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Greetings, peasants! What, still listening to MP3s Should You Still Buy MP3 Players? Should You Still Buy MP3 Players? Remember how everyone used to have an MP3 player? In the days before the iPhone, MP3 players were a must-have item. Smartphones have eaten into MP3 player sales over the years -- why purchase a... Read More ? That’s adorable. Look, as someone who knows more about music than you, I think it’s my duty to tell you there’s a better way. It’s called vinyl.

No, no. Vinyl didn’t die when Janis Joplin did. It’s still very much alive, and is vastly more preferable to listening to music in a digital format. Come, climb on my fixie. We’ll take a trip to the record store, and I’ll tell you the four reasons why you should ditch digital for 12″ vinyl records.

1. Your Taste in Music Will Improve

Let’s play a game. Go to your local record store — every good town should have one — and try to find Justin Bieber’s Believe, which sold almost 1,500,000 copies in 2012. Nothing?

Okay, try again. See if you can find anything by Nickelback. Nada? Okay, now see if you can find anything by The Pixies. What, an entire shelf’s worth? