Monday, May 01, 2017

Back to vinyl?!?

Will we ever one day get back to vinyl when coming to listen to music? An interrogation, but most likely the expression of a wish that’s been around for quite some time, and even more nowadays, with the ongoing decrease of both CD’s and digital sales…
Of course, the good ol’ vinyl has accumulated many things pleading against it nowadays, like its intrinsic fragility as compared to a CD and even more an mp3. Its shipping and handling fees, equivalent to about 3 times its gross price when sent overseas. The ongoing rarity of turntables. Not to mention the impossibility to use it, be it in a car, or when walkin’ from a place to another like so many of us do on a daily basis. But it offers in comparison so many advantages that other media don’t, such as an undeniable quality sound reproduction with a warmth suffering no comparison, not to mention a visual aspect adding much to its aesthetic appeal (alongside credits to be compared to nowadays’s tags). All in all, as many things makin’ of it an artistic object (with some eventually seen as rare antiques, like the acetates and the limited editions) which CD’s never managed to be seen as, and mp3’s could never be…

“Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for…” (Taylor Swift)

“The equation facing the music business is now well understood: Sales of CD’s and digital music downloads are in what looks like a death spiral, while streaming music services are adding subscribers and increasing revenues but not yet profits”, wrote Quartz about a month ago, adding the fact that the progression of vinyl sales doesn’t only apply to the United States, but also United Kingdom with performances back to a level comparable as to what it was in 1997.
“You should know that you’re reading the opinion of an enthusiastic optimist: one of the few living souls in the music industry who still believes that the music industry is not dying … it’s just coming alive”, said seven-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift in a recent debate about the future of music business, as reported by The Guardian. And although she acknowledged the pressures buffeting the business, she argued  the answer was not – as some artists have done – to give away their music for nothing!!! “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.”
Instead, Swift called on artists to seek a new connection with fans, an “arrow through the heart” poignancy that would overcome the collapse of the old revenue models. “In my opinion, the value of an album is, and will continue to be, based on the amount of heart and soul an artist has bled into a body of work, and the financial value that artists (and their labels) place on their music when it goes out into the marketplace.” As many things which countless people, be they producers, DJ’s, indie label execs, have obviously not taken into enough, if not total consideration for years. This – in addition to their global unability to communicate –  being for much on their  lack of notoriety (and therefore image) and the poorness of their music sales which they try to bypass while always putting out more or more music that doesn’t get the necessary time to be identified…

Infographic: The LP is Back! | Statista
More statistics to be found at Statista

“More broadly, the vinyl boom can be seen as yet another manifestation of the societal fetishization of all things “vintage” and analog, which is pretty clearly a response to digitization, corporitization, globalization, and probably some other izations I’m not thinking of right now”, explains Will Oremus on Slate. “Within the music industry, vinyl’s renaissance is also tied to notions of “the album” as a cohesive artistic statement, usually by an actual band. Although 2013’s top vinyl record belonged to Daft Punk, three out of every four LPs sold were rock albums, Billboard observes. And about 65 percent were sold at independent music stores.”
Fetishization process as a response to nowadays’s context? But not only, simply because of music being basically an art, with the latter to find its representation via a form and therefore an object, just like literature, painting, sculpture, with the addition of an extra dose of fetichizm that itself would find its manifestation in the attitude of the collectors. eBay being a good illustration to this, but also the no less good ol’ record shops before whereas people could socialize in a real way. Will they ever resurface in any significant way? That’s another story to be written!

 

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4 Comments on Back to vinyl?!?

  1. Once more Fred you hit the nail on the head. We need your voice on a Mega-phone addressing these contemporary music issues with reason, facts,logic and above all an un-apologetically and un-abashed passion for the art. Bravo!!

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