Listening to music is easier than ever before. We can stream any track we want and listen to it instantly. Despite this, the record player is making a comeback, with sales increasing over the past few years. So why is this the case? What makes listening to your favorite record on the best record player so special? To answer these questions, we’ll have to investigate the cultural impact of the vinyl record player.
First, though, we need to understand the history of this machine. The vinyl record player came about as the result of several important innovations. First, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville created the turntable in 1857 to study sound waves. Then, Thomas Edison built on this by inventing the phonograph in 1877, which could both record and play sound.
While Edison’s phonograph needed a cylinder to work, Emile Berliner put sound waves onto a round, flat vinyl record in 1887. Once this discovery was made, it wasn’t long until the record player was released commercially in 1895. The record player was most popular in the 1960s and 1970s, where people could listen to their records in high-quality. But as newer technology like CD players and MP3 devices were invented, the vinyl record player became less relevant. By the mid-2000s, the sales from vinyl and record players had slumped, with vinyl only being used by niche audiences.
Since then, though, the vinyl player has seen a huge resurgence. In fact, there were around 16 million new vinyl records sold in 2017. This astonishing figure doesn’t include the number of used records sold at events like record fairs. This surge in sales can be partly explained by the huge cultural impact that record players have had.
Since they were invented, vinyl record players have always had an impact on popular culture. They initially allowed artists to record longer songs and introduced audiences to the album. But, by the 1980s they were being replaced with CDs which were more compact. Even when they were no longer the preferred format, they remained popular with niche audiences.
For example, DJs still used records to help them remix tracks. But, the format was due for a comeback, as record stores fought to sell more records. For example, in 2007, World Record Day was founded to encourage people to purchase more records. At first, movements like this were ignored. Gradually, though, they became more popular and started to make the record player seem cooler.
However, another important shift was occurring in the music landscape, streaming services were becoming more popular. While many people thought that this more convenient way of listening to music would finally kill the vinyl record player, it did the opposite, helping the vinyl resurgence gain popularity.
One of the key reasons for the resurgence in the popularity of the vinyl record player is because it’s viewed as an alternative to streaming services. While streaming might be more convenient, vinyl offers a more intimate way of listening to music. Taking the time to remove the record from its sleeve and put it in the vinyl record player creates a more engaging experience than simply clicking a mouse or tapping a screen. Also, it’s difficult to skip songs, even on the best record player. This makes people listen to and appreciate the whole album, not just the singles.
Another reason why people prefer vinyl records over streaming is because of sound quality. Nearly everyone agrees that records sound a lot better than streaming songs. This is because streaming quality usually compresses the sound to get the song to fit onto their service and make it easier for you to download them. However, this can lead to lower sound quality. These reasons partly explain why vinyl is becoming more popular. However, there is another big factor in its resurgence, the benefits of physically owning the album.
One of the biggest problems with streaming music is that you don’t own the songs. This had led many people to worry about what would happen if the artist were to pull their music from the platform. Even people who pay to own digital versions of content are concerned about what might happen if the platform were to disappear.
Owning a vinyl record gives people security that their music can never be taken away from them. In addition, it gives people a better way to support their favorite artist. Though the figures vary, it is commonly accepted that buying a physical piece of media like a CD or record provides more royalties than streaming the song. In addition, vinyl records are becoming a more bespoke experience, with more focus being placed on giving music lovers the best possible experience. For example, when the soundtrack of The Thing was re-released, they created unique artwork for the record. Tactics like this are becoming more common, helping provide people who buy vinyl records with an even more personal experience. Now that we understand some of the reasons why vinyl has become more popular, let’s look at what the future holds for vinyl records.
While it’s an old format, once considered nearly-dead, it’s future seems bright. There are several reasons for this. First, smaller press companies are changing the music landscape. Some people thought that the thing that could end the vinyl player resurgence was the lack of presses available. It made keeping up with the rising demand difficult. However, thanks to a growing number of smaller presses, this is no longer the case.
These new presses also offer more innovations. For example, they allow for smaller orders, faster turnaround times and more personalized records. Another reason to be optimistic about the future of records is that more records are becoming available in vinyl format. While older, classic albums like Abbey Road by the Beatles, remain popular in the vinyl charts, there is also a wider array of albums available. Newer albums by Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé and Lorde are all performing strongly on the vinyl charts. In addition, movie soundtracks like The Greatest Showman, are also achieving great vinyl sales. As the amount of choice grows, so too will the audience for vinyl records. A third reason why vinyl record players will continue to influence popular culture is the growing ease with which you can buy records. It used to be that to purchase a record you needed to find a record shop or fair. Now though, you can easily find records online. Also, records can easily be found in many music shops. Finally, the more mainstream the vinyl culture becomes, the more accepted and popular this way of listening to music will become.
Vinyl was once considered obsolete and relegated to the fringes of society. Now though, we are starting to see record players creep back into living rooms around the world. We’ve discussed some of the reasons why this resurgence is occurring and what the future might hold for this technology. While some people still think that the growing demand for vinyl is a passing fad, we’ve looked at why this isn’t the case. At it grows, the medium will continue to innovate as better ways of pressing disks and listening to records are created. So, buy the best record player today to listen to your favorite album, because the vinyl revolution is here to stay.