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The sale of vinyl records is growing faster than ever. It is estimated that 9.7 units of vinyl were moved in the last year, climbing up 12% from the year before (Forbes). On first glance, it may seem like a backwards collector’s hobby. In a time where you can take your music anywhere, why would you spend money on these clunky discs along with a set up that, at its very smallest, counts as a small piece of furniture? As someone who has gone down that rabbit hole, I would love to talk on the merits of vinyl records and perhaps convince some of you to take a second look at vinyl as a way to listen to music.
One of my favorite parts of vinyl albums has to be the sense of physical ownership and collectability. When you buy music off of iTunes, you are actually just buying a license to listen to the music. You can’t sell or even bequeath your iTunes library to someone, no matter how long you’ve had it. If you listen to music on YouTube or Spotify, music can be added and deleted from the platform without notice. However, if you have the physical album version, it’s yours to keep unless you sell it off. There’s something beautiful about seeing the album cover blown up to 12 inches by 12 inches. Being able to flip through your own collection and take out the album of your choice provides such a great sense of satisfaction (bonus points if the vinyl is colored in something like translucent orange).
Collecting vinyl has also expanded my music taste. When I got a turntable, I first thought that I would just try to buy all of my favorite albums that I had digitally, and while I have bought my share of familiar artists’ albums, I also found that one of the best parts of vinyl collecting is the music discovery. There are plenty of cheap diamonds in the rough that one can find at a local records store. One of my favorite ‘new’ artists I found is called The Mystic Moods Orchestra with album titles such as Highway One and The Mystic Moods of Love. Sometimes you’ll just find weird and wild albums that were lost to the passage of time such as a radio recording of the British Sherlock Holmes broadcast (I fount that one for two dollars). While sometimes you might shell out over $20 for a premium new record, you can also buy a whole evening of entertainment and exploration for under $5. Plus, the adventure of finding new records is an afternoon trip in itself.
Vinyl is on the rise, and at first glance, it may not make much sense. However, vinyl records provide a new way for you to enjoy music and learn about bands and artists that you may never have heard before otherwise. If you are looking to find a new hobby or are looking for a new way to discover music, definitely consider getting yourself a turntable and starting a collection. It will definitely open up a whole new world in audio.