A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Entertainment, Music

Long Live Vinyl

Music in human culture is about as ubiquitous as language and as old as humans themselves. Yet only has it recently gained a medium of storage. From wax tubes to cassette tapes, even optical media that utilizes laser beams to read data, there has been a slew of different ways that inventors have come up with to record music. However, none have been as long-lasting or as famous, as the vinyl record.

Photo by Mya Stalnaker

“Vinyl was and continues to be the music format that my parents prefer, so I have grown accustomed to it,” senior Kathleen Bard said.

 

The gramophone record (phonograph record), also usually known as a vinyl record or simply vinyl or record, is a storage medium with analog sound, that is in the form of a flat polyvinyl chloride disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the edge of the record, and ends near the center of it.

 

“I think another reason that my parents still collect them is because it serves as a source of nostalgia for them,” Bard said.

 

Records were invented in 1877, and were the most popular storage medium for music up until the 1990s. However, in recent times, it has made a resurgence in niche markets. This came about partly as a result of audiophiles preferring the high fidelity that heavily weighted records can achieve, as well as the collectibility of records.

 

The collectability aspect of vinyl is also a major contributing factor to the increased sales of records. Sometimes the artist will include collectible posters, stickers, and other extra bits with the record. Another aspect that can make records collectible is the color of the record. Records can come in a variety of colors, can be opaque or translucent, and some even glow in the dark.

 

Considering that vinyl was the sole medium of music storage for decades, the way that it is manufactured is perfected, which contributes to its collectability. While it is a little bit tedious to deal with a physical media, downloading an album on iTunes for instance does not give the same collectability quality that vinyl records have. Even CDs and other physical media do not have the same benefits inherent in collecting vinyl records.

 

“It really is the analog quality of the recording that I find most satisfying about listening to records, and the main reason that I collect them,” senior Drew Smith said.

 

The thing about records that vinyl collectors enjoy is the tactile experience of using the record. The physical act of taking the record out, placing it on the turntable and turning on the player is a sort of ritual that some collectors grow fond of.  
Whatever the true reason may be for people collecting vinyl, there is no denying that it is now become a major part in some people’s lives again, and some for the first time.

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