Curtis Bucher

This piece appears unedited from a free choice writing essay I was assigned in 11th grade IB English
Written Dec 10th 2018

Music Dies With Vinyl

You are probably going to peg me as some arrogant douchebag for saying this, but I truly enjoy listening to vinyl records more than streaming. I could state some bullshit about fidelity and analog sound, but honestly, vinyl is just a more engaging, tactile medium than digital, and I’m prepared to defend that assertion.

In the 21st century, it seems that many of our social trends are dictated by 20th century nostalgia. Anyone with fifty dollars in their pocket and some of grandma’s old records in the closet decides to head down to Urban Outfitters to buy themselves one of those cheap Crosley record players. I’ll be the first to admit it, I was one of those socially susceptible masses. However, while most people simply snapped their insta pic of the turntable, prompt to forget about it along with that “trendy” Polaroid camera, I fell in love with my record player! I mean, it sounded about as shitty as you’d expect from some watered down piece of 150 year old tech sold at a clothing store, but there just was something magical about hearing Billy Joel’s Piano Man echo from the speakers with that gritty, analog sound. This is the crux of my argument. Sure it's more expensive, less convenient, harder to use and harder to find than digital, but vinyl is awesome.

When discussing my record collection with my friends, the response is always the same. “Man have you ever heard of spotify? You can listen to all these songs on your phone!”. For all you digital guys out there, I want to make it abundantly clear that I haven’t been living under a rock for 40 years, and that I have, in fact, heard of spotify. With the digital age, music has become all about convenience, and I believe that society has suffered as a result. No longer do we go to a record shop to buy a big 12 inch album from our favorite artist. That’s too difficult nowadays. It's much easier to listen to a christmas playlist on spotify that you didn’t even make, with thousands of artists you haven’t even heard of. Vinyl has a certain tactile quality that digital music lacks. The music industry has lost those huge, 12 inch album covers in favor of a tiny, digital picture on our microscopic phone screens. Listening to vinyl is an involved process of choosing the album you want, listening to the entire thing, flipping it, and listening to the other side. This contrasts your preferred digital method of having random songs pumped into your head while you drool at your desk. Simply stated: Vinyl is the way music was meant to be heard, and any format following it just ruins the culture of music.

I honestly think the worst thing to happen to the music industry was the introduction of the ipod. By taking the “hassle” and involvement out of music, we are bringing ourselves further from it. There is something incredible about listening to an entire album just the way the artist intended it. With spotify we choose only the best songs we want to hear, rip them out of their albums and listen to them on repeat until we can’t stand them anymore. With vinyl we are closer to the music. We can see the huge beautiful album covers, feel their grooves, and hear the pops and crackles that make your album different from every other album in the world. An album that you know like the back of your hand. Music you have a connection to.

The way I see it, people who like digital music are put into two camps. Those that like digital for the convenience, and those who enjoy it for the “quality”. If you are the kind of person who listens to music for convenience, stop reading now, as I have nothing left to say to you. But if you are the kind of person who likes digital music for the quality, I challenge you to listen to a single album, on a quality record player. Listening to me rant may not change your mind, but one album, 40 minutes, is all it takes to convince you of the glorious, gritty, amazing experience of vinyl.