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tunesmithth

The Resurgence of Vinyl

6 posts in this topic

We hear a lot these days about the resurgence of vinyl records. Just yesterday I heard a national news story claim that vinyl is expected to generate a BILLION dollars in revenue this year.

That made me curious, so I did a bit of digging, read a few recent online articles & looked at some of the circumstances behind the recent trend.

 

Much of what I discovered didn't come as a surprise, but this did...

Quote

According to a BBC/ICM poll from last year, 41 per cent of people who buy vinyl have a turntable but do not use it, with 7 per cent of vinyl buyers not even owning a turntable.

 

Yep, you read that correctly! 
An estimated 48% of those purchasing vinyl NEVER EVEN LISTEN to it.
What a novel concept..."purchasing music to look at it".

 

I swear, if someone had told me that, I would have assumed they were misinformed or making it up. But when you think about it, it's not that far-fetched. We live in the age of the selfie, right? To some degree, this phenomena is a logical extension of our need to publically "represent".

 

The article goes on to say...

Quote

Seeing an album on someone’s shelf says something about that person. A playlist just doesn’t do that.

 

In other words, it's no longer about enjoyment of the music. It has nothing at all to do with the richness of analog/vinyl sound.

For almost 1/2 of the vinyl market, it's about owning a physical representation of something you like.

 

Since real life has no "Like" button, having it on your shelf for all to see must be the next best thing. 
Color me surprised! :blush:

 

*Article Link - https://www.raconteur.net/culture/retro-revival-the-resurgence-of-vinyl

 

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Here's a 2nd source, which doesn't get into a breakdown of who buys for what reasons, but it is informative. Even in this article, there's very little mention of the difference in audio quality. It's much more about the physical experience of the vinyl format. Here's a quick quote -

Quote

Listening to vinyl is a physical act – it’s an active choice to go to the rack and pull out a record from the sleeve and then eventually flip the side to continue listening. It physically forces you to interact, contrary to telling Alexa to play a playlist on Spotify

...and the article link - https://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanpassman/2017/01/12/vinyl-is-officially-booming-the-new-billion-dollar-music-business/#461840364054

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I think a lot of people buying vinyl are just collectors and want to keep the record pristine, or they want to frame them and put them on their walls. HMV sell vinyl frames in stores for this purpose.

 

I'm not sure whether you get a digital download with the vinyl purchase (I think you do on some). So they might not feel the need to listen to the vinyl.

 

I keep thinking about buying another record deck as I still have 100's of albums and singles in the loft, but I would also like to buy some of the new music that's been released or re-released. The cost of a decent deck though is shocking and is the reason why I don't have one at the moment. I can't justify the purchase price.

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Agreed...I'm sure there are all kinds of reasons for purchasing vinyl, nostalgia being a big one.

But I'm someone who grew up with this technology. Back in my band days (teens & 20's) vinyl was state of the art. There wasn't anything better.

Many of the folks I grew up with still have their album collections & turntable, as do I.

Whenever I hear folks from my era talk about this resurgence, the conversation's always about audio quality...differences in recording media, analog vs. digital sound, production quality, etc. The conversation is always about how it sounds because it's music...and in the minds of audiophiles, differences in sound should be the only determining factors.

 

Honestly, when I checked into this subject, I was searching for information about how these new vinyl albums were produced.

Instead, what I came across were articles like these.

They focused on marketing demographics, nostalgia & the touchy-feeling attributes of the whole vinyl experience.

Once I saw who was buying them and why, my original questions weren't nearly as pertinent.

After all, does it really matter where the original audio came from & what formats were used if half the people who buy it never listen to it? ;) LOL

I'm sure my old friends would be as astounded as I was to discover that much of this resurgence isn't driven by a desire for richer sound quality.

 

For years I've been telling people that music not good for much unless someone hears it. Shows ya' what I know! :rolleyes:

Appreciate the comments Richard...Peace out homey! :hippy:

 

Tom

 

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Tom, it's nice to see you back. You are one of the members who puts a lot of thought into music and try's to explain in detail those thoughts and why you have them. There are a few members on the site like that and it's one of the reasons why I stick around as I really enjoy the interaction. I hope in time, other newer members can feel as confident to discuss and relate as well as some of the elder members.

 

Anyway back to the vinyl question.

 

As a tactile form, there is nothing like it. The sleeve, the artwork, the amount of thought that went into that process alone was impressive back in the day. They were statements, they were sometimes the reason why a music buyer would purchase the record. It was sometimes the first thing you saw and intrigued you. Nowadays anyone can create a cover for an album and it can be cool, striking and impressive, but I find a lot of album covers all look the same now. The same poses of a solo artist or band, the same typography, or very similar looking. I am not sure whether the same thought goes into it as most people look at what looks like a thumbnail in either the corner of a screen, or the middle. They don't look at the cover, read the liner notes the way we would have. You bought a record, you rushed home, put it on and lay back to listen to it (not with headphones), vinyl required you to listen through the speakers to pick up all the nuances and feelings the artists/producer put into the record. You would study that cover, every inch of it. Read every word on it, reading liner notes if there were any, sometimes more than once. You did this until you had to get up and turn the record over and then you did it again. Sometimes the sleeve got dimples in it from where you held it, but there was nothing better than holding that 12" (now now - no laughing;)) bit of cardboard in your hand.

 

Hearing the first crackles before the first song would start, built up the excitement, as this would probably be the first time you heard most of the tracks (none of this promo stuff) outwith any singles that were released and sometimes the album had a different version of the song, a longer version, as the single had been cut to allow play on the radio.

 

I feel for kids nowadays, who will never really experience that feeling, not now. It can't be the same. We live in a world of instant access to everything, you can't possibly get the same feeling. 

 

Back in my day, the first time you knew of a new single from your favourite band was the first play on radio, which might be a day or two before release, or you happened upon it in the record shop. 

 

The record shop. Now that was also a favourite pastime. The smell of the place, the feel, mingling with others, talking, discussing music - now we have forums for that, but it's not the same. You could walk in and hear them playing songs and you would discover new bands because of that. Yes, Spotify and the others can allow you to do the same and probably to a better extent. But where is the interaction?

 

I miss the record store. Where I grew up we had two fantastic stores and I really miss that personal touch. Now I use iTunes music and have a family account, so my girls and wife can download what they want - I sure as hell don't want to buy that music or listen to it (I'm glad my wife has a similar taste to me for 80's music, but my God, she likes some crap as well - I'm looking at you Buble!!!!!!!). I have probably downloaded thousands of songs since I got it that I wouldn't have bought and yes, I feel guilty for not supporting the artists, but a lot of stuff I download is older albums that I have on vinyl or CD and this is the new remastered version.

 

Anyway, great topic Tom.

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I grew up in the cassette days, though there was still some presence of vinyl records. It is quite funny how people's attitude towards collecting music has changed. People download/stream thousands of songs without even "listening" to them. They collect "antiques" like vinyl records and others just to show that they have a quirky hobby. But the real value given to the music and artists is so low, so momentary. Richard mentioned record shops and I felt taken back in time to when I would enthusiastically visit such shops and just get lost there, spending at least an hour if not more. And the feeling after making a purchase was one of pure exhilaration, anticipation and excitement. I certainly don't feel like that before or after streaming a song. I guess such heady feelings are now reserved for those purchasing the latest gadgets. I dunno...

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