You might be asking yourself, with the advent of the digital age, “Why should I want to buy vinyl?” I think that’s a question that every music enthusiast has to ask and answer for him/herself. I will provide you with five reasons why I think you should love vinyl. Let me know your thoughts and feelings on the matter in the comment section!
Reason #5 – Album Art
Okay, this reason is entirely superficial, but there’s something special about holding a 12’’ album cover in your hands. It seems more real. It looks more real. It feels more real. It feels like you’re appreciating art instead of just listening. You can decorate your house or music rooms with them. Put them up on the walls. You can try your hand at sleeveface. Go to Snapchat and make a hilarious vinyl face swap lip-synch story. Like such:
Reason #4 – Limited Edition and Bonus Materials
While neither inherent nor exclusive to vinyl, many records (particularly double LPs) come with lots of fun extras. Oftentimes sleeves will have extra pictures and lyrics that are much easier to read than CD inserts. Some records come with posters or lithographs in with the sleeves. Gatefold records usually have extra photos or a note from the artists. Many records are released as limited edition colored vinyl, and an increasing number of vinyl records come with a digital download card included! If you are invested enough to buy vinyl, the artists know that you really care about their music and they usually try to give their most dedicated fans all the extra love they can. Some vinyl releases even have bonus tracks that are not available on their digital counterparts!
Reason #3 – Sound Quality
Now, I will be the first to admit: vinyls do not always get the mixing attention that they deserve before being pressed. Sometimes they’re just slapped on and there will be no difference in sound quality from their digital parallel. However, vinyl has a much higher potential for greatness than an mp3. The realization of this potential is entirely dependent on digital vs analog recording, if the album was resequenced for vinyl, etc. If this is a major reason for you in collecting vinyl, it’s a totally valid one. Just make sure you do your research. Know your numbers. Care for your equipment.
Reason #2 – Nostalgia and the Listening Experience
It may seem foolish to many, but there is something to be said for nostalgia. In our fast-paced world where we are constantly on the go, it’s nice to have something that anchors us to our roots. Each vinyl is a little piece of history, whether the record is new or old. If digital singles are Vines, then vinyls are films. You don’t just skip around to the best scenes — listen to the whole story the way that the artist intended you to. I have very firm rules for myself about listening to an album for the first time, regardless of format. Once I begin, the process cannot be interrupted for any reason. I don’t know the story yet, so I can’t just jump in the middle. I listen to an album front to back, all the way through, without pause. You can’t read the last page of a story and expect to get the same out of it as if you had read the whole thing. I don’t know why music doesn’t get that same respect. Vinyl demands that respect of you. You have to be invested in the art of the wholeness. No jumping around or skipping tracks. It helps you to understand the music better and connect with the artists’ intention. For this reason, you should only get albums that you love on vinyl. Not songs that you love. You have to be invested in the whole thing. That will make your vinyl collection 10X more special anyway. Vinyl inherently enhances the artistry in albums.
Reason #1 – You get a chance to support artists you love
In the digital age, it is easier than ever for an artist to get their music out into the world. But it’s much more difficult to make a living at it. There have been legal battles, disputes, and heated conversation about the current state of the music industry and the direction it’s headed in. There are problems with piracy, many artists who are popular on streaming venues hardly see a cent of the profit, and because of the ease of digital distribution, the market is oversaturated. Physical sales and concerts are the big money makers for artists — even more so when you buy directly from the artist (which is why I always link to the artists’ page when I write about their music and not to an Amazon link). If you value artists and want them to continue being able to make the music that you love, try to support them in any way you can. Vinyl production is a risky and expensive process, but it also has the most potential with profit margins. It’s up to us to make it worth their while to keep making music available to us that we love.
Congratulations for making it all the way to the end of the post! You deserve a bonus vinyl face swap photo.
If you are curious and want a glimpse into my own personal vinyl collection, feel free to check it out.