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Analog Revival Means Vinyl Will Outlive CD 800

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the cdrs-are-toast-next-thursday-anyway dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In the age of the iPod, an unlikely revival is taking place — kids are turning to 7" vinyl to get their kicks. Sales of 7" singles are apparently through the roof. Bands like the White Stripes are releasing thousands of new singles on the format, and record purchases have risen by over a million units in the last year — back to 1998 levels. NME told CNET: "it's very possible that the CD might become obsolete in an age of download music but the vinyl record will survive,". The article explains how indie kids are drawn to vinyl because "the tactile joy of owning a physical object that represents your attachment to a band is infinitely more enjoyable than entering a credit card number into iTunes.""
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Analog Revival Means Vinyl Will Outlive CD

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  • Sliders (Score:5, Funny)

    by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:39AM (#16145824) Journal
    Its all like a bad episode of Sliders.
    • Re:Sliders (Score:5, Funny)

      by dolson (634094) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:43AM (#16145853) Homepage Journal
      Was there a good episode of Sliders?
  • by Snarfangel (203258) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:39AM (#16145827) Homepage
    ...the wax cylinders on my Gramophone
  • by jcarkeys (925469) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:42AM (#16145839) Homepage
    ... from purchasing a CD?
    "the tactile joy of owning a physical object that represents your attachment to a band is infinitely more enjoyable than entering a credit card number into iTunes."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by brunascle (994197)

      How is that any different from purchasing a CD?

      i dont understand it either, but i know what they're talking about. the punk scene has had a fetish with vinyl since the beginning, and i dont understand why. but because certain albums are only released on vinyl, i had to get a turntable. and, i have to say, there is an inexplicable feeling that comes from the ownership of a vinyl record, rather than a cd.

      it probably has something to do with an elitist attitude.

      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        it probably has something to do with an elitist attitude.

        Naturally you need a valve amp to plug your turntable into, and hand-wound speakers to make the sound.

      • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot DOT kadin AT xoxy DOT net> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:52AM (#16145949) Homepage Journal
        there is an inexplicable feeling that comes from the ownership of a vinyl record, rather than a cd.

        It's the smell.

        (sniffs record) Sweet, sweet acetate...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rishistar (662278)

          Its the visuals I get nostalgic for - the artwork on CD's feels really bleh after having grown up with nice big record sleeves to hold. For instance owning both formats of Led Zeppelin albums - I prefer looking at the album cover on the LP's but the CD's are what I'd play. Having said that I still love the artwork on my own bands CD [karmadillo.net] ;-)

          My choice would be to have CD's delivered in LP sized cardboard album sleeves - mine all go into a big folder wallet anyway.

      • by NekoXP (67564)
        > it probably has something to do with an elitist attitude.

        Or some kind of toxic fumes coming off them? :D
      • by miskatonic alumnus (668722) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @11:17AM (#16146193)
        One thing that's different is the size. The cover art is larger and the lyrics/credits are easier to read.

        A larger package also permits the inclusion of more goodies. How many of you remember the old Alice Cooper album "School's Out" that looked like a school desk? In the first few printings, the sleeve hinged open to reveal a picture of pencils, erasers, etc. It also had fold-out legs, and the record itself had a pair of panties stretched over it.

        You cannot get that kind of coolness from a CD and a jewel box.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Nos. (179609)
      Well, you get your music on a medium that is less portable, bulkier, and is arguably easier to damage. Don't you see the benefits?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GreyPoopon (411036)
      ... from purchasing a CD?
      I would guess it's cheaper. The 7-inch vinyls are singles. And it just goes to show that nothing has changed. People want to buy songs individually for $1 or $2 rather than paying $15 or $20 for a whole album with only one or two songs they like. Start distributing singles in ultra-cheap but modern media format that works in most players and systems, and I'll bet you'll see people gravitate towards that instead of the vinyls.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dolson (634094)
      Well, vinyl doesn't have DRM, and I don't see how it could possibly. I would welcome a return to vinyl, personally, although I think that this article is stupid, as you have certainly pointed out... That is not a reason to buy vinyl at all. People just do what other people do, and this all started with one kid showing his friends his grandparents' record player, and then they started buying it up. And everyone followed suit because people do that kind of thing. That's my theory.
      • by russ1337 (938915)
        Well, vinyl doesn't have DRM, and I don't see how it could possibly.
        Vinyl IS DRM. Its a pain in the arse to rip, it'll only rip at 1x speed, you cannot get the computer to automatically fill in the meta data... and the act of ripping it actually degrades the quality of the audio! (unless you have a laser record player).

        This makes me think the record companies are behind this promotion of vinyl!
        • by miyako (632510)
          well, there was an article posted on slashdot a couple of years ago about ripping vinyl with a scanner [huji.ac.il]. I'm sure a team of determined hackers could refine the technology so that it would be easily usable.
          Of course then they would outlaw cameras and scanners as "circumvention devices".
      • by Yvan256 (722131)
        Well, vinyl doesn't have DRM, and I don't see how it could possibly. I would welcome a return to vinyl, personally [...]
        A real Red Book audio CD doesn't have any DRM either. Depending on the DRM used, it can even break the Red Book specs and result in a "fake" audio CD.

        I, for one, don't want vinyl. How the hell am I supposed to rip that to put on my computer and iPods?! Sampling? With all the resulting noise? No thanks!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by REBloomfield (550182)
      It's not, but a pretty coloured 7" or awesome artwork on a 12" picture disc is much much more interesting that just the shiny side of a CD..... Even the covers are better, Iron Maiden artwork was not meant to be squeezed onto a CD cover....
    • by soft_guy (534437)
      Vinyl has certain quirks to it that CDs don't have. The packaing is different from record to record. There is enough room for things like liner notes.

      When I was a teen, I collected vinyl mostly from Indie punk bands. I don't anymore, but I still have my collection. I was very surprised that my daughter (who is eleven going on twenty) is actually very into it and thinks those records are much cooler than CDs.
    • Vinyls don't rootkit your PC. Plus you can "scratch" them.
    • by Pinky3 (22411)
      ... from purchasing a CD?

      1) Because you don't have to buy the whole album

      2) It is cheaper

      3) You put the needle on the record yourself (try that with a cd)

      4) You can watch the record spin (possible with some cd turntables, but not most players)

      5) Profit!
    • by thelost (808451) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @11:00AM (#16146022) Journal
      I live in a City of Vinyl, Bristol in the UK. The reason that vinyl is prevalent here is two-fold. Firstly we have a massive tradition of DJs in Bristol. Secondly we have a massive tradition of good music and people who are passionate about it.

      Passionate music lovers do enjoy having a physical object that represents a link between them and the band they love. More than that there is a massive amount of street cred in owning and listening to vinyl, it's just cool. Also, a great many people feel that Vinyl just sounds better than CD. Finally, people enjoy the size of the cover art. Cover art died with the CD, a great many people believe that. The revival of Vinyl means the potential of new and great cover art.

      Buying vinyl is massively different from buying a CD.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        >Firstly we have a massive tradition of DJs
        That creates such wierd images in my head. An almost Python like sketch of DJs wandering around the town centre in funny hats and floppy tops with a 12inch box in one hand and a portable record deck in the other, pubs full of people drinking a pint with one hand and scratching with the other (with a record, not scratching their bodies), looking at old books of Victorians grinning maniacally over a pair of wax cyclinder mixing two music hall hits together. You
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrbooze (49713)

        Passionate music lovers do enjoy having a physical object that represents a link between them and the band they love. More than that there is a massive amount of street cred in owning and listening to vinyl, it's just cool.

        The only way these statements could have less credibility is if they mentioned dilithium crystals. I'm a very passionate music lover. That means I love the *music*, not psycho-babble about physical attachments or "having street cred".

        Seriously, if concerns over "Street cred" ever enter

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gryffin (86893)

          The only way these statements could have less credibility is if they mentioned dilithium crystals. I'm a very passionate music lover. That means I love the *music*, not psycho-babble about physical attachments or "having street cred".

          Seriously, if concerns over "Street cred" ever enter your mind for any reason, you are a poser, pure and simple.

          Ever heard of "shared culture"?

          Maybe for you, the concept of "music" begins and ends with the actual audio itself. But to a lot of other people it also includes

    • by Silver Sloth (770927) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @11:13AM (#16146154)
      You can't roll joints on the back of a CD - mind you, you can't snort coke off an album cover so maybe it depends on your drig of choice.
  • by heinousjay (683506) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:42AM (#16145840) Journal
    The stupidity of consumers is directly proportional to the perceived cool factor of the product.
  • Easy.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse (527527) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:43AM (#16145852) Homepage
    You release albums as individual cartridges for portable players... it gives you a tactile "thing" with a label, contains mp3's in a generic format, is in a durable case .. can even contain games and whatnot. The ultimate packaging. I still have sega carts I can look at and remember the hours of fun playing Sonic, or Toe-Jam and Earl (panic on funkatron)...

    Even better, you release "blanks" EPROMs that can be burned once (or maybe twice - in case of an error) to integrate with all the online purchasing. (print the label too)
    • You release albums as individual cartridges for portable players

      Replacing the flash memory in portable hardware MP3 players with tangible ROM cartridges containing albums is about as convenient as using a MiniDisc player. It takes away the sole advantage of these MP3 players in the first place - the promise of letting you take your whole CD collection (not to mention a fair few audiobooks, games, TV shows and films) with you wherever you go. If you had to bring a few dozen cartridges with your player, y

    • This was attempted.

      Back in the heady days of the late 1990s, I had one of the first MP3 players among my group of friends. It was a thing called the Pontis MPlayer3 [macnn.com], and used MultiMediaCards for storage.

      The two advertised methods for acquiring music were either ripping it on your computer and downloading it to the device (via a serial port -- oh, the pain), or buying albums on pre-flashed, read-only MultiMediaCards. I never saw any in stores, and the format seems to have gone the way of the dodo now, but at
  • by spookymonster (238226) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:43AM (#16145854)
    Hey, remember back in the '90s, when you thought vinyl was dead? Well, we're selling just as many now as we did then! Hoopla, Janet!
  • The latest White Stripes' single, The Denial Twist, was helped into the Top 10 by 7-inch vinyl sales -- the band sold 5,500 singles in the format.

    5,500 seems pretty tiny in the grand scheme of things. It must be that CD sales are so low that just a handful of singles can make a difference. Everyone else is just downloading the songs from their favorite torrent site and putting it on their iPod.

    Will only collectors buy music in the future?
  • It has less to do with music and more to do with trendiness. Along with the sales of these records, we're seeing an increase in sales in black low-top Converse All-Stars, super small tight jeans, extra-small black t-shirts, studded belts, and thick black plastic rimmed glasses. ;)
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:44AM (#16145871) Homepage Journal
    One thing I've missed with CDs is the smaller form factor has led to less inspired covers. Less Detail. Fewer painted covers. It's an art that faded away without nearly enough notice. Replacing cover art is most cases are vanity portraits of the artist or band, with poor photoshop work to tie into a marketing theme.

    If vinyl makes a comeback, I hope new talent following the footsteop of Roger Dean take up this opportunity.
  • by Speare (84249)

    So when will DRM-infected phonographs be released, to thwart all those filthy vinyl-ripping pirate scum? It's darned well impossible to burn a BOOT.INI file on those discs, and the macrovision-style distortion versions just don't seem to sell to anyone who looks sober.

    Oh, and where do you get those little three-legged plastic adapters that convert a vinyl single spindle to a vinyl long-play spindle? Talk about your analog hole!

    • by ettlz (639203)
      DRM &mdash "D" for "digital", init? No-one's invented ARM yet. Might not be far off, though.
  • "the tactile joy of owning a physical object that represents your attachment to a band is infinitely more enjoyable than entering a credit card number into iTunes."

    annnnnnnd a CD is not a physical object that represents your attachment? Honestly this is nothing new, records come and go with the croud. Grunge fans will remember how many of those albums where released on CD and record, I actually own Nevermind and the Rear View Mirror single myself. But then they faded away. This is nothing more than a revi

  • Since this is from a UK news source, let's just assume they have it in for the iPod. UK publications do, admit it. Whenever I open the Guardian / Times / Telegraph / etc I see yet another PR-planted story about the downfall of the iPod and iTunes.

    It seems to me that the return to records really reflects the lack of excitement of redbook audio CDs as well as the onslaught of silly new disc-based media.

    I **think** I've gone through something similar with my photography. I was there at the start of the dig

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zoeblade (600058)

      It seems to me that the return to records really reflects the lack of excitement of redbook audio CDs as well as the onslaught of silly new disc-based media.

      It is possible people are harking back to the olden days when music they bought would actually play on their hi-fi. Redbook CDs are also flawless in this respect, but I suspect the average person on the street doesn't realise that DRM encumbered CDs aren't actually real CDs at all, and therefore the redbook CD format isn't actually to blame at all.

