You’ve undoubtedly heard it before. The famed vinyl revival. It’s been reviving for quite a few years now, to the point where we can just about call it revived. Record sales have been on the rise since ’93. The past five or six years have seen the real boom, with vinyl sales in the country and around the world absolutely thriving. In Australia, vinyl album purchases increased by 70% from 2012 to 2013, and the national sales on the whole doubled.
The term ‘vinyl revival’ has been floating around for years now, but vinyl is no longer on the cusp of being something big. It is big. Turntables are overtaking CD players in terms of most used sources (though digital files still have a stranglehold), and with vinyl events like Record Store Day getting bigger every year, vinyl culture is once again fully fledged and mature.
You may be asking – if somehow you’re reading this but haven’t listened to records – why? Why has it come back? What’s the appeal? Why are all these hipsters spinning big discs made out of the same stuff as my kitchen floor?
At a superficial level, turntables and records are knock-you-over stunning. Purely from the design aspect, there’s a real beauty to turntable builds (of course we’d say that). And actually having a tangible product like a record, where you can see the grooves and comprehend where the sound emanates from, is something really appealing these days in comparison to the 1s and 0s of digital music.
But the real appeal – and this is undeniable – is the sound. Whether you can critique and quantify it, or just want to close your eyes and listen. The differences are enormous. Music sounds vivid and real with records. Voices sound human. Whether you’re new to vinyl, or rediscovering your old collection, that never changes. You can just get wrapped up in it. That’s something that mp3s will always struggle to pull off – a real and enveloping experience.