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Vinyl: The Phoenix of the Recording Industry

Paul draws the line

I remember like it was yesterday, my son told me he finally picked an instrument to play. Me being a musician thought great, drums? bass? keyboards or guitar? And then he hit me with “Turntables” – after I brought my jaw up from the floor I said ok cool, lets check it out, I mean after all when I was young and I told my dad I wanted an electric guitar he pretty much had the same reaction. That was 12 years ago and he’s gotten good at it, playing gigs all around town, but when he started out and I realized he was using my vinyl to scratch on, that’s where I drew the line. “Son I don’t mind you scratching, just GET YOUR OWN RECORDS TO DO IT ON”. I have a boatload of vinyl recordings dating back to when I was in my teens. Still have a great turntable although it’s not set up, but hey one thing at a time. Seems like we’ve moved on through the cassette days to the cd’s and that made it all that more convenient to listen to music. I know a few audiophiles who claim they can hear the difference between vinyl and digital cd’s. my ears aren’t that finely tuned, probably from standing in front of amps all my life but there are those who’s ears are that finely tuned, and for them the resurgence of vinyl is a step in the right direction. But it’s not just them, audiophiles. It seems that there is a youth movement in collecting vinyl.

According to a report from Great Britain vinyl record sales are up 62 in the last three months (see reference link below).  The trend is being fuelled by young music fans that listen to digital tracks through streaming services, but enjoy buying the albums like their parents by flicking through racks stacked with vinyl at record stores.  There’s something to the old format that is enticing to folks, it’s more of a tactile buzz I think.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI and BRIT Awards, said: “Vinyl is no longer the preserve of baby-boomers who grew up with the format. It now also appeals to a new generation of engaged younger fans and millennials.  While digital platforms provide fans instant and unlimited access to an ever-expanding cosmos of music, they can’t quite match the unique experience vinyl gives you - browsing for rare gems in your favorite record store, poring over the cover art and sleeve notes and enjoying the ritual of carefully dropping the stylus onto an LP and savoring its analogue sound.  Younger fans increasingly discover on digital but collect on vinyl.”

And incredibly, for the first time in 23 years, pop legend David Bowie has topped the vinyl album charts with Blackstar.  In Birmingham Alabama there is this stat that blew my mind - sales of vinyl records are trending up for the 10th consecutive year, according to The Nielsen Report.   Nearly 12 million vinyl records were sold in 2015, says Nielsen, making up around five percent of total music album sales.  “When I’m listening to a record, I feel like I have a closer connection to the artist that I’m listening to,” said Daniel Drinkard, owner of Seasick Records in Birmingham (see reference link below).  “And now-a-days, most records come with a digital download, so why would you purchase just a digital download, when you can have a record and a digital download, you know?” he added.   Drinkard started Seasick about three years ago. On Saturday, the store filled with dozens of people celebrating Record Store Day, a national movement to support local independent record stores.

Friends of mine in New Orleans, The New Orleans Suspects, are pressing vinyl of their latest release, and actually the last Little Feat record was released on vinyl as well, but the cost in producing vinyl is way up from back in the daze when that was all there was, therefore they charge more for them. But if you have a great stereo tube amp and a balanced arm turntable, with a couple of rocking speakers, you can get back to the early 70’s and bathe in the warmth. Happy listening!!!

 

Mirror:  Vinyl Breaks Records as  Sales of Retro Albums Rocket

Sun Times:  Vinyl Records Up for 10th Consecutive Year