Remember when the coolest cat in the dorms had a BIC turntable and a pile of LPs up to the ceiling? Heck, remember when Long Play, Extended Play and Single actually meant something significant?
Nowadays we’re contemplating whether people still use MP3s on hard drives for their music collections.
Will we laugh at Spotify someday, just as we titter about 78s, reel-to-reel, cassettes and 8-Tracks?
Better yet – will vinyl ever die?
If you track eBay sales, you’d think it never did. It looks like vinyl is thriving, in fact.
Audiophiles love it. It’s hipster cool, and everything about the analog feel just seems right. You can touch the cover, read lyrics from the sleeve, and feel the weight of the vinyl as it teeters between your palms.
“I like vinyl because there’s a depth to the music,” said Jeff Fliegler, long time vinyl collector, chef and principal at GrubTribe.com. “There’s something about playing certain artists through a needle. I can’t listen to Joe Cocker on digital, for example. Maybe digital takes some of the soul away. Seems like no one’s ever explained this sufficiently.”
Is the sound on vinyl records better than on CDs or DVDs? Here’s a quick take on that: “[with vinyl] no information is lost. The output of a record player is analog. It can be fed directly to your amplifier with no conversion.”
Longtime eBay vinyl dealer Craig Moerer put it another way. “As the world becomes more digital, there’s an attraction to something that’s not bits and bytes. There’s a human, homemade feel to records.” Moerer has been selling vinyl for 40 years and caters to collectors worldwide.
“When I was in high school, I got interested in blues records,” said Moerer. “I got pulled into the romance of collecting and chasing records out in the field.” He now travels across the U.S. (Atlanta, Georgia and Austin, Texas recently) and the world to find inventory. “For the right records, I’ll go anywhere.”
As far as genres and eras go, Moerer sees a shift in sales popularity. While the 1954 to 1962 timeframe used to be hot, he’s seeing a shift to rock and soul records that fall into the post ’65 and early 70’s era. This is similar to what Lynn Dralle talked about in other collectible categories (earlier article).
“Some of the genres have lost steam because of the demographic shift,” explained Moerer. “It’s similar to how muscle cars sell more than Model T’s.”
Whatever the case, people of all kinds – from purist audiophiles with incredibly sophisticated stereo systems to the casual BIC turntable user – are still digging vinyl.
“Sometimes listening on a turntable is just about pouring a scotch, putting on a record, flipping it and experiencing the whole thing in order – the narrative the way the musicians intended it,” explained Fliegler. “It seems like we’re so far away from that now with iTunes.”
If you’re ready to sell your own records, here’s a good guide for getting started: http://www.ebay.com/gds/How-to-Sell-Vinyl-Records-/10000000178320224/g.html