I began to buy cheap, used records a few years ago. I saw them every time I went to a thrift store, and then one day I decided to check them out. Soon I begin to search through the records every time I went to the stores, specifically for comedy albums. I had, through research, learnt that there were comedy albums that could not be streamed online, but only listened to if you found a vinyl album copy. I soon began to buy these albums whenever I found one. This then led me to buy musical albums from the musicals I had been in, as a sort of memento from those shows. This is how my vinyl album collection began.
I really loved the thought of listening to vinyl, but I at this point really didn’t know what it would sound like, because although I was buying these albums, I had no record player to play them on. The records I was buying were cheap but a record player was not, and this led me to grow my vinyl album collection, but I still did not have a source to play them on. For the first two years that was okay with me, because it was just enough to pick up the album and feel the plastic disk in my hands. This went on for nearly two years, until my grandma finally bought me a record player as a Christmas gift.
Up to this point I had been listening to music online only for years, but now I would hear music from my record player. I quickly noticed there was a certain sound from these comedy albums, as if I were hearing the comedian live – I wondered if that would be the case for an album of music too. I began to buy more albums, of actual music from various bands and I realized that these albums gave the songs a certain imperfect sound which made them sound more “live” rather than digital. That’s when I realized it was the imperfection of a non-digital songs that gave the appealing sound on these vinyl records.
Another unique feature of actual Vinyl is being able to hold the physical album in my hands, another sensation I had never experienced just streaming music. It’s very unique coming from listening to digital music, to hold a large flat plastic disk in your hands and realize that it holds a collection of songs on it. I would think there would have to be more to it, or some newer technology involved, but it’s simply plastic vinyl. Thinking of this reminded me of how for many years records were the only way to listen to recorded music, and it’s amazing how far we have come.
I think the fact that records are the oldest way for consumers to listen to recorded music is a large part of their appeal not just to myself but to others too. I enjoy talking to my grandparent and other older adult friends of mine about records, and “new” old groups for me to search for.
Something else worth mentioning is when I would stream music online, I never had the attention span to listen to a whole album, rather picking and choosing certain songs to listen to instead. Once I began to listen to Vinyl records I would sit and listen to the whole album, which I’ve found is an interesting experience. This has exposed me to songs I otherwise would have never heard, and it’s on a new format to me. Now more and more stores have begun to sell new Vinyl albums as well as new pressings of old favorites. You can find record players in many stores. too. It seems they’re coming back to be more part of the mainstream again. Perhaps I’m not the only one who likes to hold the actual album in their hand, and hear the non-digital sounds of vinyl.
Eddie Kunz is a junior international business major.