The emergence of vinyl fans among a generation that didn’t necessarily grow up with it left some scratching their heads, but its success is undeniable. Vinyl records, which some thought had taken the same forgotten route of 8-tracks and laser discs, are the one format that’s seen an increase during a notable slump in record sales. With artists like Arcade Fire, the Black Keys and the Beatles leading the vinyl march, the format is here to stay, at least for a while.
In celebration of Black Friday’s Record Store Day event, we asked record stores across the United States what they thought about the return of the waxy, black format. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Doyle Davis, Grimey’s New & Preloved Music
Used (or as we call it, ‘Preloved’) vinyl has always been in strong demand by our customers. The thing that’s changed is the dramatic increase in available titles to stock and the expansion of the customer base interested in this venerable format…
I wonder if the inconvenience of vinyl playback is part of the appeal (even if it’s on a subconscious level). With most devices being so convenient these days, the act of playing a record, getting up to turn it over and all that, forces the listener to pay more attention…
I actually get asked this question all the time and, honestly, we’re just guessing as to what it is. The only real answer I have is whatever magic was in the grooves originally, that sparked my musical passion and so many of my generation and before, is still in there.
2. Terry Currier, Music Millennium
Vinyl Records are one of the greatest inventions ever made. They’re the purest form of sound of any format of recorded music that has been introduced to music fans. The industry did a big disservice to music fans by forcing vinyl out in the ‘80s. Not only the great quality of sound but the get quality that went into many of the packages.
Vinyl was treated more like art than the CD and especially more than digital downloads. You interface with the packaging much more with a 12” x 12” than you do with a 5” x 5” cover of the CD, thusly you learn much more about who all made it possible for the music you are experiencing.
...We are a society of convenience and because of that we stomped on the quality of the art of music. Vinyl may not be the salvation of the record industry but this new renaissance in vinyl is here to stay.
3. Matthew Bradish, Underground Sounds
Vinyl requires a commitment. One tends to pay attention more to a natural, magnetic recording that could be scratched and must be attended to, to fully experience. One has to get up to flip the record or replay a track. It’s more about the album than that one “Glee” track you and your friends beat to death. Digital media, even CDs, allow many people to miss the point of a good record. I can recall someone at a party playing “I Get Knocked Down” by Chumbawumba repeatedly for over an hour and that band was better than that song.
4. Neil Schield, Origami Vinyl
You get this awesome piece of artwork and liner notes — things that really sucked on CD and are pretty much non-existent with digital. For us in our mid-30’s or older, vinyl never went away or died, it has always been around and, for some of us, was always the preferred format. It is awesome to see kids buying music again and getting excited about owning something rather than just thinking of music as a commodity. It’s really special.
5. Jeffrey Moss, Streetlight Records
One of the things that is missing from the download experience is sociability and a group experience. One can share a play list or put a device on a docking station with digital, bit nothing creates a group dynamic like sitting around a record player and putting on an album side or playing a track or a single. Having full size album art and liner notes complements the group discussion and discovery process.