Vinyl (R)Evolution

Note: This is reposted from my main blog and seems fitting to kick off my Vinyl Music blog with.

When I was 17 or18 years old, I wanted to be a DJ with a friend of mine. I grabbed all of my parents vinyl records, trucked them over to my friend’s house and then… we didn’t do anything. He and I eventually had a falling out and a couple years later when I inquired about getting the records back, I was dismayed to learn that his basement had flooded and they were trashed.

I don’t think my father has forgiven me to this day.

I grew up heavily influenced by music, including my parents listening to their records and favorite artists such as ABBA, Billy Joel and Elton John. I remember periods of my life based on the music I was listening to at the time and if I hear a specific song it can take me back right to that moment.

I’ve been thinking about buying a turntable for the last few years and re-creating some of those memories. I participated in Record Store Day last year shopping at a local store and picking up a number of CDs and this year on Record Store Day I went out and this time picked up some used and new vinyl records and then bought a turntable off Craigslist. (An early 80s Pioneer direct-drive).

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I’m one of growing number of people getting back into vinyl – just visit The Future of Vinyl blog for non-stop media coverage of the growth of vinyl over the last couple years – it’s now the fastest growing segment of the (dying) music industry. Even large retailers like Best Buy are getting in on it. (Though I found their selection disappointing – very few new records, just 180g re-issues of older material, and for the same prices as the local stores, who I would rather support).

I own more CDs than I can count, and even if it’s in my head, I do think vinyl sounds better. There is something to be said for the crackle and hiss of a well worn and loved album playing on a stereo.

I don’t know what’s more fun – listening to the albums or shopping for them. I’ve already bought over 60 records in the last 6 weeks, the bulk of them at two events. The first was a private collector who put an ad in Craigslist and was selling over 5000 records with most of them going for 3 for a dollar. The second sale was today at the Minnesota Record Show which is held four times a year and features a number of dealers selling records for a few bucks each to rare albums worth hundreds of dollars. On average at an event like this or in the local record stores, used albums are about $3 each. I have bought a few re-issues on 180 gram vinyl of some of my favorite albums of all time, such as Depeche Mode’s Music for the Masses. (Most albums are 120 grams – the thicker the album the higher the fidelity).

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But what impresses me the most is the resurgence in current artists releasing vinyl day and date with CD – and including MP3 or FLAC downloads for free when you purchase the vinyl record. I’ve picked up some great new albums, including the latest from The Hold SteadyThe New Pornographers and Broken Bells.

My wife laughs at me every time I say “I’m going downstairs to listen to some records” but I’m enjoying the experience immensely. She also says I’m done collecting for a while, but don’t tell her, I have my eyes on some more new releases and I heard about another upcoming show…

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