Despite my hundreds of Spotify hours, my go to music platform is the good ol ‘vinyl. I have been called pretentious over and over the second I show my shelf full of double LPs, limited editions, and God forbid coloured LPs that are only available at Real Groovy for a week at a time. I’m more than happy to fit the archetype of the artsy fartsy guy who still buys physical medium when there’s so much value to having vinyl. I’ve been collecting for just over a year now and my humble beginnings have grown to a shelf of around 50 albums. Ranging from Daft Punk to Kendrick, Black Midi to King Crimson, Elvis Presley to Swans; to say my taste is varied is quite the understatement. Before you ask how I started, why I love collecting wax, and how much I’ve put down into this obsession of mine, I want to talk about how important vinyl can be to music and maybe try to convince you into starting a collection yourself.
At this point vinyl is as old as time itself to the current generation of teens and students. Often they’re a reminder of our parents’ and grandparents’ infatuations with music and good hand-me-downs for when you move out into your own flat (thank you, Dad, for the Michael Jackson LPs). It’s no question that streaming services have taken over our standard of music listening, with artists finding success in racking up stream after stream. But funnily enough, it’s through physical purchases that the real support can be found from fans. Spotify especially came under flack for giving out as low as $0.0003 per stream for even majorly established artists. This isn’t to say we should boycott streaming, God no (hell, Kendrick just dropped—how else can we listen to him?). It’s just vinyl is a much better way to support our favourites, with unit sales per 100 giving royalties of up to $2000 for the artist. Maybe if you want Rihanna to make your college summer album for the year, nudge her sales through vinyl!
More personally though, I find buying vinyl to be totally worthwhile and even enlightening in some ways. Sure you can look like the coolest person on the block if you have a rare as hell Kanye original press or something, but holding the album art in such a large package just feels right to me. You have gone out to buy a piece of artwork for you to own and spin as much as you want. At times it feels like an exclusive gateway into viewing how the music is meant to be experienced, making you feel like you own it more so than just knowing and jamming it. Additionally, I find the feeling of looking at a full shelf of any physical medium such a bright spot in any room. I own hundreds of books and DVDs for this reason, and my room feels so comfortable that all the stresses I get from uni tend to seep away.
So, for something that appears ancient, tired and just not up to scratch, vinyl is such a worthwhile investment if you truly love music, art, and the feeling of comfort for your room. Here’s to a year of my collecting, and of course many more to come.
Oh, and I’ve spent more than $3000 on it all… I live and breathe financial distress.