4 years ago1,000+ Views
Vinyl sales are up in the past few years, even as overall music sales have declined. Why? In order of least legitimate (#1) to most legitimate reasons, let's check it out.

1. It sounds better

I have some trouble with this one. I've had a record player setup for a few years now, and if we're being honest, it's really hard to tell the difference in quality. I like to think I have a pretty good ear, but the differences are usually so miniscule. I've explored this in an earlier card. Check out this quiz by NPR that tests your ear's ability to pick up the differences in sound quality:
Anyway, if you can manage to pick up on it, it does sound better than music coming out of your computer or headphones. And sometimes you really can notice the difference - I find this particularly true when listening to records that were originally released on vinyl, and not recorded for a CD or mp3 (i.e., older albums).

2. The price isn't that different

A common misconception is that vinyl is super expensive. But in reality, once you have the setup going, it really isn't. It's a hobby, so don't expect it to be free, but it doesn't deserve the high mental price tag that it often gets.
A basic record player runs anywhere from $60 - $80, but if you're really looking to start a collection that will last it's worth spending a little bit extra. And after that one-time fee, it's not so bad. If you still buy albums (i.e., if you haven't gone full-Spotify) on their own, they typically cost about $10 online (or more in a store). The average new record on vinyl will cost about $17. So, if you're buying the album anyway, it's just a few bucks different. Usually, when I decide I want an album, there's nothing getting in my way, and I always find it's worth it to spend the extra few dollars to have something concrete. More on that later - see reason #4.
What's more, the bargain bins of used records are so much fun - some of my favorites in my collection have come from the bargain bin (off the top of my head, I remember picking up a Benny Goodman record and an Eric Clapton one for a total of like $5 one time). Just remember to check out the actual vinyl for any major scratches before you buy - it's totally fair game to slide it out of the jacket and check it out beforehand. Cheap as can be, and usually pretty reliable.
[EDIT]: Also of note is that pretty much any new vinyl you buy will come with an MP3 download. I'm yet to run into a scenario in which that is not the case.

3. Record stores are some of the best places in any city

This one is totally true. Go to any city in any country, find the record shop, and it's bound to have three things:
A. Great music. Obviously. In most cases, it'll be something you haven't heard before, or something you haven't heard in years. And you will be so ever-so-pleased to hear it again.
B. History. Most record shops have been around for a while - it's a pretty tough business to enter, I guess. So the building and the shop itself will have history, but beyond that, there's history in the stock. You're not going to find too many record shops selling only contemporary music; each one I've ever been in has a wild, mildly-disorganized collection of used and new records. Sifting through the shelves, you'll remember long-forgotten artists.
C. Info about other cool events. People hosting great (often free!) events love to solicit at record shops. Concerts, shows, festivals, and more. Check out the walls, the stickers lying around, a flyer at the check-out counter, or the store window for more. This one is almost a guarantee. My local record shop hosts a free outdoor festival one weekend every spring and it's great.
Record shops are like playgrounds for music lovers. Finding something awesome is so easy if you are patient - maneuvering the shelves is a big game. What could be better?

4. There's a huge aesthetic/material factor

OK, maybe you won't quite make it to a this guy's level, but the point remains the same. Album covers are awesome, and they look so much better on a vinyl jacket than they do on your phone screen via Spotify. It's art, simply put. And stacking a whole bunch of records together on a good looking shelf can be a really great looking piece of a room. Plus, lots of artists have begun playing around with the designs of the vinyls themselves, to great effect.
Plus, there's something so great about actually holding your music, and queuing it up on a record player. It's delicate, and it makes you feel good handling it, like you're doing something really important. The physical ownership of something you love - like an album - is really comforting.

5. It's just... fun

Kind of a cop-out, but it's true. This goes back to #4 and the material factor - it makes you feel cool to handle a record. I know, I know - you don't do things because they make you cool - but that's not the point here. The point is not that owning vinyl makes you cool to others (because, who cares?)... it's that it makes you think you're cool. It's unavoidable, it's contagious and it's a feeling that you can only really appreciate once you start building a collection and listening to it regularly. You'll know what I mean once you start.
My roommate in college had a ton of records and I used to pretend the record player was mine. Now that I've moved out I feel my coolness level dropping each day.
Ok, well, I took that ear quiz and only got one wrong (?!) which surprised even me because I've never really spent a lot on how I listen to music, I've just made sure I actually get to listen to it. So maybe, once I have a place to actually keep them, I'll finally take the record player from my parents house (it's had my name on it for year) and start my own! That's the only way I used to listen to all my dad's favorite music growing up, anyways.
@jeff4122 Vinyl is coming back in style heavy in the hip-hop community. Producers and DJs are all over vinyl due to the big sound, but I think the average hip-hop fan is starting to see the value of Vinyl as well. Personally I can't pay 12-15 bucks for a cd download. I want the tangible object. I want the album cover, credits, etc.
Yessss I periodically go through my parents' old records and have found some hilarious gems from my dad's glory days (The Best of the Doobie Bros? Yes please). That's totally how I got my collection started
I'm all about it. Totally agree that the $12 for a regular download isn't worth it. Whenever a friend of mine is going to buy a CD I'm always like... can I just pay you the $7 difference or whatever it is to get it on vinyl hahha