Why do I buy vinyl records?
I can't remember the last time I bought a CD. I maybe buy one or two albums a year on iTunes. Most of my music listening happens through Spotify and YouTube, neither of which costs me a penny.
Yet, every time I travel or find myself bored after work, I find myself perusing through a record store. Searching for a vinyl record I actually want to purchase is typically a disappointing and slow process. Finding good records requires checking stores frequently in hopes to beat others to the find'or just simply possessing good luck.
So, if I almost never purchase music digitally, why do I put time, effort and money into vinyl records?
Records provide at home what concerts provide in venues: an engaging experience for the listener. No, it doesn't replace or compare to a live show, but actually creates an entirely different experience.
For starters, vinyl records require attention. They have to be handled delicately, stored securely and dusted.
Secondly, I usually put a vinyl of my turntable with the intent of listening to the entire album through. This is contrary to how I, or most people my age, listen to music today. It's a comfortable way to detach from my usual ADHD ways and just listen while doing nothing else.
Finally, the value of vinyl really shows when you include other people. When I have friends over, we take turns picking from the selection on the shelf and flipping the records when the needle clicks at the center of the record. When I'm surrounded by fellow music lovers, I find the conversation being driven by the album, whether it's the content or even the cracks, pops and skips scattered through the rotations.
A few years ago, I remember watching a scene from the Christmas Story where Ralphie and his brother rushed over to the living room to listen to a radio show. Being a 1990s kid watching a movie that took place in the 1930s, I was actually baffled that people could congregate and connect just by sitting and listening to something. It wasn't until college that I saw people actually still connected that way'through vinyls.
Now, I can't tell you how the seemingly microscopic grooves pressed into the vinyl somehow amplify music when in contact with the needle, or why this analog technology is actually better quality than digital.
What I will tell you is that it can make the music you and others love more sacred, if you let it. There is something special to me about vinyls that CDs and MP3s can't come close to. These are the reasons I invest them, but if you too love vinyls, feel free to share why.