Vinyl was dead. At least it was thought to be in 2006 when vinyl sales hit an all time low. Fast forward to December 2016, when vinyl record sales alone, not physical music overall, surpassed digital for the first time in music history. Is Vinyl Back? It would appear vinyl is well and truly back on the scene.
What changed in those 10 years?
The dawn of Record Store Day, having recently celebrated it’s 10th anniversary, coincides perfectly with vinyl’s bounce back. RSD is an annual celebration of independent record stores and vinyl music with tons of records only available to buy for this one day. Expect massive queues every year, I had to wait for 4 hours last time and that’s a short wait!
One day a year isn’t enough to change the course of record history, so what else could it be?
I believe it’s the physicality. For me, that’s a big part of it. When we were all downloading music in the late 00’s we lost that completely, especially with my generation who hit their early teens just as mp3 came into its own. And now we’re still missing physicality with streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.
Gone were the days of tracing the lyrics with your finger, gone were the days of reading whom the artist wishes to thank and who supported them whilst they created one of the most important things of their life. The words and photographs in those booklets bring such a human connection to the music that we love. That was lost when we went digital. You could listen to a track every single day, have the lyrics wrong and not know the face behind the music.
Music is a big part of any of our lives, it must be for you as you’re reading this article on a website dedicated purely to music, so it’s natural to crave the complete experience. It’s been said that you don’t own an album until you own the vinyl. Whilst there may be truth in this, I have to respectfully disagree. It’s 2017, you can own music in a million different ways, CD, mp3, and there’s a certain level of ownership that comes with streaming. Of course vinyl is one of these options, and one that is considered for the ‘die hards’, though this is definitely changing.
Vinyl players are more affordable than ever, and the supermarket Sainsbury’s is the UK’s biggest seller of vinyl (to the dismay of many, including myself), perhaps partly thanks to its push on Own Label albums.
Vinyl’s resurgence may well just be a trend in the way of Polaroid cameras making a comeback, however those who really enjoy it will be here for the long haul. Again, it goes back to physicality, people want their photographs printed instantly so they can hold them and cherish the memories.
Is this resurgence forever? Only time will tell. Right now it’s on the rise and likely will be for a bit longer, but no matter what there are new vinyl fans out there that weren’t there 10 years ago. I only acquired a player last year and I’ve been well and truly converted by the fact we’re holding music in our hands. We’re watching the sounds be made with our own eyes instead of seeing a little timer change on our iPhone.
So, is vinyl back?
Vinyl’s day was long gone, however like any Hollywood blockbuster, it’s had a grand return.