New Year is traditionally a time of renewal, change and reflection. Out with the old, bring in the new, as the saying goes.
So I was really interested to see that, at the very end of 2016, vinyl sales in the UK even exceeded digital sales – Tables turned as vinyl sales overtake digital sales for the first time in the UK. This is the first this has happened.
Now I can remember back to the days when all music was vinyl. I used to think my record collection was a bit like my DNA and I used to choose carefully which records to take to a party, depending who I was trying to impress… (Well, I was young!)
Then along came CDs. CDs promised a number of advantages over vinyl, principally CDs were supposed to be much more robust (no scratching!), used less storage and offered more control. You could actually change tracks without getting up.. You could even play tracks in a different order..
On the down side, to me (and my friends) the sound quality of CDs wasn’t as rich. However as my music tastes changed from classical to prog rock, rock and pop then this was a price worth paying… (In fact I can remember the look of sheer horror and disdain from the staff in an upmarket music shop when I put on Supertramp to test a music system I was buying).
Then of course download replaced both CD and vinyl in the steady march of progress..
But the recent uptake in vinyl demonstrates that technology does not always progress in a linear fashion. In many areas – such as print, radio – one technology rarely completely replaces or supersedes another.
And, as the latest generation of millenials are finding, newer doesn’t necessarily mean better. This is a summary of a conversation I had over Christmas was some 25+ year olds, which took me right back to when I was discovering vinyl for the first time.
- Isn’t it great to listen to a whole album
- Vinyl record covers are great – it’s like having a record of your tastes in music
- I love the depth of the sound
- Isn’t it fun to browse through records in a store – you never know what you will find
Last but not least… I know someone who wanted a vinyl record player for Christmas even though she has no vinyl records at all !
And, of course, “older” technology rarely stands still. The last time I bought a vinyl record (it was last year), it came with a code for a high quality digital download. That’s a great idea as it enables me to have the best of all worlds.
So is calling one technology “new” and another “old” really that useful ? After all, to a millenial, vinyl is a new exciting experience ….
So maybe old is really the new new?
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