Snap. Crackle. Pop. No, I am not talking about eating a bowl of Rice Krispies. That is the familiar, or not so familiar sound (depending on your age) of playing a vinyl record. To the surprise of many, vinyl is back. In 2013, there were 6.1 million vinyl records sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That is a 33 percent increase in sales from 2012. For comparison, in 1993 there were less than 1 million records sold. The surge is attributed to the fact that some buyers now want a tangible product. Something that they can touch and feel.
There is also the sound quality. Since MP3s are compressed, certain frequencies are left out. This can leave the listener with a less than ideal listening experience, even if they don’t know it. I would agree that vinyl has an undeniable warmth to it that has yet to be re-created digitally. Back in the 90s, producers of R&B Neo-Soul tracks would add a “static” track to their productions, with the crackling, to give it that dusty groove feel. It gave the song some character.
I also wonder if there is a psychological component to it. You actually have to sit down and listen to a record, as opposed to being on the train, going for a jog or just plain multitasking. Perhaps our concentration is more focused in that regard, allowing us to perceive the music as “sounding better”.
With vinyl coming back into the retail space, will we also see this resurgence in other areas? I wonder if DJs would ever go back to carrying crates of records? These days, all you need is your MacBook Pro, Serato software and controller, an MP3 playlist and you are on your way to playing your next party. Trust me, that setup is much easier on the lower back. This resurgence overall is definitely a surprising development, since we have been told for so long by several entities and authorities on the matter that vinyl was absolutely dead and it would never come back. Oh, how things change.
What do you think? Drop a comment in the comment section below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derrick Pryce (known as Cantaloupe at Tunefruit) is a music producer and keyboard player based in Atlanta, GA. His current release is entitled Kebomusic Presents: The Experience, which is available on iTunes and Amazon. In addition to music, he is very much interested in technology, entrepreneurship and venture capital. He thinks mixing them all up would be fantastic. For more information, check out www.kebomusic.com.