CBS news last night ran a story about the "comeback" of vinyl. I wish they didn't characterize it as though vinyl had disappeared both as a means to distribute music and as gold to be sought by passionate collectors.
Certainly during the 80s and 90s with the dominance of cassettes and CDs, record labels didn't produce as much vinyl. The demand wasn't there. As a result, some used record stores also had to shrink or perish. And yes, many of lesser years could be heard to say "what's that?"
But nobody I knew who had loved vinyl previously gave it up wholesale, getting rid of their collections and replacing every album with a CD, or later, an MP3 download. People who loved vinyl kept loving vinyl. The new media were just more convenient for the music industry to use to distribute new releases.
It actually seemed to me that the main symptom apparent was the almost non-existence of turntables in electronic stores. I don't know if it was because all the hip little mini-systems were coming out with CD players included or what, but that was what I noticed.
Of course I did start buying CDs. Not to the exclusion of vinyl, but techno just doesn't make sense on vinyl. The music is created and mastered digitally, so there isn't anything lost. Also, I remember finding bootleg copies of live shows of Stevie Ray Vaughan during an outing to Record Rover. I was looking for Beatle bootlegs as the crackdown was happening and boots were vanishing from store bins, and in the glass case at the register were all these CD boots. Long live shows wouldn't fit on vinyl and with the increased ease of creating CDs and duplicating them, bootleggers were making and trading them instead of cassettes. They were way expensive at the time, but worth it, because there wasn't a Napster yet, much less the whole torrent thing.
But I still sought out older releases used on vinyl. Even then they were more expensive, or at least the same, as a used CD, yet I still went to the vinyl section of Moby Disc before hitting the CDs.
Today, I head to the back of Zia Records to look for "rough" vinyl to use for my art, but I'm delighted to see more and more in the NEW section of the vinyl racks. Amy Winehouse, White Stripes, Spoon, and lots of reissues, great stuff. I won't use them for my art unless somebody commissions one, but I tell ya, I'd love to be able to buy them for my collection. I'd probably find out first how they are recorded and mastered, as if they are recorded digitally then I'm not sure of the point, but to hear Jack White's voice recorded analog would be amazing.
If you haven't seen this yet, please check it out. It's only 3 minutes and it shows what my art is about.
SOLD - Stevie Ray Vaughan 08/20/08