Three articles, via.
A picture is taking shape that reports on the death of vinyl were greatly exaggerated. This introduces a snag in the continual dwindling to pixelated electrons the shape and feel of music delivery. As we are a musical people, said format seemed to have been on a Moore’s Law trajectory toward consisting of little more than nothing at all on your hand-held device. Whoops.
More than one hundred years after the invention of the gramophone, twenty years after major labels tried to kill records with compact discs, and ten years after Napster incited the age of digital music, vinyl is making a comeback. Seemingly impervious to the widespread decline of physical formats, records are selling better today than they have in more than a decade.
The idea/reality that the snag forms around the concept of an artifact is where the situation becomes a little more than symbolic. If the cool factor extends to the enjoyment people get out of something, say listening to music, there are bound to be corollaries in all sorts of directions – if people are willing to admit such preferences to themselves. This would include but not be limited to walking, cooking, face to face communication, growing vegetables, raising goats, making cheese, painting pictures, playing actual sports and/or instruments. You get the idea.
It takes a little more to own and maintain a decent turntable; records are relatively expensive to make and copying them requires some type of re-recording. Of course, you can’t bring it on the bus with you or out for a jog. Digital vs. vinyl are not mutually exclusive; they simply decimate one another in certain categories of comparison. And then you begin to tally seemingly secondary traits like longevity and aesthetic appeal, not to mention a music business desperate for a dependable profit stream, i.e., morphing their product back into something tangible, well… the field could suddenly appear slightly, surprisingly, tilted.
So a preference beyond that merely for ease, speed and or even free should not be dismissed as novelty. Not that we’ll necessarily take it, but buying vinyl does at least mark a route to greater sustainability, if by nothing beyond emphasizing a preference for the scenic route, so to speak, exactly because of, rather than despite, what the activity entails.
A recent, deeply confirming anecdote: I thought it was curious when our bass player told me a few weeks ago that the label that put out his other band’s last cd, on which they had profited by next-to nothing, was releasing it on vinyl this spring. Time to check the status on my stylus.