Vinyl is back. That’s a good thing.
For those who grew up listening to vinyl records, you know the warm sound that comes from the needle hitting the record.
It also gives you hope for a society that has commoditized sound quality in exchange for availability. Everyone is attuned to, and accepting of, poor sound quality so they can share music files and download songs for free.
Gone is the person who auditions speaker systems in an audio shop, looking for the perfect sound for exactly the kind of music they like to hear. Gone is the person who appreciates every note and the intricate masterpieces one can find in a deep music collection.
Not so fast. Maybe all hope is not lost. Vinyl has made a comeback, and both kids and adults are buying music on vinyl again.
But just when you see a glimmer of hope, we’re able to pull defeat out of the jaws of victory.
Because we moved wholesale to CD, artists have gotten used to (or grown up with) 80 minutes of space for their music. So albums (CDs) have gotten longer. That’s great if you’re listening to the CD. Less having to get up and change the disc.
Unfortunately, vinyl doesn’t hold 80 minutes on one disc, meaning that many of the albums that have come out in the past 20 years can only make it to vinyl if placed on two discs.
That means when you buy the vinyl version of a longer CD album, you’ll have two or three songs on each side of the disc. And that means having to get up and change the record way too often.
Since most bands are including demos or bonus material, perhaps that should all be included on vinyl versions just to fill it out and give you four-to-five songs on a side. It would be a better user experience.
It’s great that vinyl is back. But with so much music produced for CDs, and now music produced for the download single, it may be too late.