Are Records Still Relevant?

Records were the staple of music in the world for the best part of the 20th century. Almost everyone you knew had a record player and huge stacks of vinyls with all sorts of artists from Lulu to Rolling Stones and everything in between. Speak to any music fan born pre-80s and they would tell you that nothing compares to carefully taking the prized vinyl out of its sleeve and watching the needle of the record player slowly lowering until it hit the groove of the album.

Now if you’re a 90s kid or a millennial, then the chances are, your record collection is either cassette tapes (the 90’s kids version of the vinyl, who knows they could make a comeback), CDs or today’s most common form of music intake, digital steams and downloads. I know mine is a combination of the three. In this day and age, the convenience of the downloads means you can listen to a whole range of music on the go with your phone, limiting the amount of excess baggage you would have to carry (anyone else remember the days of carrying the Sony Walkman around with one of those little album wallets with tonnes of CDs inside?).

Vinyls seemed to have fallen out of favour with just 0.1% of record sales in 2007 being vinyl. With this serious decline in sales, there seemed to be little hope of a revival of vinyl and for the dozens of record shops all over the world. However, in the same year as record sales hit that all time low, Record Store Day became a thing. It was a good ploy to reissue iconic records on new vinyls and also issue limited edition vinyls of records never before released in that format. The aims of this seemed to be to drum up some business for those stores that used to rely heavily on the record sales as well as to bring back the popularity of the vinyl.

Over the years that followed, vinyls have seen a surge in popularity, with all sorts of artists from the rock, indie and metal world returning to the beloved choice of listening from their youths. Even the pop world were getting in on the act, with even the likes of One Direction taking to vinyl for limited edition releases. Most alternative artists these days are offering versions of their albums on the LP format alongside the more common download and jewel-cased CD and youngsters are shunning the CDs and kicking back on the downloads to purchase the trendy-again vinyl. Whether the purchases are for the Instagram generation to jump on the popularity bandwagon or not, the rise in vinyl sales is showing that the younger generations are still appreciating the older ways of the world by bringing such a national treasure back to the forefront of modern music.