There's a hell of a lot more music compared to what we had a few decades ago. Since computers became a part of our everyday lives and the market is filled with DAWs there's music all over. That requires different mediums and a different approach.
It is also easier for young, upcoming talents to upload their music to Soundcloud or Bandcamp rather than looking for a record label who might or might not agree to release their music for the first time. Digital music is also very easy to reach and almost 100% user friendly. The quality is also decent regardless of what some say about the compression of MP3s. If a 320kbps MP3 is not enough than you can go for FLAC, AIFF or WAV. That's the point where the difference between the quality of digital and analog becomes irrelevant for the majority of us. Not because there's absolutely no difference, but because your average sound system is not enough to make you hear it. It is also important to mention the fact that many vinyl records are made from the digital masters. Some experts say that technically speaking the vinyl is inferior to CDs and other lossless digital formats such as WAV. Regardless of this the vinyl industry is getting bigger and bigger each year despite the digital conquest.
When you play a record you are savouring music to the greatest extent. It's just you and the turntable and a comfy sofa.The reason for this huge increase in vinyl sales is class. It feels a hell of a lot better to hold a record in your hands than knowing you have a chunk of binary code on your hard drive somewhere. A 50x50 pixel cover art is almost nothing compared to have a collection of pictures disguised as records. Also, playing music on any electronic device is just a routine. The music's playing and you do whatever you have to, or whatever you shouldn't. With vinyl it's different. It truly is a ceremony, a process. It isn't something to be done in ten seconds. You have to pay attention to it, you have to put some "effort" in it. This has multiple benefits.
Since it takes absolutely no effort to get the music playing we are listening to it non-stop. We are even forced to consume music when we don't want to. Supermarkets, bus stops and noisy neighbors fill in the very limited time that we want to spend in silence. If there is no silence our perception of music changes drastically. I'm not sure about the nature of this change but one thing is damn sure. After skipping on music for a couple of hours or a day it just feels like nothing else to hit play again. Silence puts music into a different context. It is like a reward. You make time for it, you put the record on the platter, move the needle, turn on the amp, turn the volume knob and the reward is a warm and imperfect sound. It is imperfect in the best possible way. All the pops and clicks make the feel more "real".
Also tweaking and tuning a vinyl setup is a perfect hobby for tech-heads. While listening to digital music all you need is an amp, a dedicated soundcard and a set of speakers, vinyl is a hell of a lot more complicated. You need a good stylus, a decent turntable, a phono amp, a cartridge an arm and a bunck of other stuff. Of course, you can buy the whole thing as a package, but developing each piece of your vinyl setup has a far greater impact on the quality of the output than swapping sound cards for example. The downside is you can spend huge amount of cash on vinyl gear, but if you're an audiophile that won't matter.
Vinyl for music heads is a way of life.
cover photo credits: Koji Vinyl