Record Store Day and the Resurgence of Vinyl
Last Saturday (April 21st) was the fifth annual International Record Store Day. Taking place on the third Saturday of every April, the day celebrates the independent record store and is accompanied by a slew of limited edition vinyl releases only available on or around the day itself.
The purpose of Record Store Day is to encourage an enterprise that for a while looked to be a dying breed: the independent record store. However, thanks largely to the vinyl resurgence, independent record stores have been slowly but steadily popping up all over the placed, while their mainstream CD-selling high street rivals continue to close in ever-larger numbers.
So why the new found popularity in the formerly antiquated vinyl format? There are several reasons:
- Firstly, CDs just aren’t worth the plastic they’re printed on these days. Why pay up to two or three times the price of a digital download when the first thing you’re going to do is rip it to your media library? While MP3s provide the most convenient listening experience, many music fans still feel the need for a physical product, and CDs just aren’t cutting it any more.
- Vinyl revives the lost artform of album artwork. Album covers didn’t necessarily get worse in the non-vinyl era, but the small cover size didn’t always encourage creativity. Vinyl – both the sleeve and the record itself – offers a larger and more versatile canvas to work with. Album artwork affects the way you react to the music contained within, both consciously and unconsciously, and is an important part of the musical experience.
- Another reason – and it’s a difficult to define one – is that the process of buying and listening to vinyl is simply a more rewarding one. From the larger artwork, to the larger disc, to putting it on your turntable and hearing those first few notes, it just makes you feel more involved.
- There is also, of course, the argument that vinyl just sounds better. While I’m not necessarily stating this as fact – there is beauty in the crispness and clarity of digital sound too – there is certainly a warmness and more “authentic” feel to listening to music on vinyl.
Record Store Day continues to get bigger every year, and this can only be a good thing for dedicated music fans and vinyl collectors. So get out there and support your local record store – some of those limited edition pressings may still be out there!