Ever since I started buying vinyl in my late teens I’ve been hooked. When asked why I love collecting records I can almost never give a straightforward answer, but please allow me to at least try.
The unique sonic characteristics are by far the most alluring aspect of records. When comparing the digitised versions of albums to their vinyl copies the difference is as a clear as night and day. For some it’s the soothing crackling noise, and for others it’s the so called “warmth” of vinyl, but for me it’s anything and everything to do with the distinct sound of a record.
Album covers are also somewhat of a lost art when it comes to digital only releases. Now that’s not to say that modern day musicians are no longer offering artwork alongside their music, but that simply stated; a jpeg image just doesn’t evoke the same emotion as a physical and tangible album cover. Reading a band’s press release on their website, for me at least, is just not the same as reading a carefully curated series of stories in an LP’s sleeve notes.
So far all of the points covered could easily be rebuffed by pointing out that digital has an equivalent. That opposing view would be valid but that’s besides the point. All of the different aspects of a vinyl LP come together to create a unique auditory, visual and overall aesthetic sensory experience in way that the digital platforms can only hope to imitate.
The final point that makes record collecting so alluring and magical for me is the hunt. I spent countless days and money in my late teens and early twenties building up my collection. Most of my records were sourced from darkly lit and shady looking rooms passing for record stores. But whenever I came home from one of my record hunting adventures it was always with a keen sense of accomplishment, one that I’ve never achieved from downloading WAV files or streaming a new release in mere ‘seconds.’