Vinyl Records, CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays

Creative Packaging

by Admin

Vinyl records: they just mean more

If you’re still living in denial over the resurgence of vinyl records, here’s a fact for you. Vinyl record sales are up over 10% in the UK and are set to break the £100m mark by the end of Dec 2020. In the US, vinyl just had its best week of sales in the past thirty years.

According to Nielsen Music/MRC Data (via Billboard), the week of November 27-December 3 saw 1.253 million vinyl albums sold in the US. This represents the largest sales week for vinyl ever since Nielsen began electronically tracking music sales in 1991.

This was only the second time weekly vinyl sales surpassed the one million mark since Nielsen began tracking in 1991. The only other time it happened was back in 2019 when 1.243 million vinyl records were sold in the week ending December 26, 2019.

It has meant huge headaches for some record labels and artists though. Lana Del Rey’s forthcoming album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, is delayed a whopping 16 to 17 weeks due to backlogs at vinyl pressing plants. Many other artists delayed releases, mainly due to restricted capacity at pressing plants due to COVID-19, but now plants are working around this and many are buying new machines just to keep up with the demand.

So, what is it about vinyl that people are re-discovering, or even just finding out now for the very first time? Here’s the view of Jack Purdey taken from an article in Technique

Every time I put a record on in my house, I have my housemates in mind.
I have the mood in mind. I have what I want the record to accomplish in mind.

There’s only a few things I like more than listening to live music. It’s one of those things you just have to see in person to keep your spirit fresh and renewed. It is an art piece unfolding before your eyes and ears that can be so many things, but at its core revolves around usually the same thing: a drum beat and a guitar. It is different for everyone, but it’s never left me going, “Eh, whatever.”

Live bands, especially ones playing big venues, are curating their shows every night to be an experience that is best when consumed in full. There is a reason for the beginning, middle and end of a show, and how they order their songs. There are stories being told, emotions being brought to the forefront, skills being demonstrated, all for the sole purpose of creating an experience for the listener that brings an infusion of life. The next best thing in COVID times to replicate that isn’t a YouTube video of an old show (although I have done that many times), it is the physical vinyl experience of an album. It is intentionally choosing how you want to spend your time digesting an artist’s work in a setting they know people seek out.

I have spent all of my life a music fan. My dad ran a music magazine called Paste in the 2000’s and brought in tons of great music that shaped my development in many crucial ways. My siblings and I were religious Sugarland and U2 fans (still are) at the earliest I can remember. We were Brandi Carlile fans way before it was cool. We had songs from The Jayhawks’ “Rainy Day Music” album memorised by age six. I have been to upwards of 400 individual sets of music in my life. My iTunes in middle school boasted over 50,000 songs that I inherited from the Paste collections. But yet, even in the absolute nerdfest that was my music hobby, it was high school before I even knew what vinyl was or knew how it worked.

My entire livelihood of music was streaming, CD, or live. I had no real understanding of the vinyl “method” per se of listening to music, an ironic scenario considering my dad grew up on vinyl, ran a music magazine, but we never had a record player.

So, being one who saw the next step in my hobby, as well as the comeback of vinyl seriously making headway (vinyl now outsells CD’s), I made my dive into vinyl. Every Record Store Day I would walk to Sunbrimmer Records (R.I.P.) where I lived to acquire a new record, usually a U2 or Bruce Springteen.

I do this now because listening to vinyl in full is one of the best ways to respect the design and intentions of an album. That means the album cover, the artwork in the sleeves, the track order, the liner notes, all of it is there to be appreciated as a unit in a particular way. Streaming is convenient and mobile, but vinyl is a real commitment and an experience that can be shared. Every time I put a record on in my house, I have my housemates in mind. I have the mood in mind. I have what I want the record to accomplish in mind.

The need to flip the record to get to all the songs creates an intentional engagement with the music. You literally have to hold it in your hands to get to all the songs. It’s tactile. It’s a privilege to get to be the one to flip a record, not because I’m the one in control, but because it creates anticipation and creates an intentional pause in the record that in a way, I get to play. I become part of the album in those 15 seconds it takes to flip and place the needle down. When I’m doing that with people, it’s an event.

Offering to let someone do the record flip with one of my records is one of those simple things that is always thrilling for the person who gets to flip, especially when it’s their first time. It may be an “ancient” way of listening to music, but it’s a tremendously rich way to do so.

Listening to a vinyl record is huge for community building.

At my house, we use vinyl to set a vibe we want depending on if we are studying, hosting a small number of friends, or just chilling after a day of work. It accomplishes at being a scaled down version of a concert because it is a chosen experience, it has a design unlike the shuffle button, and is always better with other people in the room to listen with.

So, when thinking about music you love, buying the vinyl is a great option. It’s also more profitable for the artists than streaming pay-outs from Spotify. But, it also gives you a physical token reminding you why you like a band so much. Plus, you can’t get an audio wave signed on Spotify, but you can always get the vinyl signed!

(Excerpt taken from Jack Purdy Opinions article in Technique)


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