Streaming Vs. Vinyl: Who Is Music’s Better Accomplice?

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Vinyl has often been viewed as a medium of the past as the success of digital music has sky rocketed. The popularity of digital music began with the creation of Napster in 1999 which was soon shut down by Metallica of all people for the violation of sharing their music without consent. The success of digital music didn’t properly start until Steve Jobs had the genius idea of launching iTunes where he got the major record companies on board. Suddenly a huge database of music was available legally for a small price and bands were getting some royalties for this. Then came Spotify where money is no longer an object and you were able to stream infinite amounts of music for free. In an age where a younger generation is introduced to a way to obtain music for no price at all. This generation has been deprived of waiting for the release of an album, potentially queuing for ages at an album launch, but instead, an unobtainable file being ricocheted around the internet is a much better experience.

I think not.

What happened to music being a sociable encounter in comparison to becoming locked within your own reality of music unaware of anything happening around you… What’s that I can’t hear you. Don’t get me wrong, losing the entire sense of time by creating a sanctuary of harmonious solitude is wonderful but music used to be so much more than that. Rather than downloading a track to be kept for your ears only, 12-inch records worth far more were carted around and shared with the community and treasured. Okay unleashing music onto a whole community may be pushing it but at least taking your newest LP round a mates house and listening to it sounds far better than reserving it just for yourself.

Tables are turning however especially as sales have risen by 53% for vinyl sales since 2015. This rise in sales comes down to 3 types of people:

  1. Those reliving their youth wanting to rediscover the sound of Beethoven or Metallica.
  2. Those following in their parent’s footsteps and have developed an interest in their parent’s record collection.
  3. Those who have no intention of listening to the album but think it looks nice.

So I just want to say thank you to the hipsters. Vinyl may live on after all by gathering dust whilst pinned to a wall to be appreciated as an old school aesthetic, who needs the music right, it looks pretty.

Although appearance should come second when buying an album there is something incredible about buying a picture disc or a gate fold album complete with a booklet that completely transforms the buying experience. Who wants just a minuscule picture in the corner of the screen whilst you’re listening to a piece of lossless audio (MP3. file) when you can get a complete piece of obtainable artwork which overall sounds so much better. The idea behind Spotify is that you can listen to music almost instantaneously because of the type of files they use which is of lower quality in comparison to what is transferred onto an LP. Every lump, every bump although can be glitchy on a turntable becomes your own personal listening experience and slightly different to someone else’s and becomes that bit more personal. Plus if you happen to be playing this on top class speakers, who cares! The sound quality is great as well as the dynamic which should come in one setting only… Loud.

I would say that without streamingprogramss such as Spotify and YouTube I probably wouldn’t have the records that I have, even though most of those I can thank my Dad for. I can understand if you’re reluctant at buying any type of physical album first, we have the means to listen to an album before hand so why not check it out online first. So if you like it, buy it, which is what alot more people are starting to do.

Vinyl albums are not just discs containing music, they are pieces of artwork in most cases and are something that should be experienced. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that streaming sites shouldn’t exist because this isn’t the case. If anything theses sites are assisting record sales by 45% as of last year. So although streaming music is more convenient for on the move and storage etc. Music is an experience and that is what Vinyl provides.