While the bookstore has taken a dive, the record store has made a comeback. There are so many reasons why this happened. Whether you are looking for a bit of nostalgia or want to enjoy the quality of a vinyl release, records have become a mainstay of the music lover. Even if you aren’t an audiophile, someone who loves quality audio, you can enjoy the allure of vinyl. Below are some reasons why the record store and vinyl records are back.
Browsing, Talking, Atmosphere
The record store used to be a mainstay of American culture. Its significance waned for many years, but it has returned in a big way. This is not just because vinyl records are great, it’s also because people love the process of buying them.
Going into a record store, talking to the staff about music, asking them what they have from a particular artist, and immersing yourself in the atmosphere is half of the enjoyment. In record stores, you find bootlegs, imports, and special pressings you might not have known existed. It is a process of discovery that makes you feel tender about the records you buy.
Another reason that the record store has returned is because of the vinyl sales. Vinyl sales have increased because people are collecting it. Before, records were the way that humans listened to music, but now they are both a medium for listening and a collector’s item.
Collecting vinyl is serious. People go so far as to collect multiple pressings, colors, and alternates of the same record. Depending on the person, their music taste, and what they want to collect, vinyl has become a very popular thing to search for. A library of vinyl is much more fun to look at, sift through, and it’s much more impressive to present.
Vinyl As A Work Of Art
Between the larger packaging, artwork, and the vinyl itself, the whole record is a work of art. Vinyl can be colored in just about any way. There can be splatters, swirls, interesting colors, and even full pictures printed onto the vinyl. The liner notes and lyrics are easier to see on a large piece of paper.
Vinyl records are great to present because they look great. CDs are a lot smaller, making them less alluring than vinyl packaging. When you open that seal and put the needle on that record for the first time, you’ve already begun enjoying the art of it.
Emphasis On Long Form
The vinyl record is great because it encourages the listener to put on a whole album and listen to all of it. Of course, you can put on a specific side or even find the groove for a particular song if you know where it is, but overall, the vinyl record asks for your attention. It beckons for you to sit with your friends and enjoy the sounds from start to finish. With all of modern music putting the single and playlist before the album, some people, especially older folks, still want to listen to the entire record as it was conceived.
The Sound Quality
The biggest and most significant reason to listen to vinyl is that it is higher quality than digital files. CDs use WAV files, which are uncompressed digital audio files, but the MP3 and other iterations compress the file and degrade the quality of the sound. Vinyl is analog, meaning that you don’t have any digital degradation. Not only is it uncompressed, but analog vinyl also handles the low end of the frequency better than digital files. Overall, it results in a warmer, fuller, more diverse sound.
After all this time, we still haven’t come up with a better way to play music than through a vinyl record on a good turntable and speakers. This remains the top of the line. People continue to become obsessed with this kind of audio, even using vacuum tubes to power their turntables the way you’d power a guitar amp. Vinyl is back and record stores are back because of it. Of course, it will wax and wane. Vinyl is niche, but for those who know and love it, the album such as it is will remain.