  • by misleb (129952)
    I have some DJ friends who buy vinyl, but I thought that was merely a practical thing... the only way they can effectively syncronize songs in real-time and all that. I had no idea that lots of other people were buying vinyl because it is cool. I guess I need to get out more.

    -matthew
  • Analog[u][e] (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crazyjeremy (857410) * on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:47AM (#16145898) Homepage Journal
    Absolutely insane. This isn't a comparison of apples to apples. The reason people want the vinyl has nothing to do with Analog[u][e] verses digital. It's just a "cool thing to do at the time". It's in now, but like all fads, it will go out again soon. We just live in a soceity big enough that whatever you're into, there is probably a following of someone else who is into it. The novelty of the fad can catch like wildfire, but in the end the only reason people will stay with a technology is because of ease of use, necessity or monetary gain. Vinyl isn't easier to use. It's harder to back up digitally and there simply aren't enough people big enough to carry around the vinyl record changer ipod. Thus, there's not enough long term money in this fad.
    NME's Alex Needham is championing the format to supersede CD. "I think it's very possible that the CD might become obsolete in an age of download music but the vinyl record will survive,"
    The format has already been "championed" then IT was superceded. I'll keep my cd's at home, then carry one digital music device that holds everything. Leave the vinyl for the novel enthusiasts. They will have their fun. Soon enough even they will start buying cd's, dvd audio, or whatever else comes around the block that's better.
  • by spyrochaete (707033) <spyrochaete.hyppy@zapto@org> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:48AM (#16145911) Homepage Journal
    Vinyl has already outlived 8-tracks and cassettes. Why is it surprising that it will outlive CD?
  • Wow, back to 1998 levels! ... which was what? 1,000 copies sold? These are novelties. And they are sold in such small numbers that a popular release by 1 band could easily throw the sales stats way off. How many of these kids actually even have turntables to play them on? I'll be impressed when they go back to 1977 levels and the zombie Bee Gees release a new double live album in a gatefold cover.
  • near me is a comic book/music store. they have tons of used vinyl records and used CDs. i typically buy the records and rarely buy the used CDs. but why buy led zeppelin II on CD for $15 when you can get the record for $3 and then buy 4 other records.
    • Used CDs I can understand ... but used vinyl?

      That seems like buying somebody's used underwear or something. It's a consumable product. Any given record can only be played a certain number of times before it's worn out. Each time you put the stylus through the groove, it destroys a little of the information that's there.

      With a CD, it either plays or it doesn't. Provided that there aren't any scratches or fingerprints or other problems with the disc, the 1,000th play will sound exactly the same as the first.
  • It makes sense to me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by waif69 (322360)
    A friend of mine was looking at a USB turntable just the other day. As he was discussing it with me, I was pondering the archival potential of CDs as compared to records. IMAO, I was thinking that vinyl would last longer than the pits in a CD.
  • Their opinions... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by M0bius (26596) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:50AM (#16145919)
    Their opinions will change the momment they want to move out of their parent's house and have to carry boxes of vinyl up any number of flights of stairs.
  • WTF is an "indie kid?" (I'm thinking this is a marketing term for high schooler with too much of his parents' money in his pocket, but let me know.)
  • How delightful that a new generation is discovering the joy of 7-inch.

    Couldn't have said it much better myself.
  • Copyright worries? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @10:55AM (#16145964) Homepage
    See? Those RIAA people should have known that people still want to buy and own their media. The fact that MP3s are out there and are being passed about liberally is irrelevant to the fact that people want to buy and own. The reason for MP3 sharing, in my opinion, is partly convenience and partly to address the problem of scarcity and availability.

    It's also nice to hear that the indy crowd is growing in force. It is about the only way, shy of legislation, to put the power back into the hands of the artists.
  • This pleases me mightily, since I've been a fan of vinyl for several years now. (I'm 19, so when I started buying music CD sales were well and truly eclipsing the good old 45s) There's something special about vinyl that you don't get with digital media, or even CDs - something about gently lowering the stylus, hearing the opening crackles before settling down to listen. Even the size of the medium's part of the pleasure - you actually feel you own something, especially with an LP or a 12" single. Plus, the
  • it's very possible that the CD might become obsolete in an age of download music

    Well, let me just bust out the Motorola and install it in my new car... or how about I install a record player on my PC so I can load the new EQ2 expansion pack?

