BACKTRACKING FORWARD: THE PERSEVERANCE OF VINYL
I have a confession to make. I am an addict. I have relinquished my living room, basement and garage to enough piles of records to construct a sturdy fall-out shelter. Most recently, I engaged in a discussion with a six-year-old boy on why buying a record was a better investment than buying a loaf of bread to eat. For over ten years, records have been my lifeline. While it may sound like I am insane, buying and selling records actually keeps me grounded in reality “ providing me with an infinite hobby and business that revolves around music.
Welcome to Backtracking Forward, a weekly column that will discuss various topics related to the resurgence of vinyl in the mainstream public, alongside featuring some of OurStage’s finest talent across many genres. The term “backtracking” refers to literally spinning an LP backwards while the platter is in motion to cue up a point on a song. And although technology is moving forward with the delivery of music as a product, music buyers have re-embraced the long player.
A renaissance is upon us. Bands are returning to vinyl when releasing new albums. Labels are resurrecting their back catalogs and repressing classic discs. Stores are selling turntables again. While technology may be light years ahead of the record player, fanatics have helped resurrect the LP from its hibernation, bridging a strong connection to the past by allowing countless albums to be rediscovered by a new generation. For sixty-one years, music was heard by dropping diamond tipped styli into grooves of melted vinyl. With this recent revival, the record album is finally regaining a foothold in the market.
Major labels had all but given up on the LP around 1990 when the CD finally surpassed vinyl in sales, and the medium was phased out. Lifelong collections of albums were tossed out the window to make room for new CDs “ a thought that makes me cringe with agony. The general public was tricked into thinking the LP was obsolete, and a noxious potion of consumerism was administered to every customer in order to fuel sales of CD players. Technophiles and download junkies might ignore this return to a more primitive form of music delivery, but a whole new generation of audiophiles is being born.
Just because you might not own a record collection doesn’t mean you can’t begin to wet your feet. It’s never too late to hop on the bandwagon, even for your musical career. The question whether to simultaneously release your CD with a limited vinyl pressing is once again strongly relevant, with many of these released LP’s including a digital download along with the album. Costs and marketability of pressing wax, as well as collectibility and my own foray into the underbelly of the vinyl world are just some of the topics to be fleshed out on a weekly basis, providing insight into an aspect of the industry that is re-adapting with the times.
This return to analog is not simply a fad that will die out faster than 8-track tapes. People from all over the world are embracing records again and while they may not be ready to throw their hard drives out the window, they are making room in the house for the LP collection.