I am a vinyl junkie and have written about my habit before:
Also some seriously bad LP cover art…
I perked up when I saw this in the New York Times (there is a video after the ad, too).
Rusty old pressing plants are being bought up, refurbished after years of non-use and neglect, and still can’t keep up with demand for new vinyl pressings. Many independent labels are putting out music on vinyl (you can’t copy it except on cassette, taking us back to the 1970s). Vinyl is cool; you can watch it spin, you can enjoy the artwork, you can hold it in your hand. If you’re a fool like me, you can shell out $40 and get an audiophile pressing of a great historic recording.
Millenium kids growing up on Napster, file sharing, Pandora and Spotify now want something palpable. And they are buying records also because vinyl comes packaged with cover art, which is part of the cool factor. Vinyl sounds better than MP3s too. What we are seeing is a revolt against the increasingly disembodied act of consuming and enjoying music.
I used to write liner notes for vinyl albums back in the day, and have kept a lot of vinyl around even when CDs replaced them. Much of the knowledge I attempt to impart in my salon classes or on my KCRW shows I’ve gotten from liner notes on LPs or CDs. I read the CD booklets. Deprived of the album’s 411, how are you going to learn anything about it?
I also grew up with Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside and Impulse jazz on vinyl, and loved the great graphic design, photos, and images. Reid Miles of Blue Note, for instance. When buying vinyl back in the day when I had little money, you could see who was playing on the disc, the various songs, and photos of all the artists. You don’t get that from Spotify; on iTunes it’s much less direct and impactful, plus you might not learn anything there either.
Going to a record store that sells new and used vinyl is like a treasure hunt; it’s always fun and you never know what you might find. Thank goodness we have Amoeba Music here in LA. And if you pick up your free issue of Record Collector News, you will find many independent record stores all over the Southland.
Will cassettes be next?