Many music enthusiasts pull back streaming music and opt for a more classic listening experience. Most nostalgists and purists have reason to rejoice: the popularity of vinyl collecting is on the rise. It's not a single-year phenomenon either.
Vinyl has been on the uptrend over the last decade now. According to MRC data, a half-year report disclosed that over 19.2 million units of vinyl were solved in just two quarters of 2021, up 108.2 percent from the previous year. Furthermore, LP sales reached $619.6 million in 2020, which topped CD sales for the first time since 1986.
Here are the primary reasons why vinyl collecting is gaining popularity: Tangible Product Vinyl provides a physical experience, unlike any other alternative. It's more than just listening to music. Digital MP3 music often does not feel as unique or treasured, especially because everyone can have it, and it's free. However, the experience of opening the plastic wrapper, smelling the sleeve, and physically touching the record is what vinyl lovers pay for. It's unmatched by any other music format and provides an unforgettable nostalgic feel that many adults have grown up on.
With an MP3 playlist, you won't be able to sell it or leave it behind for your children. Vinyl records can increase in value over time. The Wu-Tang Clan vinyl album sold for $2 million, while the Beatles White album sold for $790,000! Vinyl records can be traded, shared, autographed, gifted, and decorated on the bedroom wall.
Although CDs are also tangible, it's not as appealing since they used awkward storage sleeves and cracked jewel cases. Sadly, it looks indistinguishable from your classic computer storage floppy disc.
Active Listening Experience As consumers, many of our listening habits have become increasingly fickle due to the digital age. There are so many demands that it's rare for listeners to give their full attention to their music. Unlike CDs and digital music, vinyl requires active attention. Listeners can't simply push play on their phones and walk away.
Vinyl requires the album to be flipped and the needle moved over. This forces the listener to spend time actively listening to all the subtle cues of the music, read the lyrics and the artist bio, admire the album area, and deeply appreciate the quality of music they're listening to.
The beauty of vinyl is that it offers a more accurate reproduction of the music that many are accustomed to listening to. The manufacturing and recording process generates a real-world representation of the sound waves. This reason alone is why many dedicated music enthusiasts believe that vinyl is superior to digital recordings.
With vinyl records, the consumer receives the audio that the music artist recorded in all of its lossless beauty. Listeners can hear every “thwack” of the snare drum, every cymbal hit, and all the dynamic range that the artist originally intended to produce. Not to mention, the audio file hasn't been compressed or boosted, which can dilute the piece.
Sound has a wide range of frequencies. Due to the analog-to-analog production process, vinyl captures the complete presentation of frequencies, thus making the sound more complete. Conversely, digital music compresses the audio file sizes to make them more manageable.
As a result, it won't present a wide range of frequencies. Some die-hard vinyl fans swear by it due to the slight hiss and occasional crackle. Although it's not a part of the sound quality, vinyl fans love the authentic experience that it can provide. Often, music connoisseurs prefer the comforting sounds of warm tones and background noises over cleaner sounds in modern
The Thrill of Hunting Vinyl Collections
Like any collectible, many audiophile enthusiasts love the thrill of hunting albums. Whether it's searching online marketing places like eBay or physical locations like the local record store, or flea markets, it's the experience of looking for something unique that makes vinyl collecting fun. Over time, they'll accumulate a vinyl record collection from their favorite musical artists.
Additionally, vinyl record sleeves are appealing to look at. They can enhance your room better than tapes or CDs. A shelf stacked with vinyl records has a greater impact than a shelf full of CDs.
Incentives from Artists
Many consumers aren't seeing digital vs. vinyl as an either-or choice. That's because newly released albums on vinyl include a digital download code. Typically, these digital downloads are supplied in lossless formats, meaning it's delivered in a high-quality 320 kbps MP3 file. In most cases, it'll already sound much better than any music streaming platform, including Spotify.
Even Amazon includes free MP3 versions when you purchase the vinyl version. For aspiring artists, creating a vinyl record can be used as a business card for music industry networking events to help get their name out to the right record labels and studios.
Capture the Tunes of Timeless Classics
Many new vinyl listeners find that their music education improves when hunting for new vinyl records. These albums are people's favorites that will likely live on for generations to come. Music from legends like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Nirvana, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, and many others are found in vinyl albums. Thus, it opens the doors for many young listeners to learn about the ageless musical classics.
With vinyl record sales reaching all-time highs, it's clear that many are seeing the value in physical records. Music connoisseurs appreciate the experience of vinyl and the quality of sound that it brings. Although it likely won't ever eclipse digital downloads or streaming music, vinyl albums still have a place as an excellent alternative for listeners.
Sam Bixler is a content strategist and freelance writer originally from central Pennsylvania. They're an avid instrumentalist, having played cello, piano, drums, and guitar, and a lover of all things gaming and pop culture. In their free time, they enjoy playing D&D, listening to podcasts, and watching trashy reality TV.