The Resurgence of Vinyl Records

A vinyl record being played in a blue case

Physical goods are experiencing an incredibly unexpected resurgence. Although most are functionally obsolete, products of the past are making a comeback, from physical books to board games and more.

Vinyl records are one of the products that are regaining popularity, especially among younger crowds. It’s a mystery to many, so we’ve set out to determine the cause of the comeback.

Why Is Vinyl Making a Comeback?

  • Nostalgia: Music commentator Simon Reynolds dubbed it “retromania.” A lot of us call it nostalgia. Right now, new artists in the music industry are structuring their performances, style, and sound on classic acts, and old bands are coming back together permanently or for single performances. We tend to have enthusiasm for cultural trends, fashions and other paraphernalia that remind us of the past. Vinyl might be just another manifestation of this type of nostalgia — the digital streaming antithesis.
  • Experimentation: While many people believe in a linear path for progress, particularly innovation that can be sold to millions, the world tends to yearn for testing that type of movement. We’re constantly taking steps back into the past to find out whether we’re moving in the right direction or need to reevaluate, and the use of vinyl records might be another way we’re testing the waters. Are Spotify, iTunes and other programs sending the music industry in the right direction for us, or should we reconsider? 

  • Audio Quality: Artists and streaming services strive for audio perfection, and they have arguably followed this trend for decades, trying to improve upon the sound quality of their work with each release. As it turns out, people love the unclean sound of a vinyl record, often referred to as the “warmth” of its sound. It comes from the flaws in analog sound production, present from distortion. Despite being considered an imperfection in the past, this quality may drive record sales toward a continual increase. 
  • Tangibility: Music isn’t just about what you can hear — at least according to many listeners and vinyl fans. Being able to see, touch, hold and smell a vinyl record plays into the resurgence. With streaming, many users feel that music offers a disembodied connection. With vinyl records, you get the opening sleeve, the disc you must handle with care, the inner sleeve, the cover to pack the record away after using it and the feeling of displaying your collection for the world to see. 
  • Additional Artwork: The case and sleeves of a vinyl album allow musical artists to provide additional artwork in the form of visual design, which adds an extra dimension to the player-listener dynamic. Even CDs can’t properly convey the art to fans without diminishment due to their small size. For people who value the lyrics of the music they’re listening to — as most serious music fans do — being able to see the lyrics printed on the vinyl case and literally hold them enhances the experience.

Purchase or Trade in Records at Record Head

Are you a part of the vinyl record comeback? Looking for somewhere to trade in records or buy and sell LPs in Milwaukee? You’ve come to the right place.

At Record Head, we have a fun environment in our West Allis shop that will add to your experience as you sift through records to find the perfect additions to your collection. If you have questions or just want to talk all things music, you can bet on finding a friendly, knowledgeable team member to help. Contact us or visit our store location to find out for yourself!