Top Five Reasons to Buy Vinyl

Marc HenshallCulture & Industry, New to Vinyl73 Comments

In a world where we can access almost any piece of music at the click of a mouse, or the tap of a screen, who would think that a physical format like vinyl would continue to endure? Far from being a nostalgia trip, vinyl records are now enjoyed by a wide range of ages by music fans searching for something more tangible. Below are just some of the reasons why buying vinyl still appeals in the digital age.

Stunning Artwork

The artwork is bigger, this much is obvious, but since many album covers are true works of art in their own right, the inherently bigger canvas certainly makes for a bold statement. Many collectors like to display their favorite albums on the wall in their home, and it’s hard to think of any other format better suited to this kind of homage. You can frame CDs, of course, but it’s just not the same.

The larger format also makes reading the album notes easier, and more enjoyable. Many listeners enjoy reading the credits about who produced, engineered and played on the record as part of the experience.

Also worth considering is the world of picture discs. And while these releases have a reputation for poor sound quality, they are none-the-less part of the art that makes owning music on vinyl both enjoyable and highly collectible.

Owning the music you love

As humans, we are far more likely to value an item when we own it. Psychologists summarise this as the “Endowment effect”, which is the belief that people ascribe more value to things as soon as they own them. We’ve gained many advantages with the introduction of streaming services, but at the same time, we’ve also lost much of the perceived value of music. At Sound Matters, we believe strongly in the importance of music ownership. After all, nobody ever asked to see your MP3 collection.

Escaping the Screens

We live in a connected world with all the advantages that come with technology our ancestors could only dream of owning. But having the world at our fingertips can take its toll on our health. Studies show that too much screen time can lead to a multitude of health problems, from sleep deprivation to eye strain, bad posture, and even addiction problems. I cannot overstate the importance of unplugging, and the vinyl format can inherently help us achieve this. Instead of browsing through Spotify or iTunes surfing from track-to-track, vinyl demands our attention in so many ways and encourages us to focus on the music with less distraction. Regular downtime with your favorite records could be good for your health!

Great Sound

There is no such thing a perfect format, and I’ll be the first to recognize that vinyl has its faults (end-of-side distortion, for example), but there’s no mistaking just how great vinyl sounds when it’s made right. Vinyl is a very musical format that can sound amazing when the mixing, mastering and manufacturing all come together to make one of the most enjoyable listening experiences out there.

The Therapeutic Process

I think this last point is one that many vinyl enthusiasts can relate to: the process (or as my wife calls it, “the faff”).

(For the benefit of our international readers, “faff” is British slang for an overcomplicated task, especially one that takes up a lot of time).

There’s no doubt vinyl requires extra effort and attention. From the process of carefully removing the vinyl record from its sleeve, to gently cleaning with a carbon brush, and steadily lining up the stylus ready for playback, it’s all part of the experience. Personally, I find this ritual therapeutic. I also enjoy the satisfaction of taking home a used, dirty record from the store and slowly bringing it back to life using a good record cleaner. Perhaps you need to be of a certain mental persuasion to enjoy having to work for your music, so to speak, but then again – nothing in life worth having comes easy.

What’s your reason for buying vinyl? Perhaps you’ve been collecting for years, or maybe you’ve just got started. Either way, we all have our reasons why we love music on wax. Let us know why you love vinyl in the comments below.

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Phil Taylor

So I have my late Uncle to thank for getting me back into vinyl as he left me his mint Garrard 301 Turntable so out came all my old LP,s from the late 70s early mid 80,s hello again to old friends like Joy Division etc etc damn I missed you guys 😉

William

Plain and simple for me…….MEMORIES!!!

Don Ravanelli

When I have time, I play vinyl for critical listening pleasure, any and all other formats are played when I can’t sit down, but still want music playing while I am doing other things..meaning CDs, or streaming.

Byron Jones

I’ve been a record collector for around fifty years if my old memory serves me right. Rock, country, blues, just about everything. My true love was the Beatles. Collected everything I could. Stereo, mono, special issues and even the lowly bootlegs. Time passed and all of a sudden there was this new contraption called a cd. Small, compact and no popping noise between tracks. A lot clearer. Slowly moved away from vinyl as everyone else had finding a record was getting rare even at my local record store. A few stuck in the corner gathering dust. Years went by and even the cd was making way for online music. Too old for that! Then a few years ago I started noticing records at retail stores; not many but they were coming back. Special heavy vinyl ($). Issues I remember I have in my collection plus special issues, master recordings and the like. Things had to change. I got rid of my 90’s digital equipment and bought vintage equipment in its place. New record storage took the place of all of my cd’s, even though they’re still part of my collection. It seems like after all these years I’ve gotten to where I once belonged!

John

I have been in bands my whole life. I got into music because of a Fisher Price record player I had when I was 3. I broke away from vinyl when i was about 10 years old and got into CDs.

I’ve gone back to vinyl for many of the same reasons mentioned here. My biggest one is to quit taking music for granted and to quit making it feel so disposable. Streaming services and mp3s are a great way to have music on the go, no doubt. But I found myself caring less about music because of that constant connectivity. It started to feel like nothing more but white noise in the background.

I love today’s technology. I really do. But as a society, we have a drastic in-balance of real life and tech. I have grown to despise my cell phone. I keep it on silent 90% of the day. When playing music off of it, it was never a sit-down and really focus on the music and absorb it. It turned into a background noise while checking e-mails and browsing the web.

I just got my new turntable last week, and I have picked up about 11 albums already as I wait for more to come in. I have a Dennon AVR with standing Polk floor speakers, and I’ve done back to back playbacks between the turntable and Spotify/320kbps Mp3s. Vinyl wins hands down. I honestly can’t listen to certain albums in the car anymore because of it.

Getting back to vinyl has really helped me reconnect with music and really reminded me why I fell in love with it in the first place. There is something about having to put real honest effort into hearing your albums that pulls you closer to it. The care and maintenance for the table and LPs, the dialing it in to get the correct sound without distortion… and for me, the best part, turning down the lights, turning off the phone, and really absorbing the music.

WaxHead

ADDICTION?

Dave Eaton

I have been buying vinyl since 1970 and have always loved thumbing through records when looking to buy as it reminds me of the record shops we used to hang around as kids and the covers were always works of art not like the plastic boxes with cds,I am also into cds as I love the clarity of sound,we used to take albums to each other’s houses to listen to them with mates and to school when we played them in art class as the teacher was a muso like us

John Thomas

For sure, the sound seems warmer with more depth. Plus, there is just something about the sound of the needle drop.

Also, for me its the care one has to take with the LPs. They are like babies or puppies. You care for them properly and they reward your efforts.

Brian Ormond

I am recently retired and rediscovering my love for audio. I love vinyl for the experience, ownership, warmth of sound and the overall journey it is taking me on. There is very little I can do to improve the sound of digital. Sure I can replace my CD player and or DAC and possibly interconnects, but making improvements to vinyl without replacing the turntable is very possible which results in a journey. I can upgrade the arm ,cartridge, sub platter, pulley, platter and perhaps both record weight and counter weight. Each upgrade results in a new listening experience and one leads to another which is both fun and rewarding. Bottom line, vinyl is fun!

Donn Rutkoff

It takes a little education, a little investment in ttrntbl arm cartridge etc. A VPI 16.5 vacuum cleaner for used records. Not needed for new ones. Then, the sound of good LPs why. Not all lps. some are poor, either mastered for AM radio, or pressed into crappy vinly. that is why you have to do a little research, read up. there is a great article about the chem composition of LPs, on web site vinyl engine. titled composition of vinyl records, written by Vince1, posted Oct 19 2017. Highly recommend it so u know what to do and not do with vinyl.

warren

i still have a bunch of my old lps, used to love going to the music stores and flipping thru the racks , i am glad to see they are making a comeback, only problem is the price when i used to pay 5 to 10 for an lp is now costing 30 to 40 or more . i think that the lps sound better than the cd versions ,but just my opion.

Thomas M

Vinyl is like a menu with 5 courses.
CD is like 3 courses.
MP3 and streaming like fast food.
I used to take the best food 😉

Peter

I would add that records have a better sound quality at the extreme bass and treble ends and also it is worth pointing out that new rock and pop records these days are pressed on heavy duty new vinyl whereas in the 1970’s and 1980’s only jazz and classical music was pressed on virgin vinyl and quite often the rock releases were of poor quality. Regarding the cost, it is worth noting that a lot of new releases include a download code so you can get a digital version as well.

Don Esslemont

Vinyl is so organic, both in sound and the tactile feeling of holding the record sleeve. It usually comes with far more information to read than on a CD jewel case.

Graham Sharpe

Buying records fulfills several important aspects of my life……it keeps me connected to my formative years, helps create and maintain a social life by travelling to visit record shops, whilst also enabling me to meet like-minded people when I’m in those shoos.
Not only that, it ensures I keep listening to ‘new’ old vinyl which broadens my knowledge about the period which was most influential in my life and remains so today – the late sixties/early seventies when psych and prog were at their most inventive and fresh.
Graham Sharpe (author of recent book, Vinyl Countdown)

David Wilcomb

All the reasons cited. Add tactile feedback, less processing and the format’s encouraging of longer and more effective attention spans.

Gareth Shields

I have been buying vinyl since I was 7 years old in 1977. I still own most of them, so I love pulling out a record that I’ve purchased years ago that I’ve not listened to in a long time and it really takes me back to a particular moment in my life.
I also try and purchase new releases directly from the band these days. I live in Australia now having grown up in Northern Ireland so postage can be a little pricey, but I get paid well in my job, so I feel the band should be paid appropriately for the work/art that they produce.

Carl Hardy

Vinyl LP should not be replaced by cd or online like amazon apps Spotify

Nikos Gousopoulos

THANKS

Rudolf SANISLO

Gramofonové platne počúvam viac ako 50 rokov. Skutočne to funguje tak, že keď som kúpil White album od Beatles, mal som pocit, že tu hudbu skutočne vlastním. Je to ako mať fotografiu, len na monitore alebo fyzicky na fotopapieri. CD nosič napáliš, ale vinyl ? Ten kto prepadol platniam a gramofónu, to nevymení za nič.

Alex

Vinyl records are the closes to pure sound, without digital enhancements. Yes CD’s sound good, but it is not pure.

Andrew

Purchased my first LP in 1963; that was about 6,000 albums ago. Your reasons “hit the nail on the head”. Sound, cover art that you can hold in your hand and actually read without a microscope … Nostalgia.

Steve L.

There is nothing like the sound of vinyl over digital. I’m a little of a purist from the mastering to the cutting to ultimately allowing me to lay that album down on the platter and cueing it up. It’s artful and the way music is meant to be listened to. HiFi till the end!

David

I grew up on vinyl. With the entry of CDs and now SACDs, I ignored my vinyls. But now, as I return to the format, the music brings back memories of a long gone past. And the audio quality of vinyls, when played on a reasonable system, is much more engaging, sweeter and warmer.

Mike Lashinsky

You get to read about the artist. When it was pressed, Who was involved in making it?

Iain

Vinyl does seem expensive but is it though? I stopped buying vinyl in the 1980’s. Back then how much was a record? £3.99 for a single? That’s £20 in today’s money which is an annoying calc I think. When you remember paying £3.99 and now its £20+ it does feel like a rip off. The problem is CD’s are so cheap. But you can’t even compare something like Quadrophenia in vinyl to its CD version, much less streamed music. Vinyl is more but it is also so much more and I miss the excitement and the ritual of buying a record in Woolworth’s say and watching the sales assistant magically pluck the right record from the sea of white behind her, taking it out of its sleeve to inspect it before marrying it up to its cover. That’s how it was and a new record from your favourite singer or band – it was so exciting and young people really miss out on this feeling. And second hand record shops…so much fun.

Roger

Hmm, I can still find LPs for 25 cents at a local place which will remain nameless, and they are often in great condition (ok, to be fair, mainly classical). My best find ever? An complete boxed set of Beethoven’s Symphonies on the Grammophon label with Herbert von Karajan conducting) and in mint condition and I’m not exaggerting, for 95 cents!!!

Roger

I love vinyl LPs for many reasons. The biggest reason? Because I grew up listening to them in the ’70s and the connection I feel to that time from keeping them around. I love the artwork! I love being able to hold them in my hands, they have substance, unlike CDs, just a small little case with an itsy bitsy picture. I love the imperfectness of them, the static that gives them warmth, not the cold perfection of digital. Yes, they are higher maintenance, but I like the involvement, it makes me feel closer to the music. Do I get an A English teacher? Hah.

Marek Urbanowicz

In the Spring of 1969 I’d been lucky enough to see Janis Joplin perform at the Albert Hall in London; a few days later Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green and also BB King. I was desperate to own a record player so that I could listen to this kind of music. Fortunately my 16th birthday wasn’t long after this and I persuaded my parents to buy a dansette record player. It was the best present they had ever bought me though they probably regretted it since Bob Dylan at full volume wasn’t their kind of music!!. Prior to that I had an old wind up 78 record player and bought old shellac records in junk shops. With the arrival of a proper record player I could at last buy some contemporary music. 52 years later I now own over a 1,000 records with a high end hifi system. I still enjoy the process of which album do I select, the artwork on the cover, which side to start with (or maybe only one side), the feel of it in my hand, the unwrapping process, using the anti-static gun, cleaning the record, placing it on the turntable, carefully aligning the stylus and sitting back and immersing myself in the music. Can’t be beaten for the sheer pleasure of it. Wins hands down over CD’s. Fantastic to witness the vinyl revival.

Jim

When you have completed your search at the used Vinyl store, found the perfect Album, take it home, take it out of the sleeve and put it on the platter. It’s an EVENT, way better than swiping some screen.

Richard Litson

I started buying vinyl in the early ’70s, and have kept most of my records, but rarely play them. I’m a collector of certain music mainly from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. I have been coaxed back to vinyl by record companies: I’ve bought various box sets recently that included vinyl whether I wanted it or not (eg Gene Clark’s ‘No Other’; The Go-Between’s ‘G Stands For Go-Betweens 1&2’; The Beach Boys ‘Smile’ sessions). Whether vinyl will prove to be an improved, or at least different, listening experience for me after 30 years of CDs, I’m about to find out; I bought myself a new turntable for Christmas.

Ben Wynne

I have listened too many variations of my favourite album “war of the worlds”. First time when I was a teenager on vinyl then the whole cassette then DVD (never had it on 8 track though) now have the remastered vinyl and the sounds are incomparable

Ben Wynne

The whole process starting with buying an album through to the superb sound. Satisfying as you carefully remove from sleeve place on deck. Total stress reliever

[…] hope that vinyl continues to have a meaningful place in the market, as I believe it’s the best way to experience music. However, there are threats to this […]

Derick Gamboa

You call it the Faf, I simply refer to it as the “novelty”, of the hobby,, that creates the entire illusion of purpose.Why do we like the analgoue of the past ie. watches, cars, photography,, music??

Life has been too fast for everyone, UNLIMITED resources, instant gratification. It allows you to step back,,,,, and say. hey, i want to live longer, ok?

Walter Santiago

Excelente articulo, toda mi adolescencia disfrute el vinilo, pero no tenía dinero para comprarlo, ahora en mi vejez deseo coleccionar, por tanto estos artículos serán de grsn ayuda.
Saludos,
Walter Santiago
[email protected]
Panama, Centroamerica.

Marty

Unlike digital music, you don’t put a vinyl record on for background ambience while you do chores, or exercise or mow the lawn. With vinyl you need to sit down and LISTEN. Read the liner notes and the record jacket. HEAR the music so that it registers in your brain. It forces you to slow down and brings you to another place. An iPOD and a pair of earbuds just isn’t the same. With them, you don’t have to pay attention like you do when using your turntable. And the sound quality is far superior

John Long

1. Old man reason- I can read the liner notes easier.
2. Warmer sound,not as harsh as digital formats.
3. Artwork.
4. Familiar process. Nothing like opening a sealed record, especially if it is from back in the day.
5. I like my music to be on a physical format. I just enjoy handling a record more than a tiny CD.

Mark Johnson

There are many reasons for why I enjoy vinyl which you have covered succinctly. I do enjoy vinyl for the sheer fact that my introduction to music was through vinyl in the late 1970s so it is a nostalgia feeling.

Serafin Hermana Ugarte

Hello, I like the art work, the lyrics, and all the text in the sleeves, studio, musicians, producer, pressing etc. The good sound and some high end distortion, random, not in every record. I like to change the magnet oil in the tweeters. I like to clean and clean a clean. Neither of those can be found in the net, nor in any CD.

And this is not a problem. Keep the good work!

Serafin Hermana Ugarte

I did forget to write that I also like to hear the whole album, not only selected songs.

Ping

LPs are sounding more natural and with very much more details which no CD can match. This is helped by advanced technologies on turntables, such as magnetic suspension, ceramic bearing, carbonfibre arm, pure gold winding and symmetrical loading in the cartridge (Clearaudio Innovation, weighting 25 kg!), to name but a few, and these high tech was not available even 10 year ago. I have collected quite a lot of LPs, all classical, and am greatly enjoying them! You don’t need to purchase expensive LPs to enjoy them!

Jessica Jones

Most important reason is the therapeutic one. I only have about 50 vinyls (so far!) and with that, I do not have a billion artists to choose from. Mentally very calming to only have a ‘few’ choises. Another aspects that I’m enjoying more and more is the ‘Hunt’ for rare and limited versions. I can spend days hunting a ‘sold out’ version of a release. When you do find it, it’s absolutely thrilling.

Joey Kephart

I concur with all of the reasons that have been listed. The Therapeutic aspect, deeper connection with the music, the sound ( when it is a top condition / example) Some artists it just seems for lack of better terminology ” wrong” to listen to them in any other format.
The durabilty when you care for it.
I’ve sent friends/ family riddles in group text format.
“What item(s)did i purchase 40 years ago for a mere 25 cents at garage sales, that i’m still enjoying?”
Yep you guys guessed it.
The Record Store experience especially when you find the one that really works with you is also such a significant aspect of the whole ” experience”

Sumit Mukhopadhhyay

Listening music through Records from 1974. I have seen my dad and his involvement towards the same. That sweet addiction I have got from him genetically. I always want to participate with the artist and for that Record is the best way to go for it. It involves you so much, listen to music become your passion not a timepass.

