The work put into creating and sculpting an album is a heavy amount of work. When you own an album, digitally or physically, you put a ribbon on the full circle of the production process. Music streaming is a very difficult area to hold a side on. One one hand, the limitless feeling of scrolling through the universe’s catalog is nice to say the least. On the other hand, those who stream don’t understand how little the artists are getting paid in royalties.
Music ownership is a big part of being a fan, and collecting vinyl records is the OG of ownership. Personally, I love watching my record shelves grow longer and longer. It’s an experience that reminds me of growing a garden.
Flip to the other side of what it means to own an album. You have the tangible side.
Record shopping is a hobby in it’s own league. As collectors, we’re always striving for the next find, and we never know when we’re going to find it. It keep us awake. It feels like we are always working towards something. When you’re at your favorite record store on a Saturday afternoon and you stumble across that one album, it’s like finding an uncut diamond in the rough.
As fans, we build lifelong relationships with the music we listen to. It becomes a part of us, and it’s nice to have something to show for it. The album artwork, the gate-fold covers, the liner notes, posters, sleeves – All of these things help bridge the gaps between artists, the music, and listeners.
From an audiophile’s perspective, it’s all about the warm texture that other media lack. Analog is king. A lot of people will probably argue against that. Technically, digital music formats offer the most accurate playback possible, but as humans we are drawn to slight imperfections.
Vinyl records sound great, and it’s an aspect that you need to experience on your own. Everyone has a their own pallet. You can make vinyl sound good on just about any playback system out there. When I first started my collection, I had one of those janky all-in-one stereo systems with the record player on top. The thing was an abomination, but when I played Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced, it didn’t even matter.
Listening to vinyl records takes a little bit of work and know-how, but the ritual from sleeve to needle is unmatched.
The whole process of taking the record off the shelf, out of the sleeve, and onto the platter slows you down. It’s a relaxing activity that really forces you to pay attention to what’s going on in the moment. When we listen to vinyl, we are locked in a state of mindfulness. Listening to vinyl is its own form of meditation, and being caught in the moment is a very good thing these days.
Vinyl records are absolutely timeless, and if you take care of them, they will take care of you for ages.