Posted: Jun 27, 2016
**Guest post written by Jessica Kane, a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment, including VPI Classic.
"The modern musical industry may be almost entirely digital, but this does not mean that streaming songs or downloading audio files is the best way to listen to music. Though they are not the main method of experiencing music anymore, vinyl album sales actually continue to grow, and modern vinyl sales levels have not been this high since 1988. Audiophiles might insist that vinyl is better because it sounds nicer, but there are also several other reasons why it is the superior format.
Every time a person buys a digital copy of a song or album from iTunes, they are not actually taking possession of a physical item. Instead, you are merely paying for a license to listen to an item. You cannot sell an MP3 to someone else, and you may not even be able to leave it to an heir after you die. When you buy a vinyl, you are actually buying a physical possession that is forever yours. If you realize that you need some extra money, you can sell it for real cash. And unlike digital files that can be copied endlessly, there is a finite number of vinyl records available. This means that they generally retain at least their purchase value, and some even appreciate in value as they age. If you are lucky enough to own something like one of Elvis Presley's first commercially produced singles, you can easily sell it for several thousand dollars.
There's a reason that countless people collect vinyls while almost no one collects cassettes. A quality vinyl is a beautiful work of art, and their aesthetic quality makes them extremely enjoyable to examine. The glossy black surface of the vinyl contrasts with the thick cardboard of the case, and many bands include additional information, artwork, or photographs with each record. This allows vinyls to create a tactile and visual experience that greatly enhances your musical experience.
Because you cannot spend just a few dollars for an entire album, you are forced to really think about your musical tastes and buy records that work with your entire collection. Instead of selling catchy pop songs that will not stand the test of time, most record stores sell innovative music and tried-and-true classics that will help you to expand your musical palate. The types of bands that release vinyls are normally bands focused on production values, creating their own music, and writing their own songs. It is therefore almost impossible to avoid listening to good music when you listen to vinyl.
Most music that we listen to in modern times has been extremely compressed for streaming services or radio plays. It may be possible to find lossless music files, but the average MP3 that you download does not have the best quality, especially if it was pirated. Highly compressed files, like Stadium Arcadium, end up sounding objectively worse than vinyl. The occasional digital file may have higher sound quality than a vinyl record, but the lack of distortion can actually be a flaw. When distortion is introduced, it actually creates the warmth that many people prefer to hear in their music. Because of the unique processes used to create a vinyl record, vinyls end up having a lot of depth and warmth that is impossible to recreate in a digital file or CD.
The experience of browsing through an online catalog of songs cannot even begin to compare to buying records in an actual store. At a real store, you can socialize with other buyers and get suggestions from people with an extensive knowledge of music. The experience of browsing through bins and stacks to find the perfect vinyl is like a treasure hunt that ends with a great musical prize. And since many record stores in modern times are also coffee shops or book stores, you can have a fully enjoyable time while shopping in a record store. Instead of searching for the best price, you have to take a gamble, which makes it all the more thrilling when you realize that you ended up buying something for far less than its recommended price."
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