We have all been there, getting in from the cold, walking up to your record player in anticipation, hitting 45 RPM and just letting everything go. It’s a tradition and an institution that has passed through generation to generation. Remember the first time you listened to Dark Side of the Moon? Remember the teary eyed glee that you got from listening to The Beatles? (Rubber Soul).
The audio cassette of the 70’s could only knock the revolution, however in 1982 the compact disc was the nail in the coffin. It changed the game for accessible ‘on-the-go’ listening that people just went nuts for. People weren’t shifting their stacker systems in to their cars, people were listening to CD’s. But whilst people were livin’ la vida loca with their compact discs, the underground vinyl scene wasn’t dying, it was plotting a comeback and all it needed was the right time.
The year was 2007, and Record Store Day was set up to appreciate the value of owning cultural independent record stores across the world. With this, global recording artists take part in the tradition by releasing special edition songs, albums and merchandise to promote the event. I myself have took part in Record Store Day for two reasons. One is because I think it’s a great cause to spread support to independent record shops, but also, I really love ‘one-off’ merchandise.
People my age are really getting into vinyl now, and it’s nice to know that in multiple sub-cultures there’s a common ground we all stand on. But not only this, as vinyl already has a well known demographic that started in the 60’s that is still going strong today. So it’s nice to see there’s a contrasting audience that both share a love for collecting records. Even my social media is filled with others sharing their latest buys which is a really good thing, because I can engage with my audience a lot easier and I have a lot of fun when I do it too.
Now, have you heard of the office turntable? It’s a fantastic and revolutionary idea that Kontor (Arguably the world’s most famous dance label) came up with. Basically they needed to promote a new single for an artist, but came to the realisation that promo CD’s were being thrown straight in to the bin. So instead they send out specially modified vinyl to various companies that could be played through an app on your smartphone. It just goes to show the mystery of vinyl remains in this modern world.
But there is a problem with the modern 12’’, the audio quality. Because of limited resources and cost effectiveness playing a massive part in having a successful and sustainable business, it is no longer the crackle we once loved. A lot of audiophiles have criticised the modern pressings, saying they’re no better than modern MP3s. And here’s where vinyl takes another colossal blow in the industry as the modern 12’’ album costs on average £18.99. And that’s from HMV! When you get to an independent record shop the prices creep up into the £20s.
But if you don’t mind paying the extra, like me, then you’re buying into a hobby that will last you a lifetime. A hobby that will take you on an adventure of self-discovery, and it will tell you more about who you are, than a meaningless chat, whilst paying £6.50 for a croissant and coffee at Starbucks.
So what do you think? Is vinyl a thing of the past, or a timeless resurrection?