So according to Wikipedia, a vinyl record is an analog soundstorage medium in the form of a flat polyvinyl chloride (previously shellac) disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the centre of the disc.
Um?… Its one of these.
But come on, you already knew that.
Vinyl was once the only way to listen to music. Skip forward a good few years (like 50 but “a few” seemed to cover it) and all of a sudden, through apps such as Spotify, Deezer and Youtube you can find every song from every band ever in 2 seconds.
So why are we even talking about this?
Vinyl went through a phase of only existing in your granddad’s house (presumably with boxes of jazz records sat next to it), or in the room of an “indie” kid.
But times are changing! Records are seemingly making a come back, with people fast realising that maybe some things really are better original.
With events like record store day promoting everyone to buy yourself a turntable and whack on that 12″, vinyl seems to be here to stay, and I couldn’t be more pleased!
Still not convinced? That’s alright, here’s 10 reasons why vinyl is ALWAYS better than downloaded:
1) The artwork is cool as …
You’re getting Picasso-like art for £30 or less. Not only do you get a record, but the sleeve is nothing less than a masterpiece. With your favourite iconic pictures all stemming from their vinyl sleeve. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon? Yep, THAT picture was their album artwork. That iconic Joy Division image? Yep, album artwork. It’s not just the front either, it’s the (sometimes multiple) inside and the back covers. You don’t get that on spotify now do you?
2) Vinyl is timeless
So here’s the thing. Vinyl has been around since World War One, with an obvious decline around the 1990s, but it now has a growing audience. In 2014 vinyl sales went up by 260% since 2009. Vinyl is proving that it can survive, and it will continue to survive. A huge problem with storing all your favourite tunes on an iPhone is that, that iPhone is going to be gone in 18 months, leaving you having to build all your songs back up again. Vinyl however, is always there. There is a reason why it is passed down through generations…because you can! Good luck trying to be sentimental with your spotify account.
3) Simply. It sounds better.
That crackle. If you know you know. If you don’t, you want to know. Many records, especially those recorded when records were the thing, were made for vinyl. The record I think best shows this is John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
The starting song, Imagine (obviously) is in my opinion one of the best songs ever written, but it was meant to be listened at its purest form, on a record. Listening to it-every sound, note and imperfection makes you feel there.
Sorry to be spiritual, but the imperfections of the grooves make you feel even more involved in your listening. It is meant to sound raw and imperfect, because that’s what music is. It’s not auto-tuned, re-recorded, overlapped and perfected. It’s raw, it’s messy, it’s beautiful. The crackle at the start of any record is the most beautiful sound in the world, find out yourself.
4) A collection is WAY more impressive
You have 100 songs in your playlist? Cool I collected 100 records and have them displayed in a cool box next to my cool record player. Game, set, match. I win.
Point is, it’s too easy to have music on your phone, you could do that in 30 minutes. Vinyl is a hobby. It’s an effort. If someone has a cool collection they’ve put some serious work (and money) into building that thing, appreciate it man.
Again, its a social thing. Got friends round? Look at my vinyl. Want to impress someone? Check out my vinyl. More importantly, you get to look at your vinyl. No better feeling.
5) It’s an achievement
Adding onto the last comment- building up your records feels like your achieving something. You find a cool record and it’s like adding a member to the family! Your record is your new baby and you’re taking it home to its siblings. Welcome home little guy!
Ask any record collector to see their collection I promise you they’re probably prouder of that then any academic/work/life related accomplishment.
6) Finding that album
Evidently, vinyl can be pretty hard to come by. Therefore, finding a specific album is even harder to come by.
Unless you have a HMV or a record store round your corner then chances are, you’re going to have to work a little harder to find what you want. But when you do… man you better believe were doing the new vinyl dance.
Finding your favourite album is like finding a hidden gem, it’s like you’re the only person to have ever owned said record.
7) Full album appreciation
We are all guilty of only downloading certain songs because we like that one and you just really cant be bothered with anything else. But we shouldn’t do that!
Because if you like one song, chances are you’re going to like the rest. Even though it is possible to only play one song on a record, it takes a lot of fiddling about and it’s just easier to start from the beginning and listen to the whole album.
This way we are able to appreciate the whole album, and find other songs we love. Not only that, but albums such as The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free or Pink Floyd- The Wall are actually stories, and listening to the album start to finish takes you on that journey.
So, in short, vinyl allows our love for music to grow and it’s lets you escape for a few hours, which we all need sometimes.
8) It just looks better
Vinyl is about the sound. It’s about the way it makes you feel.
BUT, it looks so much better. Not in a “look how indie I am I listen to records”, but more in a, this is a nice thing to look at.
We’ve already spoken about the artwork, but the way records can look is very impressive. A classic black record spinning on a cool looking turntable is an instant addition to a room, but the picture disks are even better.
A picture disk plays the same as a classic record, the only difference is the added picture onto the disk itself. Gold, clear, blue, David Bowie’s face, a Mexican flag (Noel Gallagher- The Mexican), or even a barbie-pink star shaped record (Jeffree Star, don’t ask) and many more. Picture disks make record play that all the more mesmerising.
9) Limited Editions
Picture disks, again, are not all that common at all. In fact all 4 of the above records were bought at the Record Store Day, an event where you can buy records that are sold that day and that day only. You’ve probably seen things about lifetime collectors who own the one and only record with an original Beatles demo, or something along the lines and yes that does happen, but no not for most of us.
Of course they are called “limited” for a reason, and anyone lucky enough to be THAT close to a band to be able to own said record is something to show off about. But you can be one of those people too! Record Store Day is great for doing just that… and then you have lifelong bragging rights.
10) This feeling
Buying new vinyl is hard to put into words
When me and my lovely stepdad went to the Vinyl Groove cafe last week to treat ourselves to Noelly G and Ian Brown (another example of coloured vinyl) he accurately showed how we all feel after buying new vinyl by dancing it round our living room.
That’s that kids. Vinyl is and always will be the ultimate win for playing music but it really one of those things that you just have to try for yourself…
Make sure to check out Record Store Day: http://recordstoreday.co.uk/Home
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