Why vinyl records survive in the digital age

The entire experience of vinyl helps to create its appeal. Vinyl appeals to multiple senses—sight, sound, and touch—versus digital/streaming services, which appeal to just one sense (while offering the delight of instant gratification). Records are a tactile and a visual and an auditory experience. You feel a record. You hold it in your hands. It’s not just about the size of the cover art or the inclusion of accompanying booklets (not to mention the unique beauty of picture disks and colored vinyl). A record, by virtue of its size and weight, has gravitas, has heft, and the size communicates that it matters.

Anyone who says vinyl sounds objectively better – using the same amplifier and speaker hardware as modern media – can hardly be taken seriously, but that doesn’t mean vinyl can’t sound subjectively better. When it comes to older music from the ’60s and ’70s, I enjoyed listening to it on vinyl records (I don’t have a record player at this moment), but that had nothing to do with sound quality, and everything to do with the more archaic, unique experience of listening to a vinyl record.

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