Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I didn't attend the South By Southwest convention, but apparently there was a panel about vinyl making a return.

Time recently did a feature on the possible comeback of vinyl. It's interesting to me that, as technology improved, sound quality decreased. CDs don't sound as good as LPs (although they do sound better than tapes), and MP3s don't sound as good as CDs. But when CDs took over, record labels made hundreds of millions of dollars, selling people music they already had in a different format. The first wave of CD reissues of music from the vinyl and cassette eras were done so hastily, and not well mastered, which led to "remastered" versions of the same albums (often with extra tracks and expanded liner notes). Then, once people realized they could start taking the music for free from napster or limewire or whatever, they felt justified in doing so.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how far the record labels take the vinyl thing. Of the record stores that remain, probably few or none will be able to re-equip thier stores for vinyl. And that's presuming that the public would buy into vinyl in 2008 (which would, in most cases, require the purchase of not just a turntable, but a rack stereo to play it through).

Not to mention that reissuing music recorded over the past decade and a half would be pretty useless: if something was recorded digitally, you can't make it sound better just by putting it on an analog format (vinyl). And I wonder what they're thinking of charging for LPs: $17.99?

Still, I'd love the chance to get some good sounding unscratched records of stuff originally recorded in analog - but only for a sane price.

1 comment:

Eli said...

I think it has a lot to do with CDs being mastered for loudness, which they can't do with vinyl without cutting through a previous groove on the platter. In that sense, and due to that limitation, vinyl is better. In the rice krispies sense, it's not.