My decision in 1991 to move away from collecting and playing records was purely practical. Having owned and operated a record for the previous three years, and spun nothing but vinyl on the radio since 1983, the novelty and convenience of CD’s was attractive, especially considering I’d moved myself and too many friends record collections in and out of apartments. Then, after fifteen years of not spinning vinyl at home, and twenty years of rarely playing old-school records on the radio (because radio is almost entirely playing digital files now), I missed the tactile nature of it all – the gate-fold sleeve, the sound of needle dropping, the warmth of the tone of the record on the turntable. So I found a vintage Dual. Then upgraded to a new Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (not high end, but not a bad deck, as they say, retailing for a little more than $400.), and I’m back to collecting records and playing ’em (like this slab of red vinyl below), and I’m not alone evidently.
Truth be told, there’s millions of albums in racks of used record stores, increasingly priced at double, and triple and well beyond what many can imagine paying for a record, but somehow the pull to get a copy of Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti spinning again, is immense. So the forty-five bucks gets spent to make it happen.
As for current bands offering up music on record, that’s a relative boom industry again too.
As the story goes, “nearly eight million old-fashioned vinyl records have been sold this year, up 49% from the same period last year”.
The story continues: “Younger people, especially indie-rock fans, are buying records in greater numbers, attracted to the perceived superior sound quality of vinyl and the ritual of putting needle to groove”.
Only problem is – the factories that are cranking out new vinyl, are on their last legs and the manufacturers are simply not able to keep up with demand. The question remains – is the vinyl resurgence, in terms of the pressing of new music, strong enough to warrant sufficient investment in technology and equipment to keep the process moving forward? And not only in terms of the machines that make the records, but also there’s the question of the lack of suppliers of raw vinyl.