Music is everywhere: in our cars, on our TVs, and in our homes. Smartphones can carry hours’ worth of downloaded songs, and that doesn’t even include streaming apps like Pandora and Spotify which make listening to music quick and convenient. So why, in this age of music consumerism, do vinyl records still make an appearance?
Vinyl records aren’t just confined to niche music stores and yard sales aanymore They have made a comeback in a big way, and even the newest albums are being produced in record format, sold not only in record stores but in big-name bookstores like BAM. So what’s the deal? Why, with all the newer, more convenient ways there are to get music, do people still prefer vinyl?
Vinyl Sounds Better
Ask any vinyl enthusiast why they prefer vinyl to digital music, and their first answer will be that vinyl sounds better. To the uninitiated, this may sound like codswallop—a myth perpetuated by an older generation—but there is some real scientific reasoning why vinyl sounds more authentic than digital.
Digital files are compressed soundwave files. For the most part, listeners don’t notice the compression of sound, and it allows the audio files to fit into a smaller digital space. This is what allows you to pack so many songs onto your phone or computer without using up all your memory.
Vinyl, on the other hand, contains more of the original audio, so you get an audio experience that’s much closer to what you would have heard if you’d been in the studio on the day of recording. If you love listening to live music, you’ll notice the difference between listening to an LP and listening to a CD or MP3 player.
Of course, to really reap the benefits of listening to vinyl, you need a good turntable with a turntable mat to ensure that your LPs stay in decent condition and that your listening experience is really what the musician intended it to be.
Vinyl Has a Nostalgia Factor
There’s something about listening to the crackle and pop of a needle against a vinyl record that brings to many a feeling of contentment based in childhood. Because vinyl records have been around so long, numerous generations have memories of listening to vinyl as kids—perhaps in their parents’ basement, or even in their grandparents’. Nostalgia is a powerful influencer, and for some, the warm tones of vinyl records and soothing nostalgia make it worth the extra cost.
Vinyl Keeps Its Purchase Value
Unlike MP3 downloads, which allow you to listen to a song but often not transfer it between systems, vinyl comes in hardcopy. This means that if you decide down the road that you no longer need an album, you have the option to sell it—either privately, or to your local record store. Even better, many vinyl albums maintain their purchase price over time, and some even appreciate in value.
If you just casually listen to music sometimes, you may see no need for a collection of vinyl records, but for the true music enthusiast, vinyl is the music of the future—even if it is a technology of our past. Vinyl records have made a comeback in a big way in recent years based on their lossless sound quality and the high demand from consumers for high-quality music, not just high-quantity music.