It doesn't surprise me one bit that people who've only experienced music via compressed audio files and crappy earbuds are flocking to vinyl, for reasons that do (and don't) have anything to do with sound quality.
"Dude, lets move I cant see the band"
"See the band? Dude I can TASTE THE BAND"
-Best line from a sketch on a classic rock station I used to listen to.
That being said, if you look at the massive EDM festivals, concerts and raves they have now I would put current drug use pretty close to on par with the 60's. The attitude and politics are much different though. That and MDMA replaced LSD and Adderall replaced cocaine.
Sales of vinyl in 2016 reached a 25-year high as consumers young and old have once again embraced physical formats of music.
More than 3.2m LPs were sold last year, a rise of 53% on last year and the highest number since 1991 when Simply Red’s Stars was the bestselling album. This was also the first year that spending on vinyl outstripped that spent on digital downloads.
The deaths of some music world giants was a key driver in vinyl sales, as people invested in records as a mementos. After David Bowie’s death he became the bestselling vinyl artist of 2016, with five albums posthumously featuring in the top 30.
Vinyl sales bigger than YouTube for British artists
His album Blackstar, which was shortlisted for a Mercury prize, was the most popular selling album of the year, while The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, Nothing Has Changed and Changesonebowie were also popular LPs.
The statistics, compiled by BPI, show that this is the ninth consecutive year that vinyl has grown, thanks to events such as record store day, which has now become a nationwide phenomenon, and the increase in shops selling vinyl. Supermarkets such as Tesco now stock vinyl and both HMV and Rough Trade have created more floor space to sell more records.
At least 30 albums sold more than 10,000 copies in 2016, a stark contrast to 2007 when digital downloads began to take hold and a meagre total of 200,000 LPs were sold overall.
Vanessa Higgins, the CEO of Regent Street and Gold Bar Records, and an independent label member of BPI Council, said: “It’s twofold in that older people are going back to vinyl but I also think the younger generation are discovering it in a way they weren’t before.
“People think millennials just stream and are just digital but actually I think we are going to see increasingly over this coming year that young people still want something tangible and real and that’s where vinyl is taking on the role that the CD used to have.”
She said the trend towards streaming – which has rocketed 500% since 2013, with 45bn audio streams over 2016 – had led people back to vinyl as a way of tangibly owning music and because streaming had encouraged music discovery.
Higgins said: “It used to be music discovery was mainly limited to the radio, but now people are free to look and listen to all sorts of music, so people are hearing so much more new or different music than they were before. They are finding music through streaming and if they love it, they are going out and investing in it in a physical format.”
Higgins said it was still mainly benefiting artists on major labels, and that for smaller labels such as hers “the capital required to invest in vinyl is a lot upfront. And because most vinyl is pressed in Europe, the price to manufacture has gone up this year.”
However, she added: “I think what we are going to see this year is more smaller artists and independent labels start to benefit from vinyl as well because so many different types of music fans are now willing to go out and buy it.”
Higgins predicted the digital download would disappear entirely over the next few years as it became redundant.
The rise of the album - archive
While vinyl sales still only account for 5% of the albums market, they are becoming increasingly important sources of income for record labels and musicians.
Jamie Oborne, the manager of Mercury-nominated band the 1975, whose debut album was Urban Outfitters’ biggest selling vinyl of 2015, said: “There’s been this cultural shift where people are willing to pay for music again which is brilliant. We now sell a ton of vinyl and the margins on vinyl are huge so it is really a significant source of revenue for us.”
The boost in vinyl sales is part of a wider shift in the fortunes of the music industry back towards turning a profit again. In December, one the biggest global record labels, Warner Music, reported their best profits in eight years, of which $1bn (£810m) came directly from streaming, and in the first half of 2016, streaming revenue in the US grew by 57% to $1.6bn. In contrast, CD sales were down 10% on last year.
Geoff Taylor, the chief executive of the BPI and the Brit Awards, said: “Growth in UK music consumption in 2016 was fuelled by the explosive rise in audio streaming, which has increased 500% since 2013, and relative resilience from physical formats … We believe this performance is indicative of the promise of a new era for music, where recorded music’s investments in a digital future fuel compelling benefits for fans, artists and the entire music ecosystem.”
I generally agree with you, and Chris A
For me, SACDs and DVD-As are often the best, even with a few old recordings. On the other hand, I even have one excellent recording on cassette -- Sonic Spectaculars -- a sampler from Chrystal Clear Records, which is even better on their Direct to Disk version, however.
Here is Meridian's take on it (I realize they have a conflict of interest, given their new product line):
Reinventing the record: New Burlington factory turns out vinyl albums
BY LIZ BRAUN, POSTMEDIA NETWORK
FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, MAY 23, 2017 02:49 PM EDT | UPDATED: TUESDAY, MAY 23, 2017 02:56 PM EDT
Gerry McGhee is one of the people behind Precision Records in Burlington - a new vinyl record maker with new equipment on
Vinyl fanatics have a new champion in Gerry McGhee.
McGhee is the proud vice president of Precision Pressing, a state-of-the-art vinyl record manufacturing facility in Burlington. The 20,000-sq.-ft. plant celebrated its official opening on May 11.