    What is missing, from a mostly technical aspect, is that CDs have the advantage of being a larger "platform" simply because of it's versatility in the types of data it can contain and the number of different gadgets that will play CDs. Not even to mention that I can c
  • I have about 50K plus mp3s, but i still buy alot of music.

    Local distros sell 7" singles for about 3 to 4 euros and full records for 9.

    A 7" has about 5 to 6 songs on it. Not only is this cheaper than Itunes, i also get to OWN my music + artwork, lyrics or coloured vynil presses.

    It's alot more bang for buck and I really enjoy taking some occaisional time off to sit down, put on a record and listen to some sweet tunes.
  • by Churla (936633) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @11:00AM (#16146019)
    You mean they're enjoying the concept of OWNING music they like. Dude.. You just can't do that, the music wants to be free!!! FREE I TELL YOU!!!..

    Oh... um... wait... I just got a memo from the RIAA, they say that they had dinner with "Music" last night and after a few drinks Music agreed that it would much rather simply be rented.

    Can we put something in vynil records that will make them dissolve after 30 or 60 days?
  • What I miss about vinyl is the ritual surrounding it.

    There's this whole process of "playing a record" that simply doesn't happen when playing a digital file. There's the special way of opening the cover and sliding the platter out into trained fingers that touch only the edges of the disk, the optional puff of air to dislodge any dust from the surface and the trained flip or two to choose a side before carefully placing a tiny diamond in the first groove to release the sound.

    A record, too, has a limited nu
  • long live the 7" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @11:23AM (#16146239)
    As someone who has about 600 7"s, I can completely understand the reasoning behind this (although it's a bit hard to explain). For one thing, a 7" can typically only hold 2-4 songs, which means that the band putting it out usually needs to ensure that the songs that are committed to vinyl are their better ones (this usually excludes major acts releasing 7" singles for the "cred" that comes with it). Also, they usually only cost about 3 or 4 bucks (it's gone up in recent years though), which means that it's a very small investment to make to find out about new bands. Finally, as others have mentioned, there's the tactile aspect to the whole thing. A 7" has a decent sized sleeve that can contain a fair bit of information. It can easily be a 7"x14" folded double-sided cardstock with tons of notes, scribbles, drawings, etc, and it can easily include any number of inserts. I really don't think the 7" is going anywhere among certain types of fans.
  • by GWBasic (900357) <slashdotNO@SPAMandrewrondeau.com> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @01:42PM (#16147356) Homepage

    Something to consider: Vinyl can be read by archeologists; by looking at the groove under a microscope, they can infer that it's sound. CDs use a complex error correction algorithm that will take years to reverse engineer, and decoding an MP3 off of a hard drive will be even more difficult.

    For more information, I've written an extensive study of the merits and drawbacks of vinyl: http://www.andrewrondeau.com/Writings/My%20Love-Ha te%20Relationship%20With%20Vinyl%20-%20Or%20-%20Wh y%20We%20Should%20Keep%20Making%20Vinyl.html [andrewrondeau.com]

    From my article about its limits:

    1. Vinyl does a decent job at carrying two channels with proper mixing, but as the format war in the 1970s over quadraphonic audio on LP demonstrated, it doesn't carry much more. Many people, including myself, find that music in surround is much more natural and real then traditional stereo. Digital, on the other hand, can discretely carry as many channels as possible. (I've heard all the arguments against surround-sound and will only offer one counter-argument. Listen to a good concert, and try to recreate the experience with traditional stereo. You can't.)
    2. During a school project investigating ski-base wear, I learned that all material surfaces, no matter how smooth, are rough and random at some scale. This point is where vinyl, no matter how good of a manufacturing process is used, cannot hold a high frequency or soft note. I do not know if anyone has performed any research into determining where this point is on vinyl. How can vinyl record "everything between the samples" if even it has a limited resolution? Once digital audio has a sampling rate and bit density that exceeds vinyl's resolution, any double-blind test will show digital's superiority. (Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if DVD-Audio and SACD do exceed the physical limitations of most vinyl used in record manufacturing.)
    3. The size and shape of the cutting lathe causes sounds to be clipped off, although they may conceivably be written onto a record. Even if additional sound "between the samples" makes it onto the record, it's too small to be picked up by the needle and will never make it out of the speakers.

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