With vinyl record sales hitting the highest it had been since 1991 with 14.32 million sales in 2017, many people are asking, "Why did vinyl make a comeback?" If you find yourself asking this same question, we are here to help answer this. I found myself jumping on this bandwagon too for a few reasons that we will layout for you in this article.
Why Did Vinyl Make A Comeback Reasons
There are three major reasons that contributed to the return of vinyl records. Whether you are already jamming to your records from your vinyl collection or not, chances are you are doing it because of one of these reasons.
Vinyl Record Sound Quality
Vinyl records are analog and fully lossless in the consumer playback. In addition, it isn't compressed to the ceiling like MP3s have become due to the loudness war. If you are unsure of what the loudness war is, it is this competition due to services where you listen to multiple recordings from different artists one after another. If a song is quieter, it is somehow perceived as being weaker. As a producer, I can tell you that this is absolutely absurd, and I get frustrated the more and more I am requested to compress a mix. In my opinion, the song gets worse the more that it is compressed.
Please note that you if you are wanting to hear the positives of sound quality, you must listen on a good quality player. This does require some money to be put into your system. The all in one units that are incredibly affordable, are also junk. You will only get the nostalgia from these types of players, but the sound could end up being worse than an MP3.
To be fair, vinyl does have its flaws. There's a reason why it became a less popular medium for listening to music in the past. The beginning tracks on a record sound better than the later ones. As the needle speed increases in the inner part of a record, the sound quality will start to lack a little bit. There will also be pops and crackles as you are listening (this adds to the experience in my opinion).
The Tangible Product
I don't know about you, but buying an MP3 on iTunes is not the most exciting purchase. This became the most popular medium due to the convenience of an easy download or streaming, but you just can't beat going to a record store, picking out an album, and opening the packaging to it. I enjoyed this with compact discs, but where is the enjoyment on MP3s?
On the opposing side to this, it is certainly less convenient if you want to change artists. With an MP3, you just slide on your screen and push with your finger to select another artist. With a record player, you have to stop the needle, put the album in the sleeve, put it back in the cover, andput your next album on. The only medium less convenient than that is fast forwarding a tape to find the song you want.
I remember as a teenager walking into my ex girlfriends father's house, and her father blaring his Rush 2112 record, holding the case in his lap, with a beer on the coffee table. In another example, my grandmother would also put on her favorite Bob Dylan records and sit on the couch in front of her speaker cabinets, walking me through every other line's meaning from Dylan. In my opinion, this is the way music is supposed to be heard. Listening to music through your laptops speakers, or through the Amazon Alexa might be more convenient, but it just isn't that same.
Hopefully this answers your question of, "Why did vinyl make a comback?" If you are asking yourself why tapes are on the rise again, then I am right there with you. Tapes suck, and I have no idea at all why they are showing up again.