Vinyl records are on the come up.
Nearly eight million old-fashioned vinyl records have been sold this year, up 49% from the same period last year, industry data show. 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.
So is vinyl here to stay or just another millennial trend brought to life by hipster culture meant only to fall back into obscurity? Its hard to say. Despite the number of records sold this year, vinyl only makes up 2% of music sales. Regardless, the numbers are rising.
To try to understand the change in the market, we must first look at why people like vinyl. In terms of sound quality, vinyl technically lightly degrades audio upon pressing. However, many people find the change aesthetically pleasing and perhaps “warmer” than digital audio and the degradation caused is nowhere near the damage that mp3 encoding causes. If digital music is ever widely released at full resolution, it could mean certain death for the record.
Beyond the quality of the sound, most people value vinyl for the ritual and the satisfaction of physically owning their music. Records seem to hold a soul while digital downloads create a sense of detachment with the album.
It’s hard to say where the market will bring vinyl. For more information on the subject, check out the original article at the Wall Street Journal.
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