If you’ve walked into an Urban Outfitters lately you may have noticed quite a lot of vinyl for sale. And not just vintage vinyl either but newly pressed records of current artists. It doesn’t just stop at Urban Outfitters. Take a look at Barnes & Noble and they are doing the same thing. These are two very large companies pushing the sale of vinyl in a way never done before that you simply have to take notice.
Vinyl has long been regarded as superior in sound quality, for some, when compared to MP3s or compact discs, with the latter becoming more and more obsolete. Fans will usually describe vinyl as having a warmer sound and if the record isn’t damaged or warped in any way it could produce a quality just as good as digital music, if not better. As technology improved, however, the goal was to develop a format that could hold more data and records just didn’t measure up. MP3s were the wave of the future even becoming the desired format of many DJs as Pioneer developed a CDJ capable of reading a USB filled with hundreds of MP3 files. DJs can now just plug and play, and no longer have to carry their records in crates to an event. Actually, those days have been gone for quite some time. To make things even more interesting, it has recently been reported that the MP3 format will no longer be supported by its manufacturer. Not to say that there will be any impact just yet, but it could push even more consumers over to the vinyl market.
So, why the resurgence of vinyl, a format that has long survived past the cassette of the 80s and the 8-track of the 70s? Both formats came in to play after records yet both are obsolete. What gives? Vinyl has of course continued to be pressed in small numbers and usually sought after by a niche market, but now sales have surpassed even those of MP3s, as reported by Billboard. Think of who is selling vinyl records. Urban Outfitters is. Who shops at Urban Outfitters? A very large share of their demographic is millennials, and once millennials eye a new trend, huge numbers often follow. Additionally, just as advancements in technology helped to develop the MP3, advancements in technology have helped to produce better records. And if stored properly, vinyl records can hold their quality for centuries. Yes, centuries. MP3s are also just a file, whereas as vinyl is memorabilia, just a small piece of your favorite artist you can keep forever. Keep it local though and support your independent record shops. NYC has several good ones and will have a much better selection than your chain retailers offering more than just what’s trending.