In the last month England and our friends the Americans seems to have been cloaked under a blanket of bizarre nostalgia for all things eighties and nineties. Like many other young people I am missing generations I never saw thanks to the second series of the hit show Stranger Things, the remake of IT, and Freaks and Geeks being added to Netflix. However it’s not just behind the camera that this trend is appearing – the way music is being consumed is being rebooted too (or should I say reverted?).
Sales of vinyl reached the highest in 25 years in 2016 with 3.2 million records being sold, a rise of 53% on the previous year. It’s not just oldies buying tangible music either teenagers too seem to enjoy collecting records. But what has brought on this sudden obsession?
The last couple years has brought the passing of many musical geniuses such as Prince, Bowie, Chuck Berry, George Michael along with other greats and undoubtedly this has increased vinyl sales as fans have rushed to appreciate their lives. This was the case last year when Bowie fans everywhere (me included) mourned by heading to their local record stores to buy all the Bowie records they could get their mitts on making Blackstar after his tragic death in January making it the top selling record.
However as always with young people it seems that the most influential factor is the aesthetic vinyl has. Many prefer to have a physical copy of their favourite albums rather than having to stream from sites like Spotify or Soundcloud which makes owning a record almost like owning a piece of artwork. I’ll admit it is a gorgeous feeling to be able to share music with your friends by swapping records or by gathering around a turntable together, more social, more intimate, even if it would be easier to use YouTube. Arguably even the effort heightens the experience making the audience pay more attention to what they’re hearing by having to change the side and replace the needle.
Record shopping isn’t all perks though I like many others have found out it can take a hefty toll on your saving account and your bedroom will seem titchy when records are spilling out from boxes. All in all though the experience is worth it and it’s no wonder that so many people have cottoned on that vinyl is the best way to listen to music. If you haven’t yet entered into the wonderful world of vinyl consider asking Santa for a turntable this Christmas and embrace the nostalgia.