Saturday, April 14, 2012

Viva La Vinyl Revolution

You may or may not know that next Saturday (April 21st 2012) is record store day, an international celebration of record stores and the products they sell - namely the good old vinyl record. Vinyl has seen a rise in popularity in the last few years and this international day is a way of keeping record stores alive, along with the wonderful medium that started them all off.

So why vinyl?
Everyone (over the age of 30) remembers listening to at least one record played by their parents or grandparents. Anyone over that age may very well have owned a record player and remember buying their first record.

Even though I am part of the generation of cassette, CD, Minidisc and MP3, I still know what a vinyl is, what it does and more importantly what it sounds like. There is nothing that can beat the raw warming and sometimes difficult to listen to vinyl, but regardless of their faults and weaknesses, vinyl records have seen off the competition of musical mediums and survived for nearly 100 years. Who needs a minidisc player anyway...

The accessibility of vinyl...
I didn't buy my first record until I was 18 but I have a fond memory of a record my dad used to get out every Christmas. As a child, this record became a part of my Christmas celebrations and I truly believed that the guy singing on the record was famous, little did I know that he was a club singer from the Welsh valleys and that my grandmother had bought it at one of his concerts in the 70s.

When I found out that he wasn't famous I was astonished. Back then, you couldn't just get a few vinyl cut as handouts for family and friends, it was and still is a long production process, sometimes taking weeks on end. I was right in assuming that the guy on the Christmas record had to be famous because not everyone could have their own vinyl.

Thankfully (and sometimes not) vinyl production has become more accessible and most importantly more affordable to every Tom, Dick and Harry who makes music. It's been a supply and demand cycle that has grown existentially over the last decade and has risen to a fantastic highpoint of commercial and underground availability for one and all. The local pub band can (after playing a good few gigs) now get a vinyl pressed, the same as fans of famous artists can get their hands on some pretty amazing records produced by their favourite artists.

I am so proud of where the music industry has come from, where it is at the moment and where it's heading. As I'm currently working for a vinyl production company I'm happy beyond belief to be a part of this and assist in making record production available to as many people as I can. 

And the point I'm trying to get to, is?
This is what record store day is ultimately about, all types of bands, musicians, poets and everyone in between - famous or not - producing a special vinyl to sell at their local/national record store. So many bands have also picked April 21st as the release date for a new single/album. It's not just about vinyl, it's about the music industry as a whole and the fact that people are now enjoying being able to hold their music in their hands once again. Yes it's great being able to carry around a mobile handset with thousands of songs on it but to own, hold, feel and play a vinyl record is something else. Every time you listen to an mp3 it will sound exactly the same as the previous times you listened to it, vinyl is different. It morphs, transforms, adapts and evolves with every play and this is audible in many of my dad's well loved Eagles and Steely Dan vinyl. There's nothing like kicking back and listening to Katy Lied or Jeff Waynes War of the Worlds on a 12" record played on a belt drive record player.

What's your favourite record/song to listen to? How do you feel about the resurgence of vinyl? Are you participating in record store day? Comment away!

For more information visit the UK record store day page here to find your nearest participating venue/store.

1 comment: