The Vinyl Deception: Records Are Not As Big As You Think
Vinyl has risen from the dead over the last nine years, under the guise of superior audio quality and the full package of liner notes. This trend has led to the likes of Sony and Panasonic introducing record players recently.
Wired magazine has even gone on to write about how vinyl records won CES 2016 and while this is true, I believe we're giving records a lot more credit than they're due.
The reason: they are never played.
Annual UK vinyl sales
Before you attack, that's not to say I have a problem with vinyl existing in popular culture. In my opinion, it still remains the best for audio quality. The revival began in 2007, as sales grew for the first time since 1996.
But for all the millions of pounds these aforementioned companies have spent on reviving hardware production for listening (and ripping) experiences, and will continue to spend on marketing, they will make a significant loss or barely break even (if they're lucky).
The upcoming younger audience of vinyl customers do not buy them to listen to. Vinyl falls into human's psychological urge to collect things. We already have the means to listen to music in the form of streaming services, and you won't tell any differences without a decent set of speakers or headphones (check out my somewhat pessimistic opinions on rapper-branded headphones to help you find a good pair). But we still purchase records, most of which will be bought alongside a frame to put it in on our walls.
This means we actually pay twice to listen to the same music, so why is that?
To those who still slap a record on from time to time, I salute you for fighting the good fight. There is still an audience, from DJs to audiophiles, who will continue to actively use this medium. But let's be honest, vinyl records have become the new stamp collection: a distant memory of older times that has become delightfully retro for the youth to rally behind.
And kudos to them. Again, this isn't an attack on the audience or the industry. Through sheer force of numbers, the industry has noticed a demand and responded in turn. I just think companies have wrongly concluded what the audience wants from this industry.
Vinyl is not just for listening anymore. It's a statement of appreciation.