What's really causing the sudden rebound in vinyl? The easy answer is that fans just want something tangible, a physical memento that isn't iTunes or Spotify. But the more you dig into the vinyl resurgence, the harder it becomes to separate it from everything that's happening in digital. In fact, the incredible access and discovery that digital formats have enabled could be the very reason why vinyl is experiencing its little comeback. Digital music has created the resurgence in vinyl that we are seeing right now," Jennifer Freund, head of DoradoPkg, confidently told a group of vinyl-heads at SXSW this weekend. Bands want to have that connection with fans, they want that physical connection."
This industry grovels daily about things like monetization and royalties. But there's just an entirely different level of appetite in music right now, one that naturally bleeds into LPs. And oftentimes, the spark starts online with much larger scale. It used to be the guy running a fanzine that turned people onto vinyl," said Millar. Now the guy who's turning people onto vinyl is running a blog."
But wait: it gets even more intertwined. Because not only is vinyl an expansion beyond digital, but it often includes digitalin the form of inserts with download redemption codes. It's almost the deluxe version of digital," said Jay Millar of United Record Pressing. It's something the band can sign."
But let's not get carried awayyet. Freund reminded everyone that vinyl is still a tiny industry," and on the production side, this is still a very scrappy game. This panel of vinyl manufacturers was quite candid, and noted that almost all of their equipment is from the 70s or earlier. There's just not enough demand to merit the kind of wholesale investment in new equipment, and who knows if that will ever happen. There are no parts for these machines," Pete Lyman, owner of Infrasonic Sound Recording Co., candidly admitted. It's a challenge anytime we have an issue."
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