It may be weird to describe a factory as beautiful, but that's exactly what Precision is -- a light-filled, high-ceilinged, scrupulously clean structure filled with handsome pressing machines and dozens of enthusiastic employees.
Precision Pressing is a labour of love for McGhee, 55.
He's a lifer in the music industry -- as both a musician and an executive -- and Precision Pressing represents years of hard work and perseverance on his part to serve the global vinyl resurgence. Not content to work with the 40-year-old pressers that are remnants of vinyl's heyday in the 1970s and '80s, McGhee searched the planet for new and innovative machines. He eventually found exactly what he wanted with Czech vinyl manufacturer GZ Media, the world leader in record pressing; GZ began investing in new presses in 2005, guided by head honcho and vinyl visionary Zdenek Pelc.
To McGhee's dismay, GZ would not sell him the machines he wanted.
But they would agree to talk about a joint venture.
"I was on a flight to Prague the next day," says McGhee, and the rest is history -- a deal was struck. We would wager quite a lot of money that McGhee's enthusiasm for vinyl and exuberance about life in general helped seal that deal.
Over the past 18 months, McGhee found a facility, figured out how to accommodate the factory's massive need for electricity (1,600 amps) and fitted the place out with the beautiful Czech-made record presses shipped to Canada.
"If I got the machines when I was looking for them, I'd be bankrupt now," McGhee says, only half-joking. "I had no idea of the infrastructure needed -- the boilers and the chillers and the engineers I would have needed. And the amount of government red tape I fought! Even though we'll create 200 jobs here."
Precision has the full backing of those running major Canadian record labels, who know the recent surge in vinyl interest means they can sell whatever McGhee's plant can press.
"New technology was key," McGhee says, "in order to be competitive. And to not have to deal with the issues most plants are dealing with: Bad quality pressings, machines breaking down all the time, inability to meet deadlines.
"Right now, we're creating records in eight weeks. Some people are waiting six months."
McGhee has high praise for his Czech colleagues, noting their creativity, expertise and exacting standards in every aspect of record pressing and production, packaging included. During a quick visit to a quality control area, McGhee explains what one employee is doing: "When we start pressing, he'll grab the record, listen to the whole album -- for pops, cracks, anything out of the ordinary -- and when we get to 1,000 records, he starts all over again."
Isn't that rather labour intensive?
"We are living up to GZ's standards," he says. "And we hope to surpass them."
In another incarnation, McGhee was lead vocalist for the band Brighton Rock. The group had three albums with Warner Bros. and a big following, but he decided to come off the road in the '90s for family reasons.
"My kids were getting to school age and I had to make a decision -- stay in Los Angeles or come home and be a dad. I chose to be a dad."
He started Isotope Music Inc, initially to help Canadian artists with no distribution outside the country. It grew to become Canada's largest music distributor.
Long before that, however, McGhee was already developing his passion for music. Originally from Scotland, he grew up in Hamilton, the youngest of five kids -- including two older brothers who had introduced him to the music of the Beatles and Elvis by the time he was three.
"I'd stay with my older brothers on the weekends. They'd put on Black Sabbath, or Bob Dylan or King Crimson -- I knew all these bands when most people were just listening to CKOC! I got tuned into new music early, just being the youngest in a family that was music orientated. The big brothers kind of passed that on to me. It's always been a big passion."
Running Precision, says McGhee, allows him to stay connected to the music business "which is something I've loved my whole life.
"For me, to still be able to do the music thing -- it doesn't feel like a job. My wife complains that I'm working 14-hour days," he says. "But I love this! It doesn't feel like work."
Precision Pressing welcomes independents. Says McGhee: “Most plants shy away from any order under 300. We won’t! We’ll do runs of 100. We need the major labels, but we wanted to take care of the indie guys, too.”
- Precision Pressing is currently in phase one, but already working to capacity.
“We can press 3.6 million albums a year in phase one, with our five double presses — that’s 10 stampers — running three shifts. When we add the automated machines, hopefully in the next six months, we’ll go to 6 million, which will make us the second largest in North America.
- How much have vinyl sales increased lately? Forbes.com says sales began to climb around 2008 and in 2015, vinyl sales had increased by 32%. In the U.S. sales of vinyl LPs went past the $400 million mark that year, which happens to be the highest dollar figure since 1988, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
And 52% of all sales are to people ages 18 to 35.
Says McGhee: “Vinyl albums are great. You can read the lyrics and really see the artwork as it was intended. And there’s just something different about listening to vinyl. There’s a warmth there that’s like listening inside a studio. You don’t get that anywhere else.”
- Vinyl is here to stay.
“You see people upgrading their turntables,” McGhee says. “They’ve gone from the $100 turntable to the $400. They’re not leaving the format anytime soon
I record live music in my home studio at 24-bit/96kHz resolution. For comparison, I used my DAW software to rip a 24/96 file down to 16-bit/44kHz and also down to 320kbps MP3. It took repeated listening to zero-in on the extremely miniscule differences between the master 24/96 file and the 16/44 rip; it took less than 5 seconds to hear the differences between the 24/96 master and the MP3. It takes a little longer to hear the differences between the MP3 and the 16/44 file, but after a minute or so the differences are clear.
The only place I can listen to MP3s is in my car.