When I was a kid of around 8 or 9 years old I was given an old stereo. The kind with two tape players, a radio, a glass door and a record player on top. It also had a space underneath for records but I put my toys in there. I did have two records though, a Disney song’s album and the Ghosts Busters theme. I think I was listening to these in the last days of Vinyl records so I didn’t get to enjoy any new music on it. But I had a tape and radio player for that.
My Mum and Dad still had a bunch of records and Dad would show me stuff on it. But my sister got a swanky new CD player for her thirteenth birthday so as far as I was concerned that meant I was getting one for my thirteenth birthday and like any kid I didn’t shut up about it for the next few years. My 13th Birthday arrived and out went the old ‘heap of junk’ and in came my new 5 CD CHANGER!! I only had 2 CD’s for a long time but that’s not important.
Fast forward 15 years and the ironic thing is I now have a record player again and the speakers I’m using are the ones I got as a child that came with my 5 CD Changer. However that stereo died years ago when I put it in the college common room for a few months to piss off the teachers.
A few years ago I tried collecting some of my favourite records, but it didn’t happen. Now it has. I’m not going to preach as I’m new to this but here’s a few reasons I think we should be listening to LP’s at home and Streaming on the go and that everything in-between will die.
1. It Sounds better. Better? hard to define.. what I mean is it sounds as close to some playing in your living as you’ll get without inviting them round. Everyone can hear this, not just audiophiles and studio engineers. Some people may understand why while others don’t, but everyone can feel the difference on some level.
2. You get to own something and show it off! Modern music doesn’t weigh anything, you can’t hold it and you can’t trade it for other music, in fact you don’t even really own the things you paid for. So it’s no wonder that people today don’t value music. Imagine if art today was sold digitally for you to print out yourself at home. You would end up with people putting up awful quality prints and people would then say.. wow art has got shit hasn’t it. And this reduction in value leads me to the next great thing about Vinyl..
3. Stealing vinyl is ‘Actual stealing’ I’ll be honest. I find it hard to liken stealing files from the internet to stealing potatoes from the farmers market, one I do the other I don’t. The thing is mass digital distribution is controlled by HUGE companies, Companies that literally can control the music we listen to, companies that hide their profits away to keep from paying tax. Honest hard working musicians are forced to work with them so that our music is available along side the big guys… Not convinced? I’ll flip it around.. I don’t care if people copy my music or illegally download it from the internet.. I do care if someone steals from our merch table at gigs.
4. Remember record shops? Even the kids must remember record shops.. not HMV with their buy one album get seven free Christmas deals. Ones where you get EXCITED cos they’ve got what you want!! not angry cos they don’t have it.. Vinyl is inconvenient to ship especially compared to Digital so the power falls into back into the dusty corners of the independent record stores. People that might possibly refund you if you didn’t get what you want. Try asking iTunes to give you your money back cos there just happens to be two bands called ‘Fight The Bear’ and you bought a slightly rockier album than you were expecting whilst searching for that elusive first album.
5. You listen to the whole album. Yeah, you can skip tracks but its a bit annoying, so you end up giving time to all those amazing tracks that require a few listens but end up being your favourite songs EVER!
6. Kill mediocrity. I’m not going to bang on about X-Factor and American Idol, but even people who watch it think its shit. That model doesn’t work with CD and Vinyl. To print and distribute LP’s is a bit of an ordeal, They aren’t going to invest in some clown who can’t sing but happens to be funny to watch.. remember these people are some of the biggest selling solo artists of our day. Do you recall the Christmas number one battle between Rage Against The Machine and what’s his name.
X-Factor can record and push out a song on iTunes for next to nothing compared to distributing ‘actual’ records. And as a result mainstream radio is full of that shit. I have found some great bands on Radio 1, but only one every few months. I’ve found more decent bands in my local pubs.
To sum up You can’t listen vinyl records in your car or whilst walking around but music streaming subscription services are the way forward there. It would be nice if they started rewarding the artists a bit more. But that will only happen when people start valuing music again.
In the home there is only one way to enjoy music to its fullest. I won’t say what it is but I think it’s pretty obvious. They got it right years ago, maybe my generation can plead temporary insanity or something.
Digital has definitely made it possible for anyone, literally anyone to release an album on iTunes. It costs a few dollars and its on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer… Blah Blah Blah Is that a good thing.. I don’t know.
Thanks for reading.
Enjoy your music