I love listening to vinyl, there is something about dropping the needle down onto a thread that really appeals to the way I like to listen to music. I listen to vinyl when I really want to listen to an artist; taking that extra time seems to give a finer appreciation for the music and it is a sure fire way to become absorbed into every details of the sounds that the artist created. I still have a lot of music on MP3/ipod; both these things are great for having music in a convenient form. Cooking some dinner for some friends, using an ipod mix can ensure that quality music rolls all night long with no breaks. But is anyone really listening to the music in this instance, if conversation is the name of the game then the last thing you want is to have to flip a record mid sentence. But if you really want to impress some music loving friends, set your turntable(s) up in a convenient place and make the effort to play records all night, pass around the artwork when someone ask about what you’re playing, nothing is a better conversation piece then the cover of Sir Joe Quaterman and Freesoul’s self titled record cover. Even if you have the most hardened digital advocate they will understand that this wouldn’t be the same if you where passing around an ipod to look at artwork.
For me nothing sells a new record better then being able to access a free download with it. It seems to me that paying $30 for a record and then getting the download for free is economically correct given what people seem to be willing to pay for downloaded music, plus me the disappointment of comparing the digital rip and the vinyl version. Even ripping a record at 24bit/96kbps to a wave file (no compression) the quality difference is noticeable especially, as Alan Bayer mentions in his post, at the high end of the frequency range with instruments such as strings or cymbals loosing their sweetness and clarity and the bottom end with bass loosing it’s punch and becoming muddy. When listening to the digital version alone these things may pass you by, but once you compare the difference it’s hard to deny the quality of sound that vinyl has to offer.
I do think that digital will continue to grow, the sheer convenience of it is hard to ignore. I do however think that vinyl is the way of the future that will save the record industry from imploding into shallow pop songs about the days of week. Vinyl is for lovers of music, it’s for people with opinions about music who look past the latest viral sensation and into the quality and substance of the music. These people don’t always agree on what they like, but there is a mutual respect that if you’re into collecting vinyl, be it rock, funk, jazz, hip hop, that you are a fan of music for the music. It seems that the doomed format is the compact disk, the name is the give away, it simple isn’t compact anymore. Why take a dozen CD’s that can get damaged on a road trip when you can take your entire collection plus security of knowing that it’s (legally, no fair use is Australia) backed up at home.