Senior Logan Steenbergen excitedly walks out of a record store with a new Radiohead album, A Moon Shaped Pool, in hand. When she arrives home, she places the spotless disc into her record player and adds the cover to her shelf of 30 other vinyl records. Steenbergen says vinyl is more organic and real than anything she hears from her earbuds.
According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, vinyl sales grew 260 percent from 2009 to 2016.
“Some artists started on vinyl and I think it’s the best way to listen if you want that authenticity in music,” Steenbergen said.
One factor in vinyl’s consistent use can be traced to the relationship between listeners and artists that develops through records, says William McInerney, Test Center Supervisor. McInerney explains that listening to vinyl allows any user to experience the music the way artists intended.
“I remember saving allowance money, walking to the record store and buying Beatles albums,” McInerney said. “I was so thrilled sitting in front of my record player, opening those albums, and listening to the music.”
Steenbergen became interested in vinyl because her dad collected vinyl records and shared his love of 80’s music with her. She says she wanted a more genuine way to listen to music that includes important messages, like her favorite album, Power, Corruption & Lies by New Order. According to Steenbergen, she began collecting records during the beginning of freshman year and buys albums from local retail stores or music festivals.
“There is an art to vinyl,” Steenbergen said. “Just like there’s an art to a playlist or mixtape. There isn’t [an art] to streaming music [online].”
Because almost everyone streams music online, people miss out on the vivid experience only attained by listening on a record player, says senior Joey Pauletto. He explains that on vinyl, the option to skip tracks is not available. Pauletto says this pushes a user to listen to the entire album, therefore truly appreciating each song like his favorite, Blonde by Frank Ocean.
“Overall, you are able to have such a physical, tangible connection with the music right in front of you,” Pauletto said.
Pauletto says his favorite part of using vinyl is the commitment associated with it.
“You get a different experience [with vinyl records],” Pauletto said.“Vinyl has better sound quality and you see an actual cover with artwork on it.”