Why Vinyl Is the Only Worthwhile Way to Own Music

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I just read a great article and want to share it with you. I don’t have much comentary because frankly (almost) all the points I try to make when having this discussion have been touched on. It’s a really great article and you should check it out.

Why Vinyl Is the Only Worthwhile Way to Own Music

The article’s underlying point is this:

In 2014, there is no good reason for most people to buy music. There’s a moral argument about how we should support the artists, blah blah blah, they have families to feed, yadda, yadda, but the reality is that you’re never going to force people to spend money if they don’t have to. Today, there’s just no practical way to force people to buy music.

True. You can listen to almost anything you want on Youtube, Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Pandora, Grooveshark, and probably a million more, and that is all before you hit the illegal side of it with file sharing. This has flipped the music industry on its head. No longer do people HAVE to buy music, now they need to focus on the people that want to buy it. Viva la revolución.

Another interesting point:

I love the hand-me-down first pressing of Sticky Fingers my godfather gave me. What am I gonna give my kids? A flash drive? The password to my Dropbox?

This sums up the charm and intangible value of owing physical media. My father recently found and gifted me his copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He had written his name on the jacket as a teenager. C’mon that is cool.

As for the argument that it is stupid to buy vinyl because it is expensive the original author skips one tiny little fact that I also think makes vinyl the superior choice when deciding which format in which to own music. Vinyl holds its value better. If you speed a buck on a MP3 file, you will NEVER see that dollar again. CDs are a TINY bit better, but take your stack of CDs and try to sell them and see how well that investment worked out.

Vinyl on the other hand doesn’t depreciate nearly as much. If you take care of the album, and the album isn’t terrible, you should be able to sell it and recoup a decent chunk of your initial investment. There is a growing secondary vinyl market. There is even a chance that the album becomes sought after and increases in value (sometimes greatly).

Now I’m not saying you should buy records as an investment, but you definitely should not buy CDs as an investment.

Another point that was lightly touched on in the original article is that each physical copy of a vinyl record is unique. Literally no two will play alike. That used to be a detracting point because your music wouldn’t play forever if you didn’t take very good care of it. Now that vinyl records almost universally come with digital copies this uniqueness (read degradation) become a selling point. You own the only version of that recording. In a world where you can copy a digital file 10,000 times and fire them off around the world, you own something unique, and that is pretty cool.

Vinyl’s fatal flaw, and the reason that the format lost to cassettes and later CDs, is that you can’t take it with you. It’s impractical.

But today, you don’t have to have it just one way. Vinyl record purchases come with codes which allow you to download digital versions of the music on-board.

This isn’t talked about enough in the greater conversation. You don’t ONLY need to own the music on vinyl anymore, we have options. You can still watch the video on YouTube, you can still stream the track from Spotify. Owning the record just gives you another way to consume the music. One filled with rituals and generally more focused, higher quality listening.

If you missed it the first time here is the article that inspired this post. National record store day is around the corner, what better day to start a new era in your music listening? You Dig?

Why Vinyl Is the Only Worthwhile Way to Own Music


Ivan digs everything about music. He is fascinated with the accessibility of music and the ability of everyone on this planet to create it, and writes to help more people appreciate that fact. He is currently based in Milwaukee, WI.

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  • Nathan Honoré

    Nicely said. I think if more people knew that more and more vinyl are coming with a digital copy, they’d be more open to buying the vinyl. Personally, I rarely use services like Spotify, tend to listen to full albums rather than single tracks, and use Youtube primarily for live performances. So having the music available to me in other places is extremely important whether that be CD or digital copy. I definitely think the ritual that is sitting down and listening to a physical record is extremely underrated.

    • http://www.kandmdesign.com/ Ivan

      I’m a relatively new convert to the world of vinyl. I think the first time I ever sat down and listened to records was last Spring at my buddies house in Asheville. He didn’t have a TV and said something like “want to get some beers and go listen to records.” It was a sunny day and we dragged these huge paper cone floor speakers out onto the porch and grilled food and listened to Old And In The Way, Trampled By Turtles, and The Alabama Shakes. I loved everything about it. Running back inside to flip the record really keeps you focused on the music in a funny way. And the absence of skipping tracks, you don’t have to worry about it. I find myself with a level of anxiety when I’m playing music from an iPod at a party. Always wondering if people are liking what I’m playing. With a record you’re more or less going to listen to the side. Skipping tracks isn’t really an option so you can just sit back and enjoy.

      That and the large format art on the jacket and sleeve is super cool.

      • Nathan Honoré

        You’re right, whenever I make a playlist for a party or anything I’m always afraid if I’ll have to skip the next track if people don’t immediately respond.

        And really, it’s not the quality of the sound that I look for in vinyl at all. I have a shitty record player that my brother and I found in a dumpster at our old work. It does the job, but it doesn’t sound great. I’m all about the process.

        • http://www.kandmdesign.com/ Ivan

          Yeah my setup is an old GE cabinet that was given to me by an old neighbor. I have dreams of upgrading, one day…