The way people listen to music has changed dramatically in recent years. These days, music fans are far less likely to tune into a local radio station or visit a nearby record store to hear their favorite song.
Instead, today’s music consumption is mainly digital, with streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora leading the way. Last year, streaming accounted for 80% of the music industry’s revenue.
But despite the shift to digital music, there has also been an interesting resurgence in one old-school music format: vinyl records.
Demand for vinyl is increasing among younger music fans who are fascinated by record collecting for the same reasons that their parents and grandparents were: the warm sound quality and the pleasure of building a robust collection.
By any account, the revival of vinyl records is unexpected, considering that it only takes a few seconds and taps on a smartphone to access basically any song you’d want to hear.
However, it’s important to note that, records aren’t the primary way that most collectors listen to music. Instead, they are buying vinyl as a hobby. It’s more about the thrill of trying to track down a limited release or collect the entire discography of a particular artist.
With the increased interest in this physical music format, there’s also a community movement growing along with it. There have been increased calls to save local music shops, which have struggled with the explosion of digital music formats.
In 2008, Record Store Day was established for music lovers to “come together and celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities.”
In the years since, the celebration has expanded to every continent, except Antarctica. On Record Store Day, some artists put out exclusive releases, and fans flock to their local shops, often waiting in line to pick up a copy of their favorite band’s new release. At some record stores, musicians will perform a short set to celebrate the day.
If you’re interested in pursuing record collecting as a hobby, head to your closest record store and start digging. Don’t worry if you don’t see anything you like on your first visit. Shops are constantly stocking new records and buying back used albums to resell them, so try back again in a couple of weeks.
You can also check out your favorite band’s website and see if they have any physical albums for sale. Musicians recognize the demand for vinyl amongst their fans, and many groups are pressing records to sell in their merchandise stores.
Another place where you might find vintage vinyl is at second-hand stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Often, people who have been collecting for decades donate their records, which means you could score some rare finds.
For many people, record collecting is a fulfilling hobby. But it’s also brought together different generations, who bond over their mutual love of the warm sound of vinyl and the joy of curating a collection.
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