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I hate to be the person to break this to you, but we live in a digital age of music. Today’s most popular form of music is not tangible in any sense of the word. It cannot be held, displayed, flipped through, opened or closed. However, recent statistics show that a significant group of consumers have began to reignite what was until the last few years a forgotten medium – vinyl records.

Contrary to what many people suggest, vinyl is not surging simply because of the sound quality. Audiophiles have always existed, and they have always preferred vinyl and sought it out; those are not the only people pushing the growth today. What we’re seeing now is a larger movement that can’t simply be driven by the lure of slightly superior sound. If it were simply about fidelity then CD’s sales wouldn’t continue to plummet. Indeed, most people — and most stereos — are unable to discern the difference between a CD and a LP.

Currently, a growing segment of music consumers are choosing to buy new equipment, pay more for an album, expend greater effort to procure it, sacrifice portability, essentially going against their general self-interest all for the sake of listening to music on a vinyl record. The emphasis on experience over convenience or portability makes vinyl somewhat of an outlier in terms of the way technology typically develops. Sure, practical and logistical constraints limit the scope of the resurgence, but sales are nevertheless growing at an unprecedented pace (up 224% in five years.) But let’s be real, something this significant is not simply a result of the marginal benefit in sound quality. In many ways the rebirth of vinyl is illogical, so there must be a deeper reason.

Obviously, LP’s are a connection to the past – but it’s the younger generation who are driving the trend. Studies have shown that the largest portion of sales come from the generation widely associated solely with autocorrect fails and funemployment — millennials. These are the same people who spent the majority of their music-listening years using iPods, illegally downloading music from file sharing sites, streaming Pandora, and buying music online — this is a cohort that has only ever received music. Now it seems they are in search of something warm, tangible, real — and with LPs they’re learning what it’s like to be interactive. Starring songs on Spotify isn’t the same as having a record collection; you can’t hold it in your hand or remember the last time you played it — and it’s that element of physicality that allows you to form lifetime associations with the music.

From flipping through “dollar bins” to placing a brand new record on your turntable for the first time — there’s an indefinable sense of magic about vinyl that keeps people coming back and buying records. Unlike any other format, vinyl has the ability to bring the listening experience back to a human realm — thus making the resurgence not simply a rebirth of a forgotten medium, but a full-blown revolution against the abstraction of music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etxYxIfDhXc
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