Nowadays, we have access to music in more ways than ever before. While traditional ways of listening to music through a turntable, amplifier and speaker set up still exist, many people (the younger generations in particular) tend to be opting for non-tangible means of getting their music fix. But is one better than the other? Will one method of listening give you a better sound or experience? Stick with us as we find out with a direct comparison of two of the most beloved and common ways of listening to your favourite artists and songs: vinyl and digital.
For many of us, old is gold. But what is the appeal of vinyl and why is it still going strong after all of these years? If anything, these twelve-inch discs should be considered an encumbrance, taking up space that could be left clear and empty if we were only to switch to MP3s and online music streaming. The key to vinyl for many of us is the experience of buying it, handling it, and enjoying a tangible possession. We take pride in the collections that build up next to our record players. We believe that the artwork has value when you can actually see it and appreciate it, rather than it taking up a few pixels in the corner of a screen. We delight in finding a rare item in the depths of a charity store or at the bottom of a dusty pile at a car boot sale. We trade, sell, and deal in these waxy circles. For the musicians amongst us, we just feel a little more accomplished when we have a physical object to show for the hard work we’ve poured into our art. We enjoy engaging with companies like Nationwide Disc in order to distribute our work manually. What’s more? We just can’t get enough of that crackle when we put the needle down on the record! It gives each track a raw feel of authenticity.
Now, vinyl may have a hip sense of nostalgia about it. But the sad truth is that we can’t haul our sound system with us wherever we go. Many of us want to listen to music on the move, whether we want discreet listening on public transport, the opportunity to blare our favourite tunes through our car speakers while we’re driving, or perhaps just want to listen in a separate room to where our vinyl collection is stashed. In short, digital music is portable and convenient. The world can become our oyster without us having to sacrifice our favourite songs on the way. What’s more? Digital tends to be cheaper than vinyl. In fact, streaming through applications such as Spotify and Youtube can be completely free if you’re willing to listen to a few ads in between tracks!
As you can see, both vinyl and digital have their merits. Perhaps the best way to approach the matter of vinyl versus digital is to throw away this binary and embrace both. This way you can get the best of both worlds, listening conveniently and maintaining your collection all at once!