Vinyl Will Never Die, And Here's Why

"We live in a time when we have everything but own nothing," the report reads.

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As a music format that continues to chug along throughout the ages while other media types simply come and go, vinyl will seemingly always have its charm for a niche crowd, and therefore never die.

Pointing out the pros of vinyl, Alex Shellim of Kerrang magazine gave a detailed explanation on why vinyl will always stick around. Check out his blog post below.

"'Indefinite hiatus.' Count how many times you've read that in the last five or six years. Now surely music industry speak for 'going away until a stadium-sized number of people miss us enough to buy tickets,' comebacks are a dime a dozen and as predictable as the Swiss rail service. However, if there's one resurgence you'd not have predicted, or even bothered to consider, given the fate of the CD seems all but sealed, it'd be the comeback of the humble vinyl record.

"When it comes to music we seem to live in a time when we have everything but own nothing, online streaming services Spotify and Deezer's subscriptions passed £100m for the first time last year, CD sales continue to plummet while digital sales soar. But while the music industry as we've known it since the '80s topples around our ears, vinyl rises from it's ashes. Because vinyl is awesome.

"Fact: vinyl sounds better. It's uncompressed, it sounds closer to what your favorite band heard through the mixing room speakers than any CD or mp3 ever will, in fact, I dare you to go out and buy your favorite band's album on vinyl and give it a spin. If you don't fall in love with that album all over again in all it's heavier, more detailed glory, bring the vinyl version to the Kerrang! Office, and I'll reimburse you. Fact: vinyl looks better. Not hard, really, when was the last time you stood back and admired an album's art through a scratched plastic CD case, or on your phone? No? Me either.

"In a time where our entire music collection floats about in cyberspace, existing briefly on a thumb-sized gadget that never leaves our pockets, in rare cases that someone should actually want to own and fully appreciate an album they should look no further than buying it on LP. It can look fantastic, and that's before you realize that vinyl records largely aren't the boring, shiny, black discs that gathered dust in your parents' attic anymore but more often than not are marbled or splattered in colors that match the glorious large-format artwork that appears on the cardboard sleeve.

"Vinyl's resurgence in popularity has become impossible to ignore, heavy hitters like Green Day have once again planned a vinyl release for 2014′s Record Store Day – a global event supporting independent record stores – this time in the form of an LP full of new and unreleased demos. But while it's popularity in the mainstream gradually returns, elsewhere it's as strong as it's ever been. For many independent labels, vinyl is their bread and butter and not unheard of for vinyl releases to bring websites to their knees as enthusiastic collectors perform a virtual trolly dash for the most limited pressings and color variants.

"Of course, they'll more often than not get a free mp3 version of the album thrown in with their coveted purchase, which, in many ways paints a rather depressing picture of what the emergence of said mp3 format has done and means to anyone making a living outside of the major label bubble. Those unfortunate enough not to bag a copy straight away will have to begrudgingly part with far more cash on eBay or via one of the internet's many forum-based vinyl swap meets to get their hands on one of the hundred-or-so copies of a particular variant.

"Just to paint a picture and without going into too much detail, I was told last year by a friend who who went into a local record shop that he saw a (framed) vinyl copy of an album ('Axe to Fall') by a band I love (Converge) in it's rarest form (clear with colored shards – only 100 made) with an attached price tag of £200. When that album came out, I paid $15 for the exact same thing.

"So, while the vinyl record will never, ever in anyone's wildest dreams lay a hand on digital music, or whatever format puts that out of it's misery in 20 years time it's thrilling to know that more and more people are still appreciating the joys that an actual, physical, shelf full of albums can still provide. In three weeks, when Record Store Day rolls around, go out and buy something, and keep it, and maybe, occasionally, buy another one to put beside it and see where you are in five years, because I guarantee at some point between now and then, the computer you're reading this on will break."

