Is vinyl still a viable format or as obsolete as pager technology in the age of smart phones?
Vinyl Isn't Dead, But It's Definitely Dated
Why is vinyl dead? It's not dead. It's dated. It's that grungy old dot-matrix printer in the back of the warehouse. It's that old guy in accounting that hasn't been fired yet because he gives out Hershey Kiss candies to all the women. It's the nostalgic remains of the past that we all really wish we wanted to hold onto, but just can't find a good reason to.
You realize eventually that vinyl will go the way of the music box, and just become a null and void dust-collecting object on some coffee table at your grandmother's house, right? If you haven't made this realization yet, maybe you should recognize how and why music keeps changing, and why vinyl records are merely used for the hipster at large, or the DJ who is unwilling to let go of the past.
First, take into consideration how music is sold nowadays: Digitally. Nearly all music is now downloaded, transferred to a thumb drive, and transported to wherever it will be played. Even the most high-end turntables have thumb drives now because companies know that nobody likes lugging a box of records around. Back to the digital age: It's time to catch up with the times.
Let's take a look at how music is sold now, and how music has been sold in the past. With the birth of vinyl, came a need to outsource your music supply to someone else whose company will most definitely turn a profit on your tireless work. When tapes came into play, artists could record their own tracks, crank out a mix-tape, and sell it for whatever price they thought their work was worth.
Then CDs came out, and musicians started bending over and taking a stiff one from record companies offering to press and distribute their albums. Then we have the lovely era of digital music. This era allowed artists to create their own music, distribute it for free, or at whatever cost they determined, to their adorning fans.
Entire catalogues of music are now available for free on the internet, or they can be bought from the artist. Either way, this money goes straight to the artist, instead of some distributing company looking to turn a huge profit on a minute service that they can afford to provide. It's scary really.
One of the biggest arguments by music buffs unwilling to change is that vinyl sounds better. As this is an obvious myth that is only debatable under the circumstances that you like lower quality sounding music, the best retort is that: No, it does not sound better. One truth is that it sounds different. It is mastered different.
The sounds are layered differently. The way the data is read and transferred is very different. In no way, however, does vinyl sound better. With technology evolving faster than we can make music these days, it is a completely ignorant statement to argue that vinyl sounds better. This is the equivalent of saying VHS movies are higher quality than DVD presses -- it's not true.
For the true hip-hop heads and nostalgic hipsters out there, it makes sense why vinyl is still used: The scratching is unmatched, and the "experience" is impossible to fake. Since vinyl records literally scratch on a needle, there is almost no way to completely emulate that sound, and that skill -- massive kudos to all the DJs still using vinyl, but that doesn't mean it's better, or even needed. It's a technique used by a dying field of artists who want nothing more than to hold onto something because society and "The Man," are telling them not to.
In order for music to continue evolving at this rate, we must embrace the change and see where it can take us. Sure, there are lots of reasons to for companies to press records, but those reasons are selfish and directly related to the profit hungry corporate ass-bags who are trying to sell things to make rent/mortgage/car payments.
Picasso didn't have a distribution company for his work, why should Pretty Lights? The smart artists are the ones creating their music and doing what they want with it. If, at any point, a musician is getting into the field to make it big, well, sorry, we can call out the fakers from a mile away (looking at you, LMFAO).
If vinyl isn't dead, it's certainly about to croak. Embrace the change, ignore the hipsters, and go download some music. Who knows? The next step might be hologram music platforms that play directly in front of you. We would just need those old vinyl pressing plants to create such technology.
-- Britt Chester
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