Vinyl or digital: which one is better?
Vinyl isn’t just background noise
by Allison Ackerman
The millennial generation is the generation that grew up with the evolution of the CD to MP3, MP3s to streaming apps. Millennials have not only experienced multiple new technologies in the music world but have also had the opportunity to grow up with vinyl records, thanks to influence from Generation X and the boomers.
With the myriad of music that’s illegally downloaded and streamed today, musical artists don’t make songs or album sales the same way anymore. Artists now depend on tours and selling albums or merchandise to help financially support their careers. Vinyl records can’t be pirated like an MP3 can. Vinyl helps give money to the artists that deserve it, while the patron receives not only a record but a 12-inch piece of art with a story engrained in the nicks and grooves of a vinyl.
In today’s instantaneous world, everything is at the tip of people’s fingers. People listen to music on their way to work, while exercising, while doing homework—literally anywhere. While that freedom of accessibility is beneficial, listening to music becomes too nonchalant, to the point of mindless futility, because of how accessible it has become.
Vinyl gives a refreshing spin back to slower moments, taking the listener into a simpler time. Playing a record is a conscious effort; it gives a listener a moment to take a second to just sit and simply take in the music rather than focusing on other things that may distract them. When the record stops, the listener must physically get up and flip it over. Touching the grooves is literally holding and touching the songs. With digital music, it’s so easy to switch from one artist to the next that the possibilities can be overwhelming.
Vinyl records include an experience. In such a fast-paced world, it’s rare to just be still and listen. That is what vinyl gives back.
Digital is more convenient
by Sarah McLaughlin
In the past few years, records have had their own renaissance, but is music actually better on vinyl?
When someone listens to vinyl they can expect to hear crackling in the music, making the music not sound as clear and crisp. But with digital music, everyone gets a clear sound. Digital music supports smaller artists and people who are trying to break through in the music business. Local bands often don’t have the luxury of putting their music out on vinyl when they first start out, as the process is expensive and often reserved for artists who already make a living off of their music. However, with digital music, any band can put their music on Spotify; this allows masses of people to be able to discover new and local artists.
When it comes to talking about the longevity of the two, digital music comes out on top because there is no chance of it suffering any physical damage. If someone has a vinyl record, it is bound to get scratched or even broken. This makes the sound either less clear or prone to skipping. Thus, the worth of digital music is greater due to its virtually undamageable qualities.
Today, people look for convenience in their everyday lives. Because digital music is always at the ready, it makes sense that digital music will sustain the future. With streaming services like Spotify, anyone can listen to music anywhere, at any time, to any artist that they want to. Since people can’t drag a record player around with them when they want to listen to music on a commute or in an office, it doesn’t make sense to limit a music collection solely to vinyl. With the ease that digital music brings, it makes sense that more people are ditching their vinyls.
Vinyl might give people a more authentic sound, but most people aren’t looking for that. They are looking for convenience and digital music gives people just that—the freedom of music at any time and right a their fingertips.