Nowadays, our whole lives are heavily reliant on technology – from telephones to iPads – everyone wants the best and newest gadget on the market. The same goes for music as well – we’re living in the age where CDs rarely get bough, instead people prefer to either buy a certain track or album straight off the Internet or to download pirate MP3s. No one would ever think that in the time, where everything is digitalised, the vinyl records would be revived. Yes, that is right – vinyl is returning to the market and it has been scoring steady sale increases in the last 5-6 years.
A bit to statistics…
In 2007 the vinyl albums have reached the staggering 6 million sales and an increase by 80 per cent from the previous years, while at the same time CD sales have had a double digit decline.
The percentage of vinyl sales in the major record labels is not too high, however it is still significant enough to warrant not only reissues of classic titles such as Radiohead’s “OK Computer” but new titles as well.
Who buys vinyl?
Many people would think that vinyl is brought back by the Baby Boomers, nostalgic for their favourite music, but that’s not the whole truth because a numerable part of the college-age consumers have also became quite attracted to this old music medium.
The main reason for vinyl records’ return is the better sound quality. They are produced by analogue recording techniques and since the human ear hears in analogue, not digital – it sounds naturally better. The records sound genuine like they are created by humans, not by a machine. Due to the compression of the sound, the MP3 quality sounds artificial and too precise. It is worth mentioning that there is warmth, an ambiance that vinyl brings to the music.
The limited editions, coloured vinyl, picture discs, the album cover art and the sound are only a few factors that explain the special allure of vinyl records. An avid audiophile would be joyous if he finds a rare vinyl or has a vast and eclectic record collection.
One can simply say that vinyls have that certain tangible character, which an MP3 lacks and that is why the analogue records are coming out strong in this battle.
Choice and Double Benefit
Many music artists are making sure that they give their fans the choice of music formats – be it CDs, MP3s or vinyl.
When you choose to get a vinyl, you will be pleasantly surprised that many of the records come with codes for downloading the album free from the Internet. This means that you can have the tangible record as well as a digitalised version, which you can carry everywhere, which is a double benefit.
As with everything, vinyl has its pros and cons. The cons being that the records are tough to transport, bulky to store and easy to damage. MP3s have enabled consumers to essentially pack their whole music collection into their phone or music player however the feeling is not the same as with vinyl.
Think about it – logging into iTunes will never replace the sensation of walking into a local record store and browsing through the crates, will it?
Even though digital is the future of music, there will always be hardcore music lovers that will want a tangible connection to the music that a digital file cannot provide. Vinyl will probably never again be the dominant music medium it was before but it will not fade away anytime soon as well.