How do you buy your music? Are you a CD devotee, like me, who still wants physical copies of your music? (There’s just something about holding it in your hands…) Maybe you’ve gone all-in on the cassette come back tour, or you’re strictly digital.
Or perhaps you’re old school and prefer your music on vinyl. I have a small vinyl collection of some of my very favorite records and a few classics I’ve snagged for cheap at Half Price Books. I’ve always loved the authentic sound of a record. I remember being just 3- or 4-years-old when my parents let me put on records (usually my “Sesame Street Gold” album) and dance around the living room for fun. Listening to music on vinyl isn’t just background noise – it becomes a featured activity, an event. It’s special.
So when Jessica Kane from over at Sound Stage Direct asked if she could be a guest groupie on the blog and share why she thinks vinyl is superior to all other music formats, I said absolutely!
Here’s 5 reasons why vinyl is definitely better than any other format.
By Jessica Kane
Sound Stage Direct
1. AUDIO QUALITY
The sound of the music itself is really where it all begins and ends. The audio quality of vinyl is more aesthetically pleasing than digital formats like CD or MP3. Since analog audio more closely resembles the original sound waves of the music being recorded, vinyl tends to have a richness and texture that compressed digital audio lacks. Audio engineer Adam Gonsalves says the sound quality of vinyl “pins very closely to the way that human beings hear music organically”. You can hear the difference in this illuminating comparison of David Bowie’s album Hunky Dory on CD vs. vinyl.
2. LINER NOTES
The aura and nostalgia of the tangible object attracts a lot of vinyl fans. For one, there are zero limits to how you can organize your collection: it’s not like iTunes has an option to organize your MP3s autobiographically when it’s 3 a.m. and you want to pull a Rob Gordon from High Fidelity. For another, there’s the liner notes! In many cases throughout music history, the liners notes are meant to be an interactive part of the experience of the album. Take Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles: it’s like a game, trying to guess who each of the dozens of people are gathered together on the cover, and inside the liner notes there are even images you could cut out – that is, if you really need a paper mustache and want to damage an original pressing of a classic record.
3. RECORD STORES
Before the rise of the MP3 weekly pilgrimages to music stores used to be a common fan activity, bonding with your friends on a trip to the mall for your favorite band’s new album release. Record stores keep that sense of community alive, and since vinyl sales have been on the rise over the past several years, it looks like they’re sticking around. Since 2008, Record Store Day has taken place in hundreds of record stores around the world to increase the enthusiasm for buying vinyl even more by celebrating music and record store culture.
4. COMMUNITY OF COLLECTORS
In some ways, listening to music on vinyl is a more isolated activity because it is pinned to a specific location, rather than carried with you in your pocket like an MP3 player. However, that doesn’t mean it lacks in community. Listening to records can become an event, an excuse to have your friends or dates over to listen to music together. It can also be a way to meet new people with your common interest. Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can find a community of like-minded aficionados for practically anything you like. Vinyl is no different. Check out Tumblr or the Record Collector’s Guild to chat and trade with collectors around the world, or look up if there’s a MeetUp in your area.
Too introverted to go seek a collectors community but still want its benefits of expanding your collection? VNYL is a fantastic place to start. VNYL is a monthly record subscription service founded by some cool cats in California who also run a VNYL record store. You build up your music profile, connect your Spotify account and each month a smart team of curators assembles a box of three new records based on your tastes. It’s a musical surprise at your doorstep every month, put together with care, like a friend who’s made you a mixtape saying, “You just have to hear this.”
Jessica Kane is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Turntables.
Are you a vinyl junkie?
I’d love to hear what makes this format great to you. And if you’re looking for a great music subscription service, like VNYL, here’s a few others that I recommend checking out.
Love from a budding vinyl junkie,