To some, owning and collecting vinyl records may still seem like a rather archaic way of enjoying music, however, in reality, the ‘death of vinyl’ never actually happened. In fact, in recent years people have definitely got back into the groove of owning vinyl, making it one of the most popular ways of listening to music of the moment.
Record sales actually hit a 25-year high in 2017, which is a 53% increase from 2015, and it seems that the tables have well and truly turned for this once obsolete music format. But just what has caused this great shift? We thought we’d explore a few of the reasons why!
They’re a tangible and tactile way to enjoy music
One of the main draws of a vinyl record is undoubtedly how enjoyable they are as a physical format. With artwork adorning the sleeves, they’re well worth displaying in your home, and surprisingly it seems that this is actually all that some people who collect records do with them.
If people love an artist that they have been streaming a lot, it seems that they simply want something that they can hold in their hands as well, and perhaps strangely to some, a 2016 ICM poll for the BBC found that 7% of people who were surveyed bought vinyl but didn’t actually own a turntable.
We spoke to Spincare, specialists in vinyl care and accessories, who told us “while many people believed that streaming services would kill the music industry and lead to fewer sales of physical formats and digital downloads when it comes to vinyl, the opposite appears to be true.
Particularly amongst young people these days, music fans are discovering music digitally but then choosing to collect their favourite artists on vinyl. The immediate convenience of streaming sites such as Spotify is actually a big benefit when it comes to exposing people to new music.
Streaming is more about access to music than ownership, and with all of the algorithms and machine learning we are now accustomed to, these sites are actually able to suggest music new and old to those who will appreciate it. These people are then choosing to support artists by buying their favourite records on vinyl, and a record also makes a great gift for the music lovers in your life.”
For many audiophiles, the sound quality of a vinyl record is one of the number one reasons why they are keen collectors, enjoying the warmer, richer quality of a record when compared to digital music or CDs. Digital tracks are compressed, and this can lead to a compromised sound quality, however, vinyl keeps its original format.
Of course, not everybody thinks that they can hear the difference, but there is something rather different about listening to non-digital music that just feels different, even if your ears don’t necessarily detect anything different. What’s more, vinyl offers a chance to experience an album or single exactly the way the artist intended it to sound from start to finish.
These reasons certainly help to explain why this revival has been taking place, and it will certainly be interesting to see if this upswing continues to spike sales in years to come. With events such as Record Store Day creating demand and interest, it may be safe to assume so for the time being.