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May 11, 2012  | by: Christopher Burns

There is something beautiful that a traditional 72 rotation per minute album provides that a digital copy can ever replace. What that “something” is, is totally unidentifiable. Ask 10 vinyl lovers why they are such fans, and you will be provided with 10 totally different answers. However, there are three basic reasons why albums have become the fastest growing physical music medium of 2012 (sales are up nearly 25 percent from last year). Here is a succinct list of just why vinyl is such an amazing medium for listening to everything from hip hop to classic rock.

The Album Art

Before you even take a listen to the sound,  you have to be amazed by the artistry on the record’s jacket. Album art provides the listener with a visual feel of what the rest of the album will be about, though you can never quite understand the art until you listen to the album. The size of a vinyl cover lends itself perfectly as an artists backdrop, and the best albums of all-time often have some of the best art as well. When you buy an album, you are not only buying music, you are buying a print of a serious artist’s rendition of a band’s musical styling. Some of my favorite album covers include Kanye West’s ridiculously intricate jacket for My Dark Twisted Beautiful Fantasy (see above) and The Beach Boy’s Endless Summer (below).

 The Sound

Many vinyl collectors will tell you that a record provides an auditory feature which a CD or tape was never able to capture. When you listen to vinyl, the music sounds as if it were being played by a live band right there in your room rather than being a replayed recording. There is actually some pretty clear science behind this idea. Analog recording, which is what most vinyls are printed with, is considered closer to perfect than the digital recordings that are used to make CDs. While an analog recording is continuous over a certain amount of time, a digital recorder takes 44,000 “snapshots” of the sound entering the microphone every second. While the human brain cannot pick out exactly why a vinyl sounds better than a CD, science tells us that the brain prefers a continuous sound to the subconscious breaks which riddle a digitally recorded song.

 Being genuinely better than your peers

Everyone knows that a true music fan needs to devote a serious chunk of their lives to their passion. For the most serious fan, this means physical space, and a lot of money. Albums take up significantly more space than an MP3 (sorry, bad joke) and are usually slightly more expensive. What’s cool is that many artists who release contemporary albums on vinyl often include a free digital download for their fans. Paying more  money and taking up more space might have vinyl collecting making your life a little difficult, but it will at least make you look much cooler to any girls (and guys) who consider themselves hip. 

Go check out your dads old record collection and you’ll understand why vinyl is so great.

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