103 comments sorted by best / new / date

    chsngblmps
    People tend to overlook the fact that vinyl only sounds as good as the speakers it plays through, the amp that drives it, and the player itself. Buying records doesn't guarantee "good sound," it merely affords you an opportunity to do so. I love vinyl, I love the idea of a physical release, but I think this article fails to represent any of the extensive costs that go into making vinyl sound as great as it can, which IMO is the main reason so many people avoid it.
    snappedstrings6
    Yeah, my friend's console sounds like shit, it completely lacks low end. While the other qualities of vinyl records are great, it sounds like piss because there is no/shitty bass.
    seance
    I was hoping someone would say this. Most people's record player setups don't do the sound any justice. Most people I know buy the vinyl just to have, then buy/download the audio files to actually listen to it.
    UniformRecon
    I love my record collection.
    s7peterson
    Me, too. But let's face it, the only reason vinyl will never die is because of all the hipsters.
    DevilsRedRider
    no its because vinyl is awsome
    s7peterson
    Sorry I should have explained myself a little better. I meant to put the hipster word in quotations. It's a paradox, if all the hipsters are getting vinyl, it will in turn make vinyl "mainstream" thus making hipsters not hipsters. (Brain explosion)
    Way Cool JR.
    IMO The Hipsters are the people that shun Vinyl, not the people that love them. Vinyl has been around for way to long (mainstream)for anyone that loves it to be considered Hipsters. I'v been diggin my Vinyls since the early '80s, so does that make me a Hipster? And what about House/Techno DJ's, their main platform has been vinyls for decades, Are they considered Hipsters to? I don't think so.
    FlameOn
    I like CD's most personally. I hope they still continue to be available a very long time. If the only way to buy music was Mp3, that would suck.
    mattjamesrenn
    I like cd's though but hate the cd cases, bits always break off it just bugs me, vinyl to me does sound better, or just feel better I suppose as they tend to leave frequencies outside human hearing. CDs are fairly adequate in most situations though.
    SleepFan
    I still collect CDs. 80+ and counting. Physical formats will not go away for a long time.
    scorpio2billion
    I hope not. It was a brilliant marketing trick to convince people to spend money on something that they can't touch or see. I ONLY buy physical formats. It's the only way I don't feel ripped off.
    Kueller917
    You could also argue marketing creates the attachment to mass produced cheap pieces of plastic encasing the music. I do enjoy my physical collection, and sometimes a good booklet, but in the end it's all digital files and storage anyways.
    HeavyMetalSonic
    Vinyl sounding better is irrelevant with the way albums are being destroyed at the mastering stage these days. Also, they're big, expensive, fragile and inconvenient. I prefer to buy CDs and then import them as lossless file to my iPod. What's wrong with that?
    HitmanJenkins
    Nothing wrong with CDs man, different strokes for different folks. The cost of vinyl varies by the way, it all depends on what condition it's in, what pressing, the band etc. I managed to buy the first four Cure albums second hand in fairly good condition for £20. Fragility is only a problem if you're the sort of person that doesn't take care of things or store them properly, as for inconvenience, well, I'm not sure what you mean by that, do you mean the ability to skip tracks? If so, that's not the way to go with vinyl, in this day and age, the format makes you sit down and listen to the entire LP, from beginning to end. Also, a fair few labels offer download codes with vinyl now, usually it's high quality MP3 (which for me, is all I really need for general listening, not sure about you), but I think some do any format of your choice.
    scorpio2billion
    I'm not sure about "fragile". I have albums that are 60 years old. What's "fragile" is a format that won't be supported by hardware in 10 years.
    Theophillis
    That's a very true statement! Look at the demise of minidisc and SACD as consumer formats.
    DexterF
    Digital can surpass vinyl in terms of sound quality, but now that we are not limited to 16bit/44.1khz by a format we should leave it behind. Why not go 24bit/96kHz FLAC. It's 2014, DSL is widespread, a TB of storage costs 60 EUR. Still producers aim at CD production. Screw mp3. Smartphones got real since long so players are not limited to some vendor's firmware either. The *real* problem is that 90% of music is shit and produces for people who when asked about their favourite music reply "charts".
    pinheadslts75
    High sample rates are snake oil invented by gear manufacturers to sell you more expensive shit. Or a mathematical concept designed to make pitch correction sound more realistic.
    DexterF
    High enough res can reprocuce any audible signal, inclusing that of vinyl to the degree where you cannot tell them apart. If you disagree I'd like to hear your argument.
    pinheadslts75
    44.1khz is more than enough to reproduce any signal within the range of human hearing. It's called the Nyquist Theorem. Anything above that is honestly kind of pointless. Personally, I think vinyl only sounds different, not better, as a rule. Nowadays though a lot of vinyl mixes sound better because the CD mixes are loudness-war'd to death whereas vinyl can't be as compressed due to the limitations of the medium.
