Vinyl Records Rock On

In a time of illegal music downloading and the death of the compact disc, people are going back to the retro idea of the vinyl record.

According to Business Insider, vinyl sales have increased in the last few years and famed artists such as Kendrick Lamar, MGMT and Justin Timberlake are releasing albums on vinyl.

So, why the sudden interest in purchasing turntables and endlessly browsing record stores?

Philip Brown, Coordinator of music business at SIU, said it’s the experience of a vinyl that attracts consumers.

“It’s about album art, the tactile experience, the turntable, and even a less technical, more satisfying listening moment,” he said. “It takes you back to a time, a style, or a generation.”

The quality of sound of a vinyl also seems to also be indisputable in the music world.

“Some define the sound as ‘warmer’ quality or a ‘filled-out’ sound,” Brown said. “The argument in favor of vinyl is that unlike digital formats, there is no loss whatsoever of audio information.”

If they are taken care of properly, vinyl records can last much longer than CDs. An original Abbey Road record can still have as perfect sound as if it were 1969.

Maybe the boom in vinyl sales can be traced back to the comforting sense of nostalgia of an old record. Record stores, such as Plaza-Wuxtry Records in Carbondale, are doing well in the business of selling both new and old albums.

David Brown, manager at Plaza-Wuxtry Records, said they buy, sell and trade vinyls. He said most of their records are older, but they get new album releases from present day artists.

“If nothing else [vinyls] have been a way for smaller labels to thrive and succeed,” he said.

Many smaller labels have taken advantage of the growing number of vinyl sales.

Electro music artist Pretty Lights recently released his album on vinyl under his label 8 Minutes 20 Seconds. Within a month, all the vinyls were sold out on the website — but CDs still were available.

David Brown said owning a vinyl can be more of an artifact or collector’s item, instead of the simplicity of a CD.

“If you’re going to own a physical piece of music, it seems more attractive to own a large, handsome packaging of an album,” he said.

If anything, vinyl records are making people buy music again. Depending on if the record is new or used, prices can range from $5 -$30. David Brown said the sales of records have increased in the last year.

“We have a lot of customers that are in high school with record collections that probably rival ours,” he said. “As long as labels keep putting [vinyls] out intelligently and the price is low, then the culture of the vinyl record will continue.”

Like fashion, the music industry goes through fads and is ever changing, but it seems the tradition of vinyl records will keep rocking on.