Vinyl in the digital age

For the past five years, the music industry has enjoyed a so called ‘vinyl resurgence’, as music lovers splash out on turntables and dig through their parents collection of 80’s LP’s. A perplexing phenomena that few could predict, has this changed music for the artists and the listener?

We talked to Jacob Ottaway, a first year journalism student and music fan to understand why so many have been drawn back to the old format – and from The Who to My Chemical Romance, Jacob has both a varied taste, and a varied way of listening.

“I tend to do things digitally but if the vinyls available then I’ll go for the vinyl.” shared the self confessed pop punk fan.

“If someone says to me, ‘do you want Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on vinyl or a CD, I’d say vinyl because, you know, you’re listening to Dark Side of the Moon, on vinyl! It’s got that crazy authentic feel to it.”

But what is it about the ‘crazy authentic feel’ that millennials love? We spoke to a second-hand music shop owner on the market for the perspective on the sellers end.

“Having something tangible, like a record, brings the artist and the listener closer together”, he shared.

After four years of trade, he doesn’t see the trend dying soon, but what of the other music market that’s grown in recent years: digital?

Even Jacob admits that he “hasn’t looked back” since the jump to Spotify. With the advantages of portability, variety and costs, it’s impressive that the formats manage to coexists.

Back in 2014, Taylor Swift famously pulled her music from the streaming site in protest over receiving less than a pound in royalties for each listen. Many were concerned that this would destroy the internet’s power to promote independent artists who couldn’t survive on such a small amount of revenue, so in this regard, perhaps vinyl counteracts this monopoly.

“The vast majority of people I think you’ll find, if they’ve bought vinyls then their gonna have it on Spotify and CD’s as well.” explains Jacob.

The store owner shares this sentiment, saying that while the record market has become “niche”, the customers he does get will always return.

It may be that sentimental millennials are all that’s stopping Spotify and Apple Music from grasping complete control of the market, and of course, the artists who give us the music in the first place. And with the continuously dropping price of turntables, the industry is finally realizing this: the Vinyl resurgence is alive and here to stay.




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