Born in 1990, I first listened to music on cassette tapes. Then I transferred over to CDs. Next, it was an MP3 player. Now, it’s a record player. Yes, I went back in time to when my parents were my age and discovered that MP3s can’t even compare to the sound of analogue.
And I’m not alone in that perspective. In 2008, 1.88 million vinyl albums were purchased, more than in any year since Nielsen Soundscan began tracking sales nearly 20 years ago. Despite growing up in a very technologically advanced world, my peers and I have discovered that quality doesn’t necessarily mean faster, easier, or more convenient.
Music can’t be appreciated that way, anyway. Sure, it’s nice to have an iPod when I go to the gym for a run. (Who wants to install a record player on all the treadmills?)
But it is quite peculiar, though, that vinyls are making such a big comeback while overall album sales continue to decrease. Vinyl was the fastest-growing musical format in 2010, with 2.8 million units sold. Even companies like Best Buy are jumping on the vinyl bandwagon and hoping to get a piece of the profit.
What exactly is it about vinyl that makes it so appealing to so many? Is it the resurgence of the spirit of the 60s and 70s? Is it the popularity of the “hipster” lifestyle? Is it the resurfacing knowledge that no other format of music can really compare? Or is it an everlasting fad that will only die when The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and the Stones are but distant memories?
While the music industry still learns to cope with ever-changing technological advancements, perhaps vinyl will not only be the savior for its listeners, but also for the industry as a whole.