Why The Whole Music World Should Not Go Digital

image from upload.wikimedia.org Vinyl records have resurged; it is no secret. The bigger question that looms is why have they? Tye L. at The Music Cycle thinks it is because of two factors. First, records produce a sound that is unique to them. They are richer or more natural sounding than their digital counterparts. In addition, they give fans a sense of ownership that files stored on a computer do not. It is a piece of music and it is theirs. The packaging made fans truly appreciate the art that came with their sound. A connection formed between the songs and their visual representation.

The whole music world is going digital and Michael Cuthbertson does not think that it should, because vinyl is still superior to it. Mainly, he argues that the move should not happen because MP3's sound terrible. This is an old argument, but he captures it well. Could the resurgence of vinyl be considered a backlash against the hyper-reality of this digital age? Cuthbertson thinks so. The processes are divergent. Clicking play on your iPod and lowering a needle onto will never be the same. One constitutes music as a moment and the other music as an event.

Perhaps the most interesting part of his critique of digital culture relates to his point that people will gather to watch a movie for several hours but rarely meet to hear thirty minutes of music. It is a bit idealistic. Yet it brings out the notion of a different kind of social gathering, one where everyone leaves their digital devices in the other room and does nothing but listen to music. Surely, the young and the digital will not be lining up for an experience like this anytime soon, but I think we all wish we had more chances to just listen. It is as if some of us forgotten how.

"Digital preserves music the way formaldehyde preserves frogs: it kills it and makes it last forever... Fortunately, the rebirth of non-digital music is here... I believe the resurgence of vinyl is part of a greater backlash against the hyper-reality of this digital age. It’s the difference between clicking a “download torrent” button or going to a store where you can look at real products surrounded by real, likeminded people.

It’s the difference between the randomness of scrolling through menus on a screen and switching the song every minute or sitting down, lowering a needle and experiencing the transcendence of hearing a whole album. It escapes my understanding why people rarely meet to hear 30 minutes of music but will get together and watch a movie for... hours." (Read on.)


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