Last November, I decided to validate my friends calling me a hipster by collecting vinyl records. My love of music is simply too great to be limited to my iTunes library or Spotify playlists. In anticipation of buying a record player, I quickly ordered several of my favorite albums. When Touche Amore’s “Is Survived By” was delivered, I excitedly opened it in my dorm. My confused roommate, staring at the opaque-blue record, said, “Wait, there’s music on that?”

It’s safe to say that an overwhelming majority of our generation prefers digital music to CDs, cassettes and records. CDs are gradually fading out and cassettes are nearly extinct. For most, records are something their parents were obsessed with; many still keep their dust-covered collections in the attic. Even though records were “killed off” in the ‘80s by CDs, bands continued to press them as a small demand remained.

Today, that demand has persisted and even increased and it’s not on behalf of our parents. When a trend becomes too commonplace, there will always be a reaction against it. Vinyl’s resurgence is a reaction to digital music’s dominance.

Digital songs have the advantage of convenience; we want to have complete access to our entire libraries wherever and whenever. Having iPods and phones that have this immense capability is truly beneficial to everyone and it has allowed for more music to be created, shared and enjoyed than ever before. Yet, digital music is fairly one-dimensional. Purchasing an album on iTunes for $10 gives you the music and some low-resolution artwork. Your music collection exists, but it’s nothing you can hold or look at. It’s simply a bunch of files in folders. This is perfectly acceptable for many listeners due to its flexibility and convenience.

Think of owning a record collection as a three-dimensional experience. Your favorite album exists – you can hold it, flip through the artwork, and read through the included lyrics. Many bands will press their albums onto colored or multicolored, swirled vinyls. These are often limited to a small number of copies – millions of people can download a digital album, but you could be one of 100 to own a specially pressed record. Bands love when you buy vinyl as it usually supports them directly and covers touring expenses. They’ll frequently include stickers, posters and a code to download the album digitally. Opening a record’s package is like opening a Cracker Jack box.

Passionate music fans refuse to let go of vinyl’s beauty. There’s something unparalleled about that moment when the needle hits the record and the warm crackling sound begins. It’s an experience every listener needs to have at least once. Starting a collection isn’t for everyone – records can be much more expensive than digital albums, plus one has to invest in a record player as well. However, if you’ve been considering it, I would highly recommend it. It’s a great way to financially support your favorite band and enhance your own listening experience.

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