There is a growing trend across the nation as nostalgic practices continue to rise in popularity. This trend has been particularly evident through the resurgence of the vinyl record.
“We have seen customers, especially younger ones, moving back in time over the last five to ten years,” record store owner Mike Matthews said. “They want older music and still want vinyl and cassettes. Our business has hit highs that we did not see coming. Our business tactics are not much different than they were 30 years ago. It has been a great time as the old is coming back. Rock on!”
“The Guardian” found that vinyl record sales hit a 25-year high last year, while digital formatting has dropped in the last few years. 2016 was the first year in the 21st century in which vinyl sales outperformed digital downloads.
Sony Music Entertainment recently announced that they will begin pressing vinyl records following a 28-year break. This announcement came following an increased demand and success among competitors such as Columbia and 20th Century Fox.
Several explanations have been offered regarding the rise in popularity among older artists and the connection with rises in vinyl record sales. A primary reason for vinyl record sales surpassing digital downloads is the fact that a vinyl record is tangible.
“Vinyl is better than digital because you physically hold the music in your hand,” record collector Josh Hagen said. “I have records that have been around since the 1960s and 1970s, it’s just mind blowing to me whenever I pick those records up that this plastic disk is older than I am.”
Amazon has seen a rise in vinyl sales with the “AutoRip” option for customers purchasing music. With most compact disc and vinyl record sales, Amazon’s “AutoRip” option offers the digital download in addition to the tangible formats. Along with promoting vinyl collecting, it has assisted inventory cleaning for the internet giant.
Another interesting association with the vinyl record is the record turntable. Available in several themes and structures, the turntable is gradually returning to its former glory.
“I started collecting vinyl because I was interested in how turntables worked,” Hagen said.
Established in 2003, Ion has found success with their various turntable options. From Ford Mustang themed turntables to traditional suitcase-style carry cases. Ion has heavily invested in the vinyl record resurgence.
Appealing to younger individuals, Ion recently introduced the Bluetooth speaker turntable. This product has been a positive addition as the distinguishable sound of the vinyl record meets wireless technology. These turntables are available at affordable rates, further promoting the vinyl movement.
Digital conversion is an option with most modern turntables. The opportunity to turn a vinyl record into a digital format has helped the hobby expand as listeners can experience both listening styles.
“The sound off of the needle is incredible,” lifelong music follower Dick Hagen said. “Vinyl records are timeless.”
Historically speaking, the ushering of vinyl records is symbolic in multiple ways. In the 1980s, the compact disc hit the music scene, becoming the most sought musical format. With a small size and fair sound quality, the compact disc took over, essentially replacing the vinyl record. Following the introduction of digital downloads, compact disc sales dropped dramatically. Some automobile manufacturers have even halted compact disc stereo installation. Today, vinyl records are making their way back to the top over the compact disc.
As the digital community continues to dwindle, the vinyl record community is welcoming new collectors at monthly events like the Keystone Record Collectors music expo. Free to the public, this event takes place on the first Sunday of every month at the Continental Inn on Route 30.
With yearly events such as Record Store Day each April, the vinyl record is back to stay. How far will vinyl records go this time around?