Music today is something that is mainly bought and listened to on MP3 files. Radios are now just things that are in cars and even then we’re more likely to stick in headphones and choose our own music. Music on TV is only going to come in the form of either a talent competition or Top of the Pops at Christmas. The digital age is truly upon us. But I think that something needs to be done to ensure the preservation of other music formats.
I rarely go a day without listening to my iPod, and on every trip I tend to think more about the playlist I’m going to choose than what to pack in my suitcase. But there is still something more satisfying about turning up the volume on a CD player to fill the house or hearing the crackle before a record begins. There are undoubtedly more pros than cons to using an iPod, but, like a disposable camera or a gameboy, there is a strange nostalgic novelty value to playing LPs.
…smugly discussed their first-hand knowledge…
An iPod will go out of date every year or so, or possibly sooner, but there is a timeless quality to playing vinyl, as if there is a direct link between studio and record without the digital, technological diversions that come with CDs and MP3s. It seems like the music is more in the hands of the artist, arranging an album for you to listen to in order, without being able to skip or shuffle.
Last weekend I came across a music fair, set up inside an old church in Norwich. Inside I found box upon box of old records. As well as being quite happy to wander around and buy them, I was pleased to see the mixture of people that had been drawn in. Rather than being the usual teenage crowd that you would find in any HMV, there were people both old and young, from all walks of life, discussing and sifting through the vinyls just as someone would scroll through Spotify. I watched as the older people smugly discussed their first-hand knowledge, and as the young people surprised themselves with the amount of names and songs they recognised.
…do its best when it is available to everyone.
As well as these kinds of fairs bringing collectors and music appreciators together in a more sociable way than modern formats, the very act of playing vinyl is undeniably a more social affair. While listening to an iPod is enjoyable for you on your own, a record is something that you cannot help but share – due to the lack of headphone ports – and the mere novelty of it today will mean that there are more people who will enjoy it than condemn it.
Despite modern preconceptions, it is never something that has really ever lost its appeal or been confined to the olden days. Many bands nowadays still produce a vinyl copy of their albums and singles, and some still occasionally only produce vinyl copies (although, to be fair, these are mainly just side-projects or publicity stunts), but it shows there are still musicians who are aware that their music will do its best when it is available to everyone. With vinyl, they are not only allowing everyone, no matter how up to date they are, to listen to it, but also showing that music is still the most universal form of expression.