First published on http://www.wmnf.org/
Intimate, warm, tactile– their tangibility make us feel connected, and for some, scratch a sentimental itch. This is why vinyl records are still an important part of musical culture, and why they’ve been regaining popularity since about 2005, after being largely forgotten in the 90s and early aughts- the age of CDs and later digital music and streaming. While those more modern and convenient conveyors of songs have their place, especially the digital variety (as CDs seem likely to go the way of cassette tapes), people are turning back to LPs for a more involved listening experience.
According to Nielsen Entertainment and Billboard’s 2014 Mid-Year Music Report, vinyl sales increased by 31 percent in 2013, and by 40 percent in the first six months of this year. To be clear, no one is saying that vinyl is going to come back and override the technological boon of digital omnipresence, but the fact that we do have an all-you-can- download buffet of any music at any time, and these old-fashioned Long-Playing records are not only hanging in there, but even finding new fans besides those who have a nostalgia for them from childhood, tells us something about our intrinsic nature.
In this era of unparalleled connectivity, impersonal communication methods, intangible others in cyberspace, and push-button, or touch-screen play-backs of digitally recorded music, something is still missing. Many of us long for the hands-on involvement that vinyl records provide.