Other than being used as coasters, there’s little else to do with your older, less…
Vinyl records do not appear to be going anywhere, so LUNO asked a couple of people in the music industry about the enduring legacy of vinyl. Their answers come from years of experience within the industry, and in some cases, working with popular musical artists in the studio.
It’s not just that people are nostalgic for vinyl, it’s that people still see it as a significant part of the music industry. Today’s artists are still fascinated by vinyl, even though many of them can put music out online for the whole world to hear much faster, and with no barriers to entry, compared to when vinyl was the principal format on the market.
Artists are still interested in vinyl because it gives them a specific type of personal satisfaction, according to Matt Fiedler, CEO of Vinyl Me, Please. “I think the imagery of a record is still relevant because it’s the idealistic format through which a body of work can be represented and appreciated. Not unlike a book, artists dream about releasing their debut record. It’s both a beginning and an end of a wildly personal process. It’s more than just releasing a record. It’s about sharing a piece of their soul with the world.”
For Grammy Award-winning engineer, mixer and producer Ryan Hewitt, vinyl records have endured for a variety of reasons. “The record’s place in history as the first mass-produced medium to get music into the hands of consumers makes it easy to obtain on the cheap. They’re relatively durable, so you can usually find descent copies of anything you’d want to hear. The longevity of the format makes records something of a nostalgic notion as well; people cherish the records that have been passed down through generations and get excited about scoring a rare find.”
Hewitt, who has worked with many top artists over the years, also understands that in an era of streaming, fans want a memento of their favorite artists. Something to point to as evidence of their fandom and their appreciation of the music.
“In today’s digital world, many people want a physical link to the music that they love, and I think this has been a big part of the recent resurgence of vinyl sales. The artwork is properly sized; you can actually hold the music in your hand and literally display your taste on a shelf. Plus, there’s the whole time-honored process of selecting a record, putting it on the turntable, cleaning it, and then dropping the needle to settle in for an experience — to appreciate the work of art that the musicians and their team spent loads of time and effort honing into its final form.”
Then there is the word record, used to refer to vinyl records. The word has stuck for decades, even though music formats have evolved over time.
“Artists probably refer to their work as “records” because of these historical and romantic notions of the medium itself. They’ve existed in one form or another since the 1930s, so records are deeply embedded in the making of music. No one involved in the music business has ever said, ‘I’m going into the studio to make a CD!’ (or worse, a tape or mp3 file!) mainly because the life spans of other formats have been quite short in comparison. Both the spirit and aesthetic of vinyl remain vital. Because regardless of where my work winds up, I always get to say that I spend my days making records.”
Vinyl records endure.
Your record player should too.
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