Leonardo

I grew up listening to my mom’s reggae collection. She arrived In England in 1952 from Southern Ireland aged 15 to train as a nurse. It was a pleasure to listen to them and a great education away from school.
I bought my first record aged 13yrs old in 1976 from a neighbourhood record shop opposite Winson Green prison in Birmingham Uk. I still have the record – Irie feeling by Rupie Edwards. Buying this was like a rite of passage.
Growing up there was nothing like going into my favourite record shop sometimes with my twin brother and discovering the new Jamaican releases that were displayed In ranks and on the back wall behind the counter. As l became a regular visitor, Don as he was known, got to know my tastes and would select a purchase or two for me. That simple act was very satisfying, it meant recognition, very important as a young teenager. I still have records bought from Don, but a lot of them “walked”
In amongst the buying of vinyl, hi-fi systems have come and gone too, either sold or given away. I see the current system as my last re-build and and it will be the most costly. I suppose the hi fi represents how costly my hobby has become. We know how costly the vinyl is and as such can be viewed as a luxury. But when it all boils down to it, the permission it gives you to stop and listen is in its self invaluable in the world of constancy it is all so worthwhile and if l had the chance to live life again l wouldn’t change a thing. The experience and the memories it created are priceless.

Peter frost

As a resurrected vinyl wanna be I had a bumpy ride to start with and in fact still finding my way as I just moved on to a better deck but still need to improve on this as I can see the potential in vinyl as it has it’s drawbacks with so called remasters one needs to learn about..,not all vinyls are good as they might seem being who is in control of the pressing machines and so on…(look up Michael Fremer Analog Planet)…I never knew any of this back in the day cos all we did was just buy what we liked and heard…it was all we had but we had all the good music….and there is still good music to be had..,but I like everyone else went to digital which had it’s downsides…until the big guys improve digital format I’m interested in vinyl though it’s more expensive than used to be…having already been a vinyl collector back in the day I get lots of memories flooding back which is what life is all about….I remember buying my first 7”single for 7’6
(Seven shillings and sixpence )my pocket money saved up from when I was seven years old…sponging money from my mum just to buy records!!

David

I recently rediscovered vinyl and have my daughter to thank for it, all of the reasons stated in the article were valid but for me there are two additional reasons. 1) Artists used to put albums together with a theme and streaming random tunes you miss this, the liner notes can help to understand the theme and you miss this on CDs. 2) I felt more connected to the band and artists when reading the liner notes, then with either CDs or streaming.
Vinyl isn’t perfect but for me it is an experience, I used love and still do browsing record stores for a great find.

Gilles Levesque

Vinyl is a warm and inviting sound. At my age and level of experienced ears (not as sharp as they used to be) I listen to music at lower levels . I have passed the days of blasting incoherent sounds from huge speakers. Vinyl has that warmth that you can feel, really feel! As another comment said, it is also therapeutic. The process of slowing down, opening a sleeve, spinning, dusting and finally turning up the volume a bit only build the anticipation and eventually the enjoyment of listening.

Ian

I have thousands of records & CD’s & don’t frankly have a preference but I don’t do streaming! I agree with much you say but I have a number of identical recordings on the two mediums, and often prefer the CD, but I have quite high end equipment ( I was a hi-fi dealer ), and am even now, as I am largely retired attempting to consolidate, as I have at least 5 sets of speakers, 5 amps & 5 turntables & haven’t really room for them all. When I get a new tonearm, in the next month, possibly those recordings that sound better on CD will then sound better on LP. But mainly I still play LP’s because I have many recordings I treasure & don’t wish to buy on CD, and they still sound excellent. Of course there are some records that do sound better, but every copy of an LP will sound different, and that is why record collectors pay good money to get say a first pressing, which will sound better than later issues. Cheers.

Mario

Dear Marc, All the five reasons you detailed are sound. I collect records from more than 40 years ago (!), and, as a progressive rock lover, I enjoy the art cover of masters as R. Dean, R. Matthews, Phil Travers, Mouse Kelly Studios, and many, many, more. Indeed, die cut covers (as Procol Harum´s Broken Barricades) are impossible to replicate in CD booklets…
Of course, the sound matters 🙂 and, if an analog record was well produced, well mastered, and well pressed, the satisfaction is guaranteed.