Looks like the popularity of vinyl is continuing to rise. But I don’t know that there’s any evidence to support that vinyl is actually picking up any steam in the urban world. Not for DJs and not for casual listeners. I personally can’t remember the last time I saw a hip-hop DJ with anything except Serato and a laptop. And I don’t know that kids are really being turned on to vinyl to the point where it’s making them look for new hip-hop records on 12 inch. I think it’s other genres that are benefiting from the vinyl renaissance.
In her Time article, “Vinyl Gets Its Groove Back,” Kristina Dell writes,
“Like the comeback of Puma sneakers or vintage T shirts, vinyl’s resurgence has benefited from its retro-rock aura. Many young listeners discovered LPs after they rifled through their parents’ collections looking for oldies and found that they liked the warmer sound quality of records, the more elaborate album covers and liner notes that come with them, and the experience of putting one on and sharing it with friends, as opposed to plugging in some earbuds and listening alone… In October, Amazon.com introduced a vinyl-only store and increased its selection to 150,000 titles across 20 genres. Its biggest sellers? Alternative rock, followed by classic rock albums.”
So as the article indicates, it’s mostly the rock genres that are benefiting from this new trend of listening to records as opposed MP3s. I mean, could you really see someone pulling “Crank Dat” out of its sleeve, delicately wiping along the groove, and placing it gently on a turntable? A record in and of itself is just a more sensitive piece of media than a digital file. You act carelessly with it, it’ll scratch, break, or warp. You can break the needle on your turntable, or ruin the grooves in the record. A digital file, worst case, you delete the shit. Then you go download it again, for free of course.
If anything, I think the whole hipster retro trend that has been going in hip-hop for the past few years lends itself more to the comeback of tapes than records. I can see someone championing a classic boom box over a 1200 any day. If just for the simple fact that you can still buy a 1200, and some records, if you look hard enough. With tapes, that’s not so easy. And that makes them all the more cool, I guess.