prefers typewriters to computers, and we’d say the same appeal applies to vinyl.
What can I say? Nostalgia is the root of almost everything people collect.
More than ever, we live in a modern culture that loves nostalgia. Everyone wants to reach back and reclaim a piece of their past, or at least a feeling they had in the past. Meanwhile, generations of kids grew up on vinyl records. Some of the greatest music ever made was created in the vinyl era, and who wouldn’t want to go back and experience those songs exactly as they were before?
Even if you didn’t grow up with vinyl, collecting records still connects you to the past. Perhaps you didn’t live through Woodstock, but you can still hold on to a piece of that era. Not only that, young vinyl collectors have a hobby to share with older music buffs. It’s sometimes hard to bridge the generational gap with media, especially when it comes to music. But with the rise of vinyl, it’s now easier than ever.
If nothing else, vinyl is an important part of history. And like all history, it should be protected and appreciated by those who love it the most. It doesn’t matter how old you are, anyone can become a fan of vinyl. Yes, even you.