Vinyl to Atrack, cassette to CD, mp3 and back. Vinyl has been making a hot return and it doesn't seem to be going away. In the early 2000s up until 2014, the music industry and record stores saw the sales of both CD and Mp3 slow down to a trickling halt. The world of music as we knew it seemed dismal and on the edge of extinction- not Vinyl though. Let’s be real, we’re all modern day pirates at one time or another, but while we were busy hoisting up our black flag along the open waters of downloading, we lost the spirit of music. Having a wicked and carefully curated collection of mp3s is great and totally serves a purpose, but it isn’t tangible.
Music and art go hand in hand, serving a beautiful and unparalleled, timeless experience. There’s a reason both audiophiles and music fans alike are reverting back to traditional vinyl. It isn’t just the hipsters. Not only does it offer a richer, more holistic sound quality, but it also lasts a hell of a lot longer than any other form of music- it’s like a sonic history. Plus it just feels sexy in your hands.
Granted, if your external hard drive and computer never blow up from frequent downloads, the quality of the file will always be very low, which means whenever you’re totally blitzed and plan to get lost in the music, you’ll find yourself unable to escape the pixelated fuzz of white noise. Vinyl is a celebration of music- bigger artwork, the physicality of the piece, listening from start to finish, as well as the interaction of flipping sides. With the boom of mp3s, we’ve become desensitized to what music started out as. It's a return to the spirit of music.
While the delicious plastic is booming back and on a road to a steady recovery, mp3s will never go away either. The interesting thing is though, it probably shouldn’t. Music was built on vinyl and that’ll never change. The biggest (and even wildly unknown but awesome) DJs, musicians and artists came from vinyl in one form or another and the thriving community of music is attributed to it’s convergence.
It’s awesome to pick up new records but we also live in the age of remix and vinyl has a very important role in that culture. The general love of vinyl, as well as sampling and crate digging, pushed through Itunes, Soundcloud and other platforms allow artists to remain artists, record stores to remain record stores, and most importantly, allows the general public and music community to be exposed to sounds from all over the globe and different time-periods. The plastic grooves of vinyl’s timeline will never stop spinning. Long live and welcome back old friend.