Vinyl albums provide a total experience that can’t be duplicated digitally. There is a special tactile experience that goes along with vinyl albums… the smell, the touch and feel, reading the liner notes, admiring the artwork on the cover… all in addition to the arguably superior sound quality. Vinyl provides audiophiles’ with a multi-sensory sensation.
Now, an entirely new generation of music fans are discovering vinyl record albums, and with resurging sales of vinyls the manufacturers are expanding their production facilities and producing more vinyl records than in recent memory. Nielsen SoundScan reports show vinyl sales increased 85.8 percent between 2006 and 2007 and 89 percent between 2007 and 2008.
And vinyl is not only a niche product for eclectic specialty record stores anymore! Even the mainstream “Big Box” stores are getting back into the groove, with retailers such Best Buy electronics dedicating space to vinyl at some store locations.
What happened to vinyl record albums? Why did they drop out of favor? It wasn’t a matter of lesser sound quality- in fact, many serious audiophiles argue the analog sound reproduction delivered by vinyl records is superior to the sanitized sound you get from the various digital formats.
And contrary to popular belief, vinyl never really died. In the late 1980s when digital CD’s (compact discs) became popular, the record labels saw a business opportunity to re-sell their huge catalogs of vinyls to music lovers in the new format, generating big sales and profits. Production of vinyl recordings decreased dramatically as a result and they became less profitable to produce, but fortunately they never ceased entirely.
With the advent of MP3s and music downloads, CD sales have declined in recent years and vinyl albums are being seen as profitable once again. Although vinyl albums are more expensive to make than a CD, there is still more profit to be made from them than from selling downloads. That is music to the record industry’s ears, and we now have more and more new vinyl record albums becoming available as a result.
Ultimately the “vinyl experience” for the audiophile is the real selling point, and recapturing vintage vinyls feel. From vintage vinyl covers to the liner notes to the more “raw” and real sound, vintage vinyl records captured an experience digital recordings are not capable of delivering.