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Rise of the 12 Inch (PAUSE!)

Wired Magazine published an article on it’s website today detailing the resurrection of vinyl in the wake of slumping CD sales.

The writer, Eliot Van Buskirk, states:

Pressing plants are ramping up production, but where is the demand coming from? Why do so many people still love vinyl, even though its bulky, analog nature is anathema to everything music is supposed to be these days? Records, the vinyl evangelists will tell you, provide more of a connection between fans and artists. And many of today’s music fans buy 180-gram vinyl LPs for home listening and MP3s for their portable devices.

I’d tend to agree with him and whoever he spoke to for this article. Just this past weekend I found myself storing away some crates of vinyl in a closet, and stopping to ask myself if I really needed all this shit? It was rhetorical question. Of course I need it. Even though I have a lot of the same songs and albums stored as mp3′s on a hard drive and in itunes, I still enjoy vibing out to records. And of course vinyl is better to sample from than mp3 or CD.

But to insinuate that vinyl is making a comeback? That it’s on the rise? Eh. I don’t know about that. I’m not sure if I can count on two hands how many hip-hop DJs I know who would trade in their Serato, Traktor Scratch, or Torq to start lugging around crates again. Yeah sure, vinyl sounds better than CDs and mp3s, but still, nothing beats convenience.

I get it though. Some people are die-hard music fans and audiophiles, and they want the best sounding shit possible for their home-listening experience. These are not DJs, but fans. Remember those? Ya’know, people who listen to music because they genuinely like it and not because they wanna be the first person to post it on a blog? Hip-hop sure needs a few more of those kind of people. Perhaps then the business of music will become profitable again. But alas, I digress.

I think the major labels could benefit from something the indies that the writer spoke to are doing:

Because these music fans also listen using portable players and computers, Matador and other labels include coupons in record packaging that can be used to download MP3 versions of the songs.

Maybe they already do this, what with all these ramped up versions of CDs that are on the market. I wouldn’t know because I myself stopped buying CDs back in 2000. Shame on me.

I pose the question to the readers though. If you knew you could buy an album on vinyl and get a free download of the mp3 version along with that, would you fork over the money for the vinyl or what?

-Paul Cantor

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