‘The Record Collection Revival’
By: Katie Murphy
Did you know that today, April 18th, is the official ‘Record Store Day?!’ It’s time to get out and support your local record store and recording artists. Vinyl collecting is not something that should be taken lightly, but it is something you should consider being a part of.
Record culture will never die, but it does adapt to the ever-changing digital music age of convenience. Although the popularly known “record resurgence” is kind of a media frenzy, it is important to note that it is up to us as musical enthusiast to keep the record tradition alive and thriving.
Sales of music on vinyl hit an 18-year high in the UK and have nearly doubled in the US in 2014, however, album sales and digital sales in the US are on the decline overall. This is probably due to the surge in illegal downloading, but a notable trend nonetheless. It may be argued that the increase in vinyl sales is just a craze that will soon fade, but I contend it’s a comeback that is here to stay.
Music lovers recognize the value in a vinyl collection because it’s the only music format that might offer some return on their investment someday. CDs are worth next-to-nothing on the second market and you can’t resell MP3s. This ‘revival’ is really just a testament to the fact that people will always value the sound and visual quality that vinyl albums have to offer over CDs and MP3s.
Modern artists are coming out with more limited editions of their new releases on vinyl and some offer them as incentive on their Kickstarter campaigns. Older music is often re-released on vinyl, and new music distributed in this traditional form if the artist sees value in providing this format to their fans. This is proof that vinyl is making a comeback and is also something of value to true music fans.
A lot of the best DJs and producers find their best samples and songs while digging through old albums. This is a dying art in the DJ world, as most DJs have become accustomed to CDJs or strictly use their laptops to pull and loop sounds and songs. Some DJs dispute that digital DJing beats vinyl, however, I think that the true art of DJing and producing lies in being able to spin records live.
There is a misconception that collecting vinyl is too expensive or time consuming, but you can get most records for $1-$15 and record players go for $90-$240 on urbanoutiftters.com. If you think about how much you spend on CDs and/or MP3s and how much your computer, sound system, speakers, etc. costs, then you can see that record collecting is comparable in price. Also, the time spent at the record shop is time well spent because the local record store is a hub for sharing music, stories, and meeting people. It also provides a sense of community to music lovers. If anything, people don’t spend enough time at their local record stores.
Records may lack practicality or convenience, but there are alternative outlets when we really need that convenience, and nothing compares to buying a new record and putting it on your player for a spin once you’re home. With a record, you have to proactively think about what you want to listen to, find the record on your shelf, and flip it over. This offers the listener an interactive experience that usually ends up being more fulfilling than the traditional plug and play streaming radio. We all know that our Pandora and Spotify usually ends up being more of background music than a listening experience anyways. For those music listeners who are seeking a more satisfying experience, a new hobby to grab their attention, and possibly a new passion, it may be time to invest in a record player and a few good records.
My record collection began with my mother’s stack of records in our basement. I would go downstairs and shuffle through all the titles, looking for something that caught my eye. I framed a few of my favorites because we never had a record player growing up. Now that I’m old enough to purchase big-ticket items on my own, a record player is next on my list and I encourage you to do the same. It is an interest my mom shared with me and I plan to pass on to the next generation in my family. Not only are we handing down a collection of dusty old records, but we are also passing on a passion and dedication to the art of the music.
8-tracks, tapes, CDs and MP3s come and go, but it is obvious that vinyl is here to stay. It’s a musical format that people don’t seem to get bored of and each new generation embraces, so do your part to continue the legacy and buy vinyl!