After decades of decline, vinyl purchases have been on the rise due to interest from us Gen Zers.
In the early 20th centruy vinyl records became a dominant means of listening to music. While previously used material such as shellac would break easily, vinyl proved to be signifigantly more durable. To make sound the stylus tip on a record player reads the grooves in the vinyl through, creating an electric signal. This signal is then transfered to the amplifier. But naturally more evolved modes of recording rendered the vinyl virtually obsolete. That is until now. Over the past decade vinyl sales have increased year over year because of increasing interest from young people.
At first, I didn’t want to participate, as I’m not a big trend follower. But as a music fan, I decided to look into it, and I’m so glad I did! Below are five reasons why I buy vinyl, and why you should too!
1. That Vinyl Sound
There’s something about how music sounds on vinyl that gets me every time! One reason may be its ability to read analog signals, while digital music can only read digital signals. The main difference between the two is that while the former has continuous electrical signals, the latter has non-continuous ones. This means that the digital signal loses some of the information in the signal when the original sound is converted to the digital format. Another cool feature is the cracks and pops you can hear, especially on older records. This brings me to reason number two.
2. Access to Offline Gems
While many albums of the past have been digitized for the new age, there are plenty of songs that are not available on streaming services. For example, I found an album called ‘Bongos’ by Los Admiradores at my grandmother’s house. It’s a Latin-inspired jazz album that was performed by a group of musicians of different backgrounds. They only created one record together, which is probably why it has not made it to platforms like Spotify or Apple Music. But thankfully I have been able to listen to their work! Finding it was also such a fun experience; more on that on the next point.
3. The Hunt
Playing vinyl is cool and all, and the hunt is equally as satisfying. Ordering vinyl online is certainly an option, and I’ve done so for an album I really really wanted (Starmaker by Honey Harper if you’re wondering…). Although looking for records in person is a much more fun way to obtain them. One of the downsides of streaming services is that it’s easy to stick to the artists and genres you know. But at a record store, it’s easy to find yourself perusing a genre new to you. Some vinyl initially intrigued me because of its cool cover! Also, those working at the shop will often have some great insights into the inventory.
One of the amazing aspects of vinyl is that it tells a story about a particular time in history. You can learn so much about a culture and trends from the sounds and covers of various records. This is why collecting them can become a highlight of owning vinyl. Finding old albums, as well as buying newer records, will have their unique story in the future which makes them fun to collect.
5. Supporting the Artist
Finally, buying vinyl is a great way to support your favorite artists. Especially nowadays with streaming, it has become harder for musicians to make money. Each song play produces less than 1¢, and many times streaming revenues will go mostly to labels. Purchasing vinyl helps them earn money, and allows them to continue to perform. Artists may also thank those for buying vinyl by putting unreleased songs on the record, placing a cool poster inside, or providing liner notes for song explanations.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Time to get started with your collection! Even if you don’t have a record player, owning records will be an awesome experience, as well as finding cool songs in the shop (or online). ALthough it may be tempting to stick with music you know, some of your future favorites could very well be records you initially knew nothing about.