In January, 2012, the Wall Street Journal ran a story that stated the although CD sales were down five percent (and are down more than 50 percent from a decade ago), sales of LPs were up 36 percent in 2011! While downloading and listening to MP3s is definitely more convenient than purchasing other forms of audio, there are great reasons to join the increasing number of music lovers buying records, including the following four examples.
1. Vinyl Sounds Better
Records are analog recordings, while MP3s are digital recordings. Sound is by definition analog and a digital recording essentially takes a snapshot of the analog signals-meaning digital recordings are not capturing the complete sound wave. As you play a digital recording, your amplifier and speakers convert it to analog, which leads to distortion of the original audio. When you listen to a record, you're listening to a mirror of the original sound wave, so you're able to hear a richer, more accurate sound than you will ever be able to hear from an MP3.
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2. MP3s Aren't Tangible
Digital copies of music aren't real things you can hang on to and pass on to your kids. Computer technology advances so rapidly, we can't be sure we'll even be able to play MP3s in ten years-especially with so many companies already focusing on cloud-based streaming. And, with iTunes' and others' use of DRM (digital rights management), you basically only own a license for the music, not the music itself. If you own a record, you own the record forever and can do whatever you want with it. You also have access to the cover art and liner notes, tangible things that are, for many people, integral parts of enjoying an album.
3. You Can Hear Music Not Available in Other Formats
Musicians love records. Most of them grew up in the era before MP3s and spent many afternoons going to record stores, picking through the bins, discovering new genres, new bands, and new inspirations. Musicians also love the sound quality and longevity of records. Each year, thousands of independent record stores participate in Record Store Day, where artists offer up exclusive, limited-edition content specifically for the day. Musicians including Adele, Jack White, and Bob Dylan have participated in years past. (This year, Record Store Day will be April 21st!)
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4. You'll Get a Digital Copy Free!
These days, if you buy a record, it will most likely come with a code that allows you to download the album free. Not only will you get to enjoy the cover art and pleasure of owning an actual, physical item, you get the convenience of the digital copy as well-for no more money than buying the album from iTunes or Amazon in the first place!
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