March 24, 2014
Holler back is all about engaging with our readers. We will do our best to write about things that foster conversation. We welcome your input. View all
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.
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?