Vinyl Must Prevail!

Music sounds better when you can touch it

Mar 20 2012, 12:00am

According to data reported by Nielson Research Group, 2011 vinyl sales beat 2010 sales by over one million copies. This may sound comforting to fans of the physical format, but the numbers reported for digital sales were much higher and are still rapidly growing. Since we live in a time where things move and change faster and faster each day, humans will more than likely continue to gravitate toward the most simple answer and as a result, sales figures for digital music will continue to increase. Regardless of how people choose to enjoy music, I feel that vinyl records will eventually triumph once again. Here are a few reasons that vinyl has my vote!

1.Records sound better!

A clean record, when played on the proper equipment, has the ability to sound far superior to any other sound medium. I've heard guitar tracks on 13th Floor Elevator LPs that basically don't exist on digital versions. It should also be noted that the phrases: "It's a warmer sound" or "I love the cracks and pops" are typical cop-outs said by people who either don't really enjoy records, don't know anything about records, or need to take better care of their records. The warm sound comment usually means the person's treble and mid-range need an adjustment. The only time you should even consider "loving the cracks and pops" is when you are listening to a Mississippi John Hurt blues 78 on your antique gramophone and you don't have a choice. Take care of your records, buy a decent setup, and hear the difference.

"Slip Inside This House" by 13th Floor Elevators.There are guitar moments found within this track that you will only get to experience by actually hearing the vinyl record.

2. MP3s have totally turned most of the world into a greatest hits/shuffle generation.

That's so lame! I'm not saying that there aren't people who have 4,000 terabytes of music on countless hard drives in their collection, but how many times have you looked at someone's MP3 player just to find that they have 2,500 artists with only one or two tracks by each loaded. In a world with a collective apparent out of control A.D.D. issue, the instant gratification associated with digital music is flooding the industry, insulting hardworking musicians and honest record labels, and causing many listeners to become unappreciative.

3. I can't escape with MP3s!

A record makes me sit down, read liner notes, have a snack, drink a beer, etc. I can drift away and spend time with the music and not take it for granted like I would if I was jogging, typing, riding the subway - all while "listening" to music with those stupid little earphones that actually go into your ear holes. Gross!

4. Social, physical interactions make music what it is.

With the absolute loss of physical music formats we'd lose a major ingredient of the music magic. Isn't it fun to hang out and talk about music?!

Digital music begs to be controlled and censored. People will eventually get tired of all the censorship bullshit that is associated with digital music and need a restraint-fee alternative. Pretty soon the music industry will propose some new pathetic and greedy legislation designed to make them more money. Remember PIPA (Protect IP Act) and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act)? The proposals for each bill may have failed for now, but a new acronym may eventually sneak by. If passed you can expect music sharing rules to quickly evolve into a music industry power, that of which will naturally attempt to control music (Imagine living in a country like Iran, where Western music is forbidden! It could theoretically happen and it would definitely not be cool!).

5. The Hunt.

This one is pretty simple. Unless you absolutely love sitting on your computer and searching for new and exciting music files, the thrill of searching out and discovering records is unfuckwithable.

6. You can't invite a hot date over and show off your MP3 collection. Do you know how sizzling things have become for me in the past when I've dimmed the lights and whipped out my copy of What am I Gonna Do by Gloria Scott?!??! You think you and your MP3 player got game? Doubt it.

Gloria Scott's "(A Case of) Too Much Lovemakin' " sounds magical on vinyl.

7. Records are the longest running musical medium.

No other musical medium has survived for this long (135 years!). 8-Tracks, Cassettes, Mini Discs, and now CDs all have already gone or are going the way of the Plesiosaurus. The music industry loves to repackage the same shit over and over again, so don't be a sucker; MP3s are boring!

8. MP3s are invisible.

I used to be a real CD freak. In the 90s I would go to my favorite record shop multiple times per week and scoop up as many CDs as I could. A few years into my CD hoarding, I started getting these free internet startup CDs in the mail and I began to question the actual production and supply cost of a compact disc. I mean if forty million Americans also received this free online startup CD, I figured they couldn't be worth that much. Back then the retail price on a CD was pushing twenty bucks a pop. I understand that there are a ton of other expenses involved when producing a music CD, but right around the end of the 90's I officially started to feel ripped off. I eventually switched to vinyl and knew then that there would be no turning back. One thing that has become fairly obvious to everyone is that MP3s have been selling like hotcakes. From my perspective, someone who felt gypped when purchasing a CD, imagine what it meant to really consider what an MP3 was. An MP3 is an invisible product with perceived value that the music industry has convinced most of the population to spend way too much money on. It's easy cash for the label, as it excludes manufacturing and overhead costs. Something a lot of smart labels do is include the MP3 files with the purchase of the vinyl record. That is much more fair of a deal, and it's affordable too because it costs the label nearly nothing to include. Keep spending all your cash on MP3s if that's your thing, but don't complain when fresh air get a tax.

Previously - These Musicians Each Have Their Own Planet

If you live in New York, you can go bother Jeff at Black Gold Records in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.