It sounds better. It has more warmth. Life is full of surface noise. The artwork is better. It is how music should be heard!
Those are the arguments usually made by people who collect vinyl. The first two are hard to prove. Yes, life is full of surface noise but sometimes that noise is annoying. Of course, vinyl artwork is better…you can actually see it. To get to the point of this article, it is how I prefer to listen to music.
I just started collecting vinyl last Record Store Day. I started collecting vinyl to listen to it. I do not see the point in collecting a vinyl LP that I will not ever play. I will be collecting many records that I already own digitally or could easily find on Spotify.
So why collect vinyl?
The best answer I have is that I just enjoy it. Often when I listen to digital music, which is the way I listen to most music, I am doing something else. I am working, cleaning, studying, or reading. When I listen to vinyl that is usually all I am doing. I may be looking at the artwork, reading the liner notes, and studying the lyrics but that is still focusing on the music. I feel I am giving the attention to the music that it deserves. This also explains why I buy a lot of music I have already heard. A lot vinyl lovers hate on digital and subscriber services. To me they are invaluable as there is no way I would have heard Sufjan Stevens, The National, Vampire Weekend, or Deafheaven without it. Moreover, I would not be searching for their vinyl without it.
My goal is to buy mostly first releases. This will mean mostly used albums. I love to crate dig. Finding a near mint copy of Darkness on the Edge of Town between Andy Williams albums in Elegant Endeavors in Panama City, Florida gives me a thrill. The prize of my collection is “Heroes” by David Bowie that I found in the used area of The Mushroom in New Orleans. The look of jealousy by the clerk is probably what hooked me into collecting vinyl. I do buy some new vinyl, but those are usually by new artists. 180-gram vinyl is very expensive which means I need to be very judicious in what I buy. A reissue such as Closer by Joy Division is an exception to the rule.
What artists do I look for? Well, the Cure, the Replacements, and David Bowie are the first three I look for in both the new and used bins. However, if I find a good used copy of Led Zeppelin IV I will buy it.
In addition, because this can be quite addictive, I am on a tight budget. I am usually the kind of person that has buyer’s remorse over everything. Yet, with vinyl, it is slightly different. Almost every place that sells records is a small business. I have no problem helping them out.
So, if you follow this blog and we talk about an upcoming trip, let us know if you know of any good record stores in the area. If you are out an about in the New Orleans area and you see a stack of old records that look interesting, leave us a comment!