The Vinyl Resurgence: What’s the Deal?
It was recently reported that vinyl record sales saw a 32% increase; the most sales the format has seen since 1991.  What’s the reason for this sudden revival?
Now, as a amateur vinyl collector (I just buy what music I like) I will be the first to admit that at its core this vinyl resurgence is irrational. But, as it is with many older technologies, there are pluses and minuses to consider. Usually the plus for these technologies is is that they convey a certain authenticity and improved experience that a digitally based program cannot possibly offer. Specifically with vinyl, there’s just nothing like going through the record store, finding gems, conversing with other patrons on various records, and physically owning a aesthetically appealing copy of a piece of music.
While CD and digital both offer more sonically flawless pieces, they can’t possibly compare in aesthetics. Many will tell you it’s because vinyl sounds better. I’m not sure about that, but I’m positive with the right audiophile equipment that’s true. Something this article doesn’t mention is that the vast majority of these records were rock records. To me, there are certain kinds of music I would rather listen to on vinyl than a CD or online. For instance, I would rather hear jazz like “Mingus Ah Um” or country like Ray Price on vinyl, where I would rather hear Led Zeppelin or The Beatles on CD. There’s just something about pre-1964 music that requires vinyl or shellac that the CD can’t capture (unless I need to figure out what they’re playing on my instrument, then I go digital), where with post-1964 most of the time I would rather hear the CD. Although I still enjoy hearing my 60’s, 70’s and 80’s records on vinyl.
An aspect of vinyl that many find appealing is its focus on albums. A vinyl LP is not something you can skip around on easily like a CD, so the vinyl format is better suited to the album as a coherent whole rather than a couple of singles. I’m not incredibly devoted to either, but overall if I was choosing between buying a brand new vinyl or brand new CD I would pick the former. Somehow, I want to get as physically close with the music as possible; I want to feel like I can hold the song in the palm of my hand. There’s just something about holding that vinyl in your hand, setting the needle down on it, and letting the album play on that clicking “play” on a computer just doesn’t do.
Which format do you prefer, and why? Let me know in the comments!