Like most things today, music is just at the touch of our fingertips and while this makes the music listening experience convenient and cheap, this also makes it a little too meh especially to the ones who’ve experienced music the old-fashioned way. We’re talking about listening to music in CDs, cassette tapes…but especially the good ole vinyl record pressing in LA.
This is no wonder that vinyl record sales have steadily increased in the last few years and in fact, during the first half of 2020, vinyl sales surpass CD sales for the first time in 34 years according to a new report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This is no surprise to us because we’ve witnessed this first-hand with the spike in orders for our custom vinyl record pressing service.
What is really happening? Why is vinyl back from the ashes?
Here are some of the possible reasons why the vinyl is back:
- Ownership. Vinyl records are physical items that you can actually own, display, show off, and gift to your friends. Every copy is unique especially if it’s signed by the artist. If you keep it in good condition, you can even sell it in the future for big bucks. It is yours from the artist you love—a real physical object, not just a file you can delete.
- Listening Experience. The act of taking the record out of the sleeve, carefully putting the needle onto the groove and hearing the crackle…these things make the music experience more enjoyable. You’re not simply swiping on a screen, you are doing a ritual for something sacred. You listen to this with a cup of tea or glass of wine in hand while you stare at the birds outside your window. It’s a spiritual act, if you think about it!
- It’s Instagrammable. A spotify screenshot cannot be posted to your timeline. Well, just maybe in your Stories but even that is quite annoying. A vinyl record? Hellz yeah! You can show off just how much of a fan you are and even if you put a million hashtags, you’d still be cool. Not only will your friends be amazed that you have cool taste in music, they’ll be amazed that you actually love vinyl. So okay, even if this isn’t your thing and you hate Instagram because you think it’s superficial, display it on your wall as home decor and you’d get the same reaction. The point is that custom vinyl record pressing have high aesthetic value, music streaming and music files? Not so much.
- Sound Quality. Although some people say that the difference in sound quality is negligible for the regular listener, it isn’t for the trained ear. Many experts feel that the old-school analog audio provided by vinyl sounds superior to digital audio — because there is no information loss. With digital audio, some sounds that have very quick transitions like a trumpet’s tone will be distorted when they’re converted and fed to the amplifier. A vinyl record has a groove carved into it that mirrors the original sound’s waveform. This means that no information is lost.
- Nostalgia. If you’re an oldie who used to own hundreds of records or if you’re a child of said oldie, chances are you miss the vinyl listening experience. It was just more enjoyable and authentic and meaningful, wasn’t it? Many folks want to relive that experience because the act of playing music takes them to a trip down memory lane. We feel young again, we are transported to the time when everything was simple again.
- Tech fatigue. Technology is advancing so quickly and in ten years, we will be ruled by robots. This gives us tech fatigue, making us long for the life before the internet. Playing music in vinyl and supporting the resurgence of experiential music makes us go against the grain, in a way. This kind of longing for the past and attempt to move away from screens makes us feel more human, more in touch with life. It gives the same feeling when flipping actual pages of a book than reading from a Kindle.
So it seems like streaming has actually made us want vinyl records again. This makes me think that we, as humans, crave for something more than what’s convenient and easy, more than what’s given to us– we want some things to feel more real, we want to be a little different, we rebel in our own little ways…and this give me a little hope for our future, and I don’t mean just the music industry.
Do you think more and more people will buy vinyl records in the next decade?