    Rocknrolla35
    Maybe. Sometime in the future. But there are some problems with VERY high quality digital format. For example, it takes a good chunk of memory on a hard drive. Even with today's smartphones and multi-GB memory cards, it's still a problem. A 3 minute song in FLAC format takes up 20-50 MB. That means 20-50 songs per 1 GB. If one has a 16-64 GB memory card, then it's not a big problem, but what if not?
    DexterF
    If you want all your music in one medium, why *not* get 64GB? They cost a fraction of the music you store on it.
    PRSTremontiSE
    I bought my first record; White Blood Cells; last year, and now I'm a proud owner of 50+ records. Love it!
    Way Cool JR.
    I have several of the same albums in several different formats (CD,Vinyl,Cassette). The Vinyls sound far better than the CD's in all cases. I remember when CD's first came out they were cool and convenient as it could get. But god, the sound quality was just horrible, just thin and lifeless. They have improved on it a little over the decades but it still falls very short to Vinyl.
    HitmanJenkins
    I think the sound quality boils down mostly to the fact that you can do almost anything with the mixes and masters on CD, whereas vinyl was always very limited. You had to mix and master stuff in a certain way, otherwise it just wouldn't work, too much bass would throw the needle off the grooves for example.
    randomsaguy
    They cut the bass before they make the vinyl using the RIAA curve, and then they compensate for this by boosting it in the amplification stage. Apparently when this happens the bass frequencies are distorted and that's what makes it sound warm. Something that many people don't realise though is that the majority of these new vinyl releases are done from Redbook audio files of the recordings, i.e digital audio, the very same audio that goes on the CD. So you're not listening to the "warm, pure, unaltered, accurately captured unchanged audio" or whatever you wanna call it. You're listening to a CD. On Vinyl. Vinyl doesn't objectively sound better, it sounds different. It literally comes down to preference, and if you spend a few grand on everything it takes to play a vinyl, I find it hard to believe that this won't make you biased
    Theophillis
    You should have gotten the gold medal for that comment in the quagmire of subjective opinion posing as fact that is this article. I have been listening to this for years, that vinyl sounds 'better'. Not to me it doesn't. It does sound different, and it does hide artifacts in the music that CD duplicates, artifacts that are a result of the recordings and not the medium. I also think there are a lot of people confusing a dislike of mp3s with a dislike of CDs. Digital format music doesn't sound bad. It sounds true when it's good quality. Whether it sounds better or not is ENTIRELY subjective. 256kbps mp3 (iTunes download default) is not good quality and I can blind test and tell the difference between it and CD, FLAC or WAV. 320kpbs is better, but not fantastic for classical and jazz.
    Way Cool JR.
    Bass isn't an issue with vinyls from my experience. Every original Vinyl I have that I also have an Original CD copy of the same album has a much better bass response and hits harder than the CD version. The vinyl versions sound more real to life in every way when it comes to sound and the CD versions just sound thin and lifeless. To me it seems the CD is whats limited in what it can do. I have no reason to be bias of either format, I love them both. but when it comes to sound quality vinyl is the winner.
    HitmanJenkins
    Don't get me wrong, I love both formats, I was just giving my 2 pence as to why vinyl might sound more appealing, the issue about Bass was merely an example, one that I heard when I was trying to learn more about mastering.
    PRSTremontiSE
    You can buy Skrillix on vinyl, I haven't listened to it, but I doubt they'd do that if the bass had to be cut
    HitmanJenkins
    I haven't listened to Skrillex's new stuff, but I imagine that they would have to cut some of it, or mix it so that you still get the impact of the bass, but it doesn't mess with the vinyl.
    kdsprocket
    Skrillix Its not worthy of vinyl Why waste the time to lay something down when you wont even be listening to it in 10 months. Skrillix is for short term memory only
    buddy1991
    I'm not a fan of Skrillex in any way, but what gives you the right to judge what is "worthy of vinyl"? Can't you realize how much of a douche you sound like? Learn to respect other types of music, whether you like it or not. There are always other people who do like it.
    ninfan200
    thats a load of shit and you know it, CD's I've listened to sound far better than any vinyl I've listened to (and I've listened to a fair amount of both)
    Way Cool JR.
    I'v listened to a crap load of both over the decades on good high end equipment and lower end. I stand by what I say.
    juzza1
    The main problem is how can we download this vinyl for free? ...just kidding. The red arrow is over here →
    Spacemonkey9700
    Over the past few years the only albums I have bought have been vinyl. The collection is small so far, but growing
    Dyn101
    its already dead, costs a bomb. id rather have all my tunes where they're easily accessible at a moments notice, i.e the click of a button, a slight dip in quality maybe but I've never noticed it to the effect that it's ruining listening to music at all...
    seance
