Vinyl records outsold CDs in 2022 for the first time since 1987, according to the Recording Industry Association of America’s year-end report. Despite their antique fashion, students have shown their continuing affection for vinyl records.
Senior Bob Emrich has worked at the Record Outlet in Thousand Oaks for over three years. He said he’s wanted to work at a record store since he was 16, so getting the job in 2020 was a total dream come true.
“I’ve been collecting records since I was 8 years old,” Emrich said. “It’s been a huge part of my life.”
Emrich said both records and CDs are special because they are tangible items you can hold and look at.
“You can see the names and faces of who’s playing while reading the lyrics or looking at the artwork,” Emrich said.
Senior Rufus Florin spends his time outside the classroom as a DJ, using vinyl records to create unique music.
In 2019, Florin began teaching himself the ropes of digital DJing. Soon enough, he was learning to do so with physical records.
“I started mixing with records because a lot of my favorite DJs were doing it and it felt more authentic,” Florin said.
Nonetheless, Florin said the task took a lot of dedication.
“You have to be so focused on what’s happening, and it’s a form of fine art,” Florin said. “It takes a lot more concentration because you have to be able to match by ear.”
Florin described DJing with vinyl records as being a whole different world. “It’s like driving an automatic car versus driving manual,” Florin said.
Florin sees a significant increase in appeal for records more generally across the last decade outside of the DJing world. He said people are finally starting to realize the difference in quality and the unique characteristics one cannot get digitally.
Due to these special traits that only records possess, Florin said he knows they will be a part of his life forever.
“Once I have my own personal house, my record collection will always be a way more important part than the TV,” Florin said. “It’ll be the main part of my living room.”
Similarly, first-year Kamea Miranda said she recognizes the rare qualities that records possess. Despite not owning a record player, she still enjoys collecting them.
“I’m also really into books and think my desire to collect records stems from that,” Miranda said. “It’s different from using Spotify because you have something physical that you can collect.”
Miranda said her favorite album from her collection is Taylor Swift’s “Evermore.” She enjoys the artwork and extra packaging she gets in addition to the record.
“They’re [vinyl records] also nice to have for decoration because they can show your interests,” Miranda said.
Thinking back on the COVID-19 era, Emrich said he remembers 2020 and 2021 as the Record Outlet’s best sales years yet. He said these sales were particularly popular among teenagers as they were starting to discover the tangibility of music that they never grew up with.
“People love the aesthetic, the big covers or the sound quality,” Emrich said. “Cross the charm with nothing to do in peak COVID, and it led to a major comeback.”
Whether it is because of the special artwork or the enhanced sound quality, vinyl records possess a special nature that digital music does not. Because of this uniqueness, it is no surprise to students that this medium of music is finally making its comeback.
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