Sell vinyl records for cash? Stop immediately. It has a rich history and one should cherish it before thinking to depart with the LPs. Know all here.
Apropos as it is, the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on the gramophone record mentions the record’s “spiral groove.” But records haven’t always been groovy – in either the literal or the figurative sense.
The record has, however, been around for over 150 years. And although threatened to extinction by digital media and by such music lovers who sell vinyl records for cash, the LPs keep making a comeback. Now that’s groovy.
A Brief History of Records
Here’s the historical “spin” on records:
The predecessor to records was a phonograph machine developed by Thomas Edison in 1887. The earliest recordings were not made or reproduced on shellac or groovy vinyl, but rather on the commonly found household staple tinfoil.
It wasn’t until 1918 that records infiltrated the mainstream, when a patent on lateral-cut disc records expired. The market officially opened-up, and records – also referred to as 45s, LPs, platters and vinyl – finally arrived.
Also a popular sound device at the time was the Amberol cylinder. For the record, vinyl quickly beat the cylinders in popularity and pushed them completely out of production.
From the late 1920s on, records ruled the scene as the true music box king, reigning through epic musical eras of the 20th Century, including Jazz in the ‘20s, the onset of rock’n’roll in the ‘50s, and hip-hop in the ‘70s.
New Musical Devices – A Threat to Records
So how is it that the disc that survived decades could all but disappear in the ‘80s and remain an archaic musical form for nearly 20 years? Blame it on technology as well as on those who wanted to sell vinyl records for cash.
Compact Discs, also known as CDs, first posed a threat to records in the 1980s, by offering one major thing that vinyl couldn’t – portability. CDs are substantially smaller than records, and can be played on devices just about anywhere (cars and airplanes included).
And CDs haven’t remained the only threat to records. The introduction of digital media in the last decade, such as MP3s and iTunes, also competes in a portable and convenient manner that burns the record competition.
But many would say that music is not all about convenience or portability. It’s about an entire experience and not to sell vinyl records for cash any more. And loyal record fans have a love for vinyl that is not threatened by the latest fad or trend in musical devices. The true discophile claims records have an endearing quality that makes them real and relatable. It’s this love, respect, and admiration between musical device and listener that keeps bringing records back.
As one record fan says, “There is a certain earthy quality to vinyl that simply cannot be duplicated in any other media.”
Another discophile refers to this raw, earthy quality as “the snaps, crackles, and pops” of records.
The sound quality on digital media just can’t compete with records. Some call digital media the “death of fidelity” and “the extinction of audio quality.”
Future Still Looks Bright and Don’t Sell Vinyl Records for Cash
In spite of the posing threats of technological advancements in music – including the convenience of online music stores – the future of records looks positive. Records have worked their way back to the top, making a comeback like no other (except maybe Michael Jackson). The evidence is in the numbers. The Rolling Stone Magazine article, “Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel Help Vinyl Sales Almost Double In 2008,” reported just that – that record sales almost doubled from 2007 to 2008.
To further purport the comeback of records, independent record stores are thriving everywhere. There are several in San Francisco, CA, including Groove Merchant Records and Amoeba Music on Haight Street.
There are also websites, such as Record Store Day, which are entirely devoted to bringing attention, love, and praise to independent record stores across the nation.
The vibe of a record store, where clerks are probably paid in vinyl, is not something you’ll find at your neighborhood download store. And it’s precisely this groovy, cultural vibration that placed records back at the top of the music listening device charts. So, never ever sell vinyl records for cash.
The Rebirth of Vinyl Records
The age of the LP may be thought extinct, but even in the 21st century, these seemingly bulky brutes are still a popular means of listening to music, and in fact seem to be making a comeback. For younger generations, vinyl has not become an archaeological wonder sitting on parents’ shelves, but a point of interest and the start of a new cult of vinyl collecting.
One of the relatively new social networking sites, Tumblr, features a popular group known as vinylsunday. This community invites Tumblr users, once a week, to post a picture of some of their vinyl collection, including favorite albums, new finds, 45s, everything they own of a particular artist, etc. Most of the users you’ll spot in the photos are quite young, under the age of twenty-five, and boasting of their newly acquired Simon and Garfunkel album.
Why the continuing appeal of a music format that is hardly in-sync with the “smaller, quicker, clearer” attitude of the current media market? At least part of this phenomenon should be attributed to the continuing success of iconic “older” music acts, such as the Who, who recently performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, or the Rolling Stones, who still make enormous profits when touring. The cross-generational fan-base of such bands opens the doors for new generations to develop an interest in how their parents listened to the same music.
There is also the ongoing appeal of “retro” in everything from fashion to home décor, and music is no exception. For one, vinyl record collections are an excellent talking point. And don’t forget the budding green market, which loves recycled goods. The website Eco Emporia offers a few products made from recycled vinyl records, such as coasters and bookends; several websites offer instructions on how to turn a vinyl record into a fully functional clock. Even when not listened to, vinyl can still find a niche in interior decoration.
One would also be wrong if to think that the manufacturing of vinyl died out circa 1990. For example, rising band Year Long Disaster—lead singer Daniel Davies is the son of Kinks founder Dave Davies, for those with classic interests—offers not only digital downloads and CD copies of their albums, but also LPs and 7” records. Many contemporary bands still have vinyl records pressed as collectible memorabilia, meant more for the purpose of collecting rather than playing.
But perhaps the greatest appeal of vinyl is the level of involvement the listener has with his or her music. The listener of a vinyl record has to be paying attention and know when to flip the record to the next side. The extra bit of manual effort put into playing and maintaining vinyl records creates a stronger personal connection to the music. And in the end it’s the music that should matter.
Want to Start a Vinyl Collection?
Checking out local flea markets, tag sales, and small music stores are great ways to find vinyl. There are also several popular websites where vinyl can be bought, such as Amazon.com and eBay.com. A turntable is also vital for the vinyl collector who loves their music “old school.” There are several brands to choose from, such as Sony, Technic, and Ion, so it is best to compare prices and customer reviews before making a final decision.
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