In 1982, the CD, a digital music playback format that used a laser to read the disc, was introduced and was expected to replace the long play record album (LP). CD sales quickly took off and vinyl record sales fell and the record companies tried to "phase out" the vinyl record album.
But, as they soon found out, musicians and music lovers alike would not allow that to happen. In fact, vinyl records are enjoying a resurgence in popularity (millions are sold every year), partially fueled by nostalgic baby boomers attracted to a piece of their past and fueled by a new generation who have found the ambience and sound of vinyl to their liking.
Many of these people collecting the record albums now, were originally record album buyers but converted to CDs out of convenience, to keep up with the times or maybe even to be trendy.
Who Collects Vinyl?We are an eclectic bunch. Sometimes we are called "audiophiles" or "geeks." We are ministers, housewives, politicians, lawyers, doctors, and the guy next door. We are photographers, clerks, senior citizens, factory workers, "old hippies", baby boomers, waitresses and rock musicians (Peter Buck - R.E.M., Pat Dinizio - Smithreens, Steve Turner - Mudhoney, Peter Wolf - J.Geils Band, Thurston Moore - Sonic Youth, to name a few).
We scour the countryside in search of that one special record that will somehow make our collection complete. But, alas, once we find it, we realize that our collection will never be complete. So off again we go to the garage sales, the church bazaars, flea markets, record shows, online auctions or the yard sales in small towns in search of additions to our prized vinyl record collection.
Why Do We Do It?We spend hours cataloging, cleaning, sorting, and taking meticulous care of our records. But, for the most part, the prize is in the grooves of the record, the music we hold so dear-for that is a return on our investment that there is no price for.
The vinyl record is a survivor. Think about it. Reel to reel tapes, 8 track tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, iPods, digital downloads have all led an assault to put the pressing plants out of business. But the vinyl record has persevered. Why? Because of DJs, who kept spinning records and playing them in the clubs, artists who insisted on releasing their music on vinyl and the public, from collectors (audiophiles), to local bands who "cut records" on small labels, the record companies --who will not be driven out of business, to anyone who insists on buying a vinyl record because of the sound quality and to the purists, who want to preserve not only the vinyl records, but the record jackets and sleeves, themselves a slice of Americana and a piece of who we are as a culture.
Next page - the art of vinyl.