I got more feedback on my recent post about the vinyl revival than for anything else I’ve written.
Some of these were useful correctives to my prose style (“reads like it was written with a goatee dipped in ink”); others were a bit more constructively engaged with the content and helped me clarify and nuance what I was trying to say.
The main point is this:
The current fetish for physical – including Record Store Day specifically and the vinyl revival more generally – is a digital phenomenon. Let’s not fool ourselves otherwise.
More waffle below.
Last week Jack White reached number one in the US album charts with Lazaretto, which sold forty thousand vinyl LP copies in its first week, and comes replete with format gimmicks like three-speed play and holograms.
Record Store Day is growing every year and Cassette Store Day is returning for a second year this year. The trend for record shop closures is starting to buck.
As digital streaming services gain legitimacy as much as they court controversy, every week there is yet another article about the joys of physical music and the Guardian are currently crowd-sourcing photos of people’s record collections.
This weekend there is a two day conference on the materiality of music in the digital age at Sussex University.
Conversations about physical media are thriving in the digital era – but is the ‘physical revival’ actually preventing the most interesting debates from getting through?