Thursday, November 27, 2014

The LP record makes a comeback.

Remember these? They're baaaaaack!

Here's an interesting datum. The long assumed dead vinyl record from the Ancient Times when TV was in black and white and dinosaurs roamed the Earth sold one million albums in England this year.

In 2014 you'd be forgiven for thinking the music industry is all about online charts and digital downloads, but the latest figures released by the Official Charts Company reveal a corresponding boom in vinyl record sales which have reached an 18-year high.
More than one million records have been sold in the UK so far this year – a number which is expected to rise even further by the end of Christmas. We haven't bought that many since 1996, back when cassette tapes were still considered technologically advanced...
Sales have been driven primarily by the Arctic Monkeys (whose LP AM is the biggest selling vinyl of 2014), Jack White and Pink Floyd, with Oasis, Status Quo and David Bowie also contributing to the impressive figures.
The Ancient Vinyl  is still only 2% of the total UK music biz, but this is an unexpected major increase in the sales of a presumed dead technology. Vinyl is (slowly) gaining sales as regular popular music is losing sales.

Once upon a time I used to work with high fidelity speakers, and I learned then that CDs and other digital recording mediums can't come even close to the sound fidelity available on vinyl. Only two channels, but the frequency response and more importantly the dynamic range and signal to noise ratio possible with top end record players and diamond stylus phonograph cartridges is much higher than you get with even BluRay audio. MP3s sound like crap next to a vinly record played through a decent stereo, there's no comparison at all.

Add to this the habit of sound engineers to record things "loud", and you get sound like singers yelling into a pillow on your iPod. Its all kind of mushy and fuzzy, like it was being played through a sock.

Positive signs that people may be starting to give a rip how their music sounds.

The Phantom


WiFi Lunchbox Guy said...

I was in an HMV in downtown Toronto earlier this fall because reasons.

I expected to see some titles from the early 80's as records.
What I didn't expect was the dozen or so current releases, or the quality of USB-connected record players.

The Phantom said...

Greetings WiFi.

I can't see the point of a USB connected turntable. All its superior frequency response gets crushed by the A/D converter into a digital MP3 stream, so it's only good for putting your record onto a crappy iPod recording.

I've seen guys pay $50 just for the cable from the turntable to the pre-amp so they won't lose any signal. (Monster Cable has made an entire business out of exploiting the gullible consumers who don't understand electricity.)