How long can we ride this wave?
For some of us, we have never stopped riding the wave and the thought of hanging up our surfboards fills us with dread. I think being born in the 70s if you were hit by music and the vinyl bug then it will remain with you in some way for life.
I can’t imagine the millennials ever referring to MP3s in the same adoring way. This is through no fault of their own they have just been reared in a disposable, sell-out, instant gratification world. I try not to be that guy always moaning about society today, but it is upsetting in many ways. I feel that depth, in general, is missing from society today but that is a story for another day.
The vinyl experience is a multi-layered one. From the discovery of a record, the sourcing of that record, the interactions when discussing and buying that record, to the placing of it on the turntable and hearing the sound of the vinyl hitting the spindle before finding it’s way neatly onto the platter itself, then the careful needle drop and finally into the wonderfully warm world of the record. Layer upon layer of emotional experience. Then, of course, there is the artwork and information as you sit back to enjoy the sound waves. This reminds me of Hip Hop, or actually rap music as technically it should be referred to as. Rap music is part of a layered culture called Hip Hop which is constructed of 5 pillars, breakdancing, graffiti, DJing, MCing (rapping to all you kids out there) and clothing style. Again, multi-layered, depth!
Praise the hipsters! This breed of well-groomed, quirky chaps and chapesses have inadvertently helped revive records and record culture. Die-hard DJs of yesteryear also pounced on this wave and new generations started to see the benefits and experience vinyl could bring. Even DVS has helped guide some new DJs to vinyl experiences. Nobody is more surprised or happy than I that this resurgence appears not to be short-lived as many believed to be the case. When large manufacturers start to throw their weight behind new turntables and accessories you know there is a long term plan. Even Panasonic have released new versions of the classic 1200 series.
But with anything good, there is bound to be some downside. Us original DJ vinyl heads are a possessive bunch and letting these talented turntablist whippersnappers into our cherished vinyl world can be a little hard to swallow, but we must embrace that and encourage it in order to make this wonderful vinyl ecosystem a strong one.
Now there is one other thing I have to bring up and am firmly on the fence with this one. Represses! I walked from shop to shop gathering the finest House and
Hip Hop sorry rap records from shop to shop, building my beloved collection over decades only for some character who has been collecting for a month to say “yeah I got that as well, brand new!” The thing I love about vinyl is that not everyone would have the same music. You can pretty much walk into most major clubs throughout the country these days and hear identical sets played by DJs knocking out the Beatport top twenty from the tech house charts. I do not want records to go the same way. I don’t believe it will as with all the technology available to DJs today and the promise of perfect beat matching every time with the press of a button, allows them to achieve god-like status without any discernible talent. It takes a kind of purist to commit to being a vinyl DJ.
So, in short, I believe the vinyl industry is strong and has the backing of the audio manufacturers and record distribution companies. I feel there will be a drop off as the hipsters move into the world of gramophones and 78s, but generally, I believe vinyl is here to stay for quite a while to come.