Chase Charaba, Editor-in-Chief
Being brought up in the CD and digital music generation dominated by iTunes and Spotify, it might seem odd to have 482 vinyl records and a turntable. But, it’s becoming more common. People are opting to return to physical copies of their favorite albums. Vinyl is making a comeback, and that’s both good and bad.
The return of vinyl as a profitable medium for music consumption has been coming for about a decade, since 2008.
According to Fortune, in 2015 sales of vinyl records were up 32 percent to $416 million, their highest level since 1988.
The article also read whereas a decade ago only independent record stores sold vinyl, large chain stores like Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters and Hot Topic sell vinyl. It’s not just older bands releasing music on vinyl either. Artists like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber also have LP versions of their albums.
However, as thevinylfactory.com reports, rock remains the most popular genre for vinyl purchasers with 69 percent of sales. The website also said that U.S. vinyl sales reached 13.1 million in 2016.
Vinyl profits peaked in 1978 but remained steady until 1982, when sales dropped in favor of cassettes and then CDs. By 1988 vinyl was obsolete, reaching historic lows between 1991 and 2007 before increasing again in 2008.
This revival resulted in over-priced new 180 gram albums that line record stores. Why pay between $20-40 for new vinyl when listeners could buy a CD for $9-15? Besides, new vinyl falls victim to reduced sound quality because they are pressed from CD and digital masters.
The best quality records were those pressed in the 1970s and ‘80s. Buying used records is more affordable and a lot more fun. Spending hours in the summer heat digging through boxes of dusty old albums at yard sales for a bargain is better than spending $40 on new, lifeless vinyl pressings.
This revival has also encourage more people to start buying vinyl, many of whom don’t have a turntable or won’t play these albums to begin with, leaving fewer selections for those who actually buy vinyl to listen to. Vinyl records aren’t collectibles. They aren’t wall art. They’re music and they deserve to be played.
The problem is that people will spend a pretty penny to buy up all of the records at yard sales, so that they can turn around and resell them for much more. There have been countless times where these collectors and vinyl resellers have beat music enthusiasts to yard sales, leaving them nothing but the worst, most scratched up records to pick through. Good used vinyl is getting harder to find.
So, the vinyl revival can be seen both ways. It’s great that society is discovering that vinyl is the greatest music format of all time, but it’s making it harder for those who actually appreciate vinyl to get their hands on good records.
While Record Store Day has come and gone, there’s always summer yard sales to look forward to.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
Other than being involved in journalism I write epic/high fantasy novels (book one is sitting at 230 pages), continuously add to my growing collection of 500 vinyl records and make videos on YouTube. I am planning to transfer to University of Washington -Tacoma to earn my Bachelor’s of Science in IT, but my dream is to one day publish my novels.
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