Before MP3 files there were CDs. Further back there were cassette tapes. And long before this – long before the invention of home computers – were LP records, known as vinyl. You may think that times have changed and moved on but vinyl is now making a massive comeback. To celebrate this fact, on Saturday 20th April the sixth ever Record Store Day will be taking place across the country.
Started in America and then the UK in 2007, Record Store Day takes place on the third Saturday of April and will see hundreds of independent music shops host performances from DJs and musicians such as Frank Turner, Glasvegas and James Yorkston. Further highlights include the launch of limited edition LPs from the likes of The White Stripes, David Bowie, MGMT, Biffy Clyro and Ben Harper.
Technological advances have massively reduced the importance of vinyl over the last fifty years – but with nearly 400,000 sales in 2012 vinyl have been making a drastic comeback over the last few years. Last year’s best sellers included a mixture of classic albums such as Pink Floyd’s The Wall, new releases by The XX, and smash hits like Adele’s 21. Compared to the official chart, there is a far more interest range of music being bought on vinyl.
So what is it about vinyl? First introduced in 1948 this is the format that launched the Beatles, The Rolling Stones and other bands that changed the music industry forever. Not only is the size and shape of vinyl more attractive than other forms of music but it also allows for better album art making them more decorative. Not being able to press and button and skip to your favourite track means you listen to entire albums and not just your favourites.
They may sound less clear than MP3 files or CDs but for many collectors the crackles create a distinctiveness that doesn’t exist in a computer file. You can spend hours looking through records shops and discover bands you never knew existed for prices far lower than normal music. And of course, best of all, they can’t be deleted.
Do you have any records on vinyl? Have you ever listened to music on an old-style record player?