After being supplanted by the cassette at the end of the 1980s, the vinyl record looked set to be left for dead on the waste side. The CD would eventually replace the cassette after its ‘90s heyday, before the world switched to digital MP3 music with the rise of portable MP3 players and domination of Apple. Instead, vinyl has made a remarkable comeback to become one of the music industry’s few growth areas; for the first time in 30 years vinyl production is on the up, with 13 million records sold in the US alone in 2014. Brand new vinyl presses have entered the market—including at White Stripes frontman Jack White’s Third Man pressing plant in Detroit—and this year high-definition vinyl technology was officially patented for the first time, heralding a new era for the vinyl record. In homage to this dramatic turnaround, The Hut offers five reasons why we think the vinyl record will never die.
Unrivalled Sound Quality
For non-vinyl-fans, this fact has always been put down as an industry marketing myth thought up to convince you to buy vinyl; nevertheless, it is an undeniable truth that vinyl is miles ahead of CD and digital in terms of sound quality. Whereas CDs and digital files compress audio and in doing so jeopardise the quality of the music, the vinyl record is a lossless format meaning that not a single percent of audio quality is lost during the pressing. You can therefore hear the album exactly as the band and producer wanted it to be heard, in all its rich, textured, musical glory.
Listening to a Vinyl Record is an Experience
From exploring the large format artwork in your hands to sliding out the record, putting it on the turntable and discovering the album’s content by following along with the words on the lyrics sleeve, listening to a vinyl record allows you to discover albums in an entirely different way to digital.
The Album as Art
We are a generation who like to pick their favourite songs from albums, shuffle our playlists and fast forward to the best parts of a song. You cannot fast forward a vinyl record, and this fact forces its listener to spend time with the album, listening to it from start to finish as it was made to be heard. This experience means that you are forced to consider the album as the finished complete work of art it is, rather than the modern conceptualisation as something that should be quickly gobbled up so you can find your favourite new single.
Discovering Family Record Collections
If you are the first in the family to invest in the vinyl revival, it won’t be long before mum, dad, aunts and uncles are clambering up to the attic to proudly showcase their (often disastrous) record collections. Discovering the music your family members loved in their heyday can offer an intriguing insight into their younger selves, and if you’re lucky you might also be gifted some classic gems from the family record archives.
A Community of Record Collectors
Unlike a trip to the Apple store, visiting your local record store makes you part of a community of music lovers and can inspire you to discover music you might never have otherwise come across. The owners of local record shops are often music obsessives with an incredible wealth of musical knowledge, and a quick chat about your tastes will offer up a whole new world of artists and genres to discover, tailored to your individual musical tastes – a service that will never be replicated by online music stores.