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For The Love Of Vinyl

Over the last several years Vinyl has reemerged on the scene. 

Like an aging rocker, vinyl is making a comeback. In the first half of this year the RIAA says sales reached $224m, so what's fueling this vinyl revival?

With screens taking over our lives, people's values are changing. Tired of the status quo people are investing in vinyl given the multi-sensory value it provides.

“Sitting in a room, alone, listening to a CD is to be lonely. Sitting in a room alone with an LP crackling away, or sitting next to the turntable listening to a song at a time via 7-inch single is enjoying the sublime state of solitude.” - Henry Rollins of Black Flag

The act of putting on an LP is relatively simple but the process can be meditative with its repetition. Digital is convenient, but analog music requires more elaborate, ritualized attention.

Musically, I'm engaged. I'm tuned-in. It's an interactive, involving listening experience where I'm leaning in, versus the more passive experience of an endless playlist. Music can fade into the background easily when we stream it or tune into a radio station. 

You're not always sure of the artist, or song as it plays on. No judgment, it's a lot to keep up with. We hear it and we can conveniently go on with our day. But are we really listening? We tune in and out, depending on the track.

When you take the time to put a record on, you're flooded with anticipation.  You hear it start to crackle. The show is about to start. Records are more than music, they are a tangible piece of history.

“I remember opening up my first vinyl and seeing the incredible artwork it had. There’s nothing like it. You also get that true gritty sound on vinyl that really makes a rock record sound great, which CDs can never achieve.” - Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe

On many album covers, you find timeless photography and bold graphic design.  What do Andy Warhol, Peter Max, Romare Bearden, Paula Scher, and Saul Bass, all have in common? They have all designed album covers. 

Many of the world's top designers have. Reid Miles’ cool graphics and typography for Blue Note in the ’50s, photographer Lee Friedlander’s distinctive portraits for Atlantic in the ’60s. Along with the musical performances packaged within, a record is a history you can hold.

The art continues even on the turntable. Open or remove your player's lid because some record labels have artwork that animates as the record plays and others with 3D holograms that rise up as it spins. 

Once I started to appreciate the whole record, not just the music, I got serious about their storage. They're moments of history that need to be respected and preserved. Storage and display are important and since what I was seeing on the market didn't quite fit my needs, I built my own record shelf.

Whether you've got a small curated collection of select vinyl you love or hundreds of records in need of a defined space, you need a way to keep them organized. You want to properly store your records for easy access, aesthetics, and protection. Style is important, but so is functionality. The type of listener you are will help determine the type of collection you’ll end up needing to plan storage around. Do you listen to music alone mostly or are you looking to entertain? 

Hosting listening parties, versus more intimate sessions, require different spatial commitments. If hosting, you're going to want a variety of albums and artists to appease various tastes and moods. 

An obsessive like myself has over 1,600 records, but I try to keep my collection limited to albums I enjoy start to finish. No skipping tracks. Just put it on the spindle and drop the needle. Gently!

For a smaller collection of just your favorites, there are a variety of ways to store and also display your vinyl. You can tuck them away in media cabinets, or present them on 'now playing' displays, bookshelves, wall displays, and hanging cabinets. 

Technology today can see digital format music uncompressed, as high-quality audio, so the whole argument of vinyl as superior to digital is not absolute.

I appreciate vinyl's imperfections and physicality. The pop and crackle of the needle on the record. The anticipation of the album's open. It's quite literally, a vibe. Pun intended! I also geek out on its simple sophistication. The music we hear is the sound of a needle vibrating in the groove. Marvelous.

I own vinyl for the experience. The music, the art, and, let’s not forget, the secret history of some of these objects. Many of the records in my collection have been around longer than I have and will be around long after.