    And even if some of the quality is lost, what does it really matter when we're mostly listening to it through awful sounding speakers/headphones so we don't even know what the original quality is supposed to sound like? In that case, if it's enjoyable to you, the listener, then that's all that matters.
    jimmydvn
    Just got a rare duke ellington vinyl that is unavailable on CD. another advantage to digital. lots of old music has never been ripped or digitalised and therefore cannot be found on the internet, and is slowly being lost.
    MusicMan24
    I started a collection of vinyl last summer, and now I probably have around 40-ish. Long live vinyl!
    Artturi
    This is all true and you all know it. Go vinyl. It's not an audiophile thing, it's reality. When it comes to the conveniency of the format, that's just a matter of you letting a market trend decide how you live. It's not inconvenient to pop an LP into a player, especially when the sound is so brilliant. It takes you minutes more of your time to dabble with physical formats instead of searching for a high-quality rip on youtube. And, there's always PONO...
    Black Hazard
    The average every day person can not hear the difference nor do they care. Like it or not, you're just a huge music nerd and vinyl will never make a "comeback" lol.
    TheLiberation
    It does not have to do a comeback in the future, because the comeback has already been happening for several years. And most people could hear the difference if they bothered to listen to something better than 128 kbps MP3s for once.
    adambauman31
    The article didnt say anything about a "comeback". It said vinyl will never die. I'll be a music nerd or a guitar/gear nerd or whatever label you want to put on me but to me there is a differnece and I do care.
    Kueller917
    Market trends come from demand. Vinyl is nice collectors editions but people don't go for convenience out of blind consumerism, they go for convenience cause it's convenient. Not like car speakers are really great audio systems so I don't care to have every bit of detail. I interchange with both formats depending on the situation.
    Kueller917
    Thing about vinyl being "uncompressed" depends on the process of production. Most studios record digitally nowadays so a CD will be about as uncompressed as a record, if not more, since it's a direct from the mastering project. And then of course there's arguments about the current sample rates especially as we get into 96kHz to bring back more of those unheard frequencies. Analog is theoretically "infinite" in its sample rate but in practice mechanical and physical limitations bring its own amount of drawbacks into the quality that tend to be looked over.
    Xpl0r
    I'm 19 and yeah I have an iPhone which has a lot of my music on it, yes my macbook has a ton of music, yes I have a ton of CD's but all of this is no where near the size of my parents record collection and I have to say that for nearly 2 years now I have been adding to that collection. Only a few records out of the collection belong to my mother and the rest (easily 3000+ records) all belong to my late father. I first heard vinyl when I was too young to remember it and then never heard it again till nearly 2 years ago which made me realise how good it sounded so I recently bought myself a bangin pair of speakers and an old DJ deck (2 turntables and aux inputs) and I have demolished this record collection listening to all my favourite songs on vinyl. I have found and original print Dark Side of the Moon and also an original Joshua Tree print just to name a few. I study Audio Engineering at university right now and I have learned that back in the days of these albums everything was recorded to tape which was later printed onto vinyl meaning nothing was converted or compressed etc. Nowadays in modern studios signals from microphones are converted to digital so they can be stored in a computer meaning that some quality will be lost so even if a band decided to release their new album on vinyl it will not sound as good as it would've if it was recorded in this old fashion
    nirtellica
    I remember last year telling my friend, from a younger generation, how jealous I was that his generation is in such a good position for buying music. Vinyl is coming back and are easy to find so, they have the best sounding format. And, they get an mp3 code with their purchase, giving them the most convenient form of music. As far as travel is concerned. And here I sit with all the cds I bought over the years. This is regret friends, this is regret.
    badfish_lewis
    I love having a large vinyl collection. Throwing on a great album while I work on my place or on a nice sunny day, nothing better.
    zirkonflex
    It's ****ing funny how people with absolutely no clue about anything at all compare the "sound quality" of vinyl (analogue) to a cd (digital). For ****s sake you turds, a CD does NOT have such thing as sound quality, the quality is always 100% of the data thats on it. Its a digital medium. What youre noticing (and liking) about vinyl is its lack of sound quality routed in its analogue nature. This is a question of culture, not quality. CD is the modern "I'll skip that track", wheras vinyl makes putting on a record a ceremony. Each to his own.
    KingV911
    I was at a friends house the other day and he played a pristine, 1990 pressing of Megadeth's Rust In Peace on vinyl. It was like hearing that album for the first time. We cranked it up and listened to the whole thing.
    TheLiberation
    Waiting for the retards from the UG forum who tried (and miserably failed) to prove based on hilariously biased sources that vinyl sounds worse than CD.
    joeyreece
    Vinyl is great because listening to it is engaging and owning it is a novelty. The quality arguments aren't really valid anymore when everything's recorded digitally and people listen to it on PC speakers
    Rocknrolla35
    Vinyls are cool, but they're impractical for carrying around. CD's are more practical from this point of view(AFTER the digital format, of course), because i can grab a couple of my albums, put 'em in my pocket, and listen to them in a CD player. That's the reason, why i bought a portable CD player. So i can listen to my favorite oldschool metal albums.
    Rocknrolla35
    Vinyls are cool, but they're impractical to play, while carrying around. CD's are more practical from this point of view(AFTER the digital format, of course), because i can grab a couple of my albums, put 'em in my pocket, and listen to them in a CD player on the go.
    AwesomeOne3
    I personally prefer vinyls over digital music. The first vinyl I every got was tools lateralus with on the vinyl had this trippy art on the record.
    shreddguitarist
    I love and prefer vinyl as well but.....I feel sorry for you.....it would have been hard to play the secret track listing of that album if you're listening on vinyl
    Sunny035
    Being a teen, I've never had a proper experience with vinyl (although I'm hoping to change that soon as I've got a new music system). But I don't see why the Compact Disc is being slated the way it is! I love my CD. Sure they're not as big and loverbale as the Vinyl, and sure you don't get the massive poster sized lyric sheets, but for me atleast, there's something quite magical about the CD in the way it feels, and the way the underside shines with a delight like nothing else!
    Rocknrolla35
    It's because vinyls often sound noticeably better, than CDs and digital. Plus, vinyls can withstand MUCH MORE PROPORTIONAL damage from scratches, than CDs. But then again, it doesn't matter which format you use that much. It's the appreciation and love of your favorite music, that matters.
    vppark2
    I love buying vinyl at shows, but unfortunately, I dont have a record player to play it from.
    JelloCrust
    Goodwill or other thrift shops usually have shitty ones in the $15-$25 range. They'll still sound good, you just won't get a lot of the conveniences that good quality players have.
    Way Cool JR.
    Your Goodwill sucks. All the GW's (& other thrift stores)around here go from .25 cents to $2 tops.
    bigblockelectra
    Turntables can be pretty expensive with all the cartridge/tonearm upgrades....I inherited two quality turntables from my grandpa, but I really don't use them very much. I just may listen to some of my vinyl records when I get home.
    dennis.1960
    Ya and as soon as vinyl gets a scratch or warp your prized album is ruined forever. I'll take CD's anyday.
    TheLiberation
    The scratch needs to be deep to be noticeable, or it needs to be horribly scratched as a whole. A few small scratches make no difference whatsoever, and if you just keep it properly nothing more can possibly happen. (And a heavily scratched vinyl will still be playable, CDs simply aren't read above a certain point of damage)
    grizzzzly_adams
    I'll be honest, I pirate/stream most music. I buy my favorites on vinyl.. My vinyl collection is pretty big, but I won't ever buy a CD... There's no point to other than to play it in my truck. I don't even own a CD player anymore.
    Super Cracker
    I love my vinyls, if I ever come across a vinyl version of an album I already own or would like to own I buy it. He's right it sounds so much better, it's really amazing.
    Wisthekiller
    Vinyl actually sounds better because it is worse. Each sound in the room (which, the loudest would obviously be the speakers), vibrates the needle. The needle, in a perfect situation would be only moving as intended. The vibration causes the sound to be more "full" than if you were listening to a CD or something of the sort. That is what I know to be true, but I may be mistaken.
    Fonkee
    Gotta love Vinyl. My prize piece is Metallica's Master Of Puppets.
    mattjamesrenn
    I had a friend with that on vinyl, he didn’t play it for me (not that I asked as I’d heard it plenty). I always loved the album cover though.
    FlameOn
    I think preferring vinyl or CD as I do is fine, 'cause at least appreciating the physical form we have in common.
    mnf50
    Why do people still pretend vinyl sounds better? I have tonne of LPs of my favourite bands but I know full well that listening to the digital versions always sound better.
    UncleBluck
    Still have 500+ vinyl records in my closet....I should get the out and give them a listen.....when I figure out what I did with my turntable & Magnaplane speakers.....
    tomwebbsayshi
    Vinyls are great, but I really do prefer CD's. Sure the sound quality isn't as good but at least they don't depreciate with long term use
    Democrab
    Funnily enough my Vinyl version of Lateralus makes Adam's guitar sound ever so slightly out of tune whereas the CD version doesn't. Weird, eh?
    TheEraserhead
    I have alot of CDs where I brought them but ended up only listening to like 3 or 4 songs. Skipping songs is easy and we start to judge a song with in 5 seconds of it being played. With vinyl skipping a song is a hassle so you listen through the whole album and may even make you think track 4 isn't a single but it's my favorite.