Friday, June 3, 2011

No more vinyl? Not by a long shot

A few weeks back, I gave one of my sons what a lot of modern folks would consider an awkward birthday gift: I gave him a couple of vinyl LPs. I’m talking about new LPs from current artists, not used stuff I picked up in a garage sale, but actual current pressings of the latest releases of known artists. In 2011, vinyl is very much alive, thank you very much.

A lot of people may be surprised to learn that you can still buy music on vinyl. Not only is this so, but sales of vinyl records have steadily increased these past few years. There definitely is a lively market for vinyl records, and usually it boils down to: 1) older folks (like me) who never abandoned vinyl, 2) young folks (like my son) who are rediscovering and enjoying it, and 3) professional or amateur DJs who wouldn’t be caught dead spinning anything else than vinyl.

Artists today are releasing limited pressings of their albums on vinyl. Record stores haven taken notice and are stocking up. On my recent visit to one of Ottawa’s main used & new music stores, I was quite pleased to see that most of the patrons were flipping through the vinyl bins, NOT the CDs. And the number of current titles available on vinyl was breathtaking, from obscure death metal to the latest pop smash hits.

Luckily, today’s LP records are usually pressed on high-quality 180-gram vinyl. A bit more expensive, but the sound quality is amazing. Gone are the days (the bad old 70s and 80s) of cheap, thin LP records that would warp just by looking at them.

By the way, the records I bought my son are TV on the Radio’s Nine Types Of Light and Mogwai’s Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will. Both of these albums sound fantastic on vinyl, of course.

Long live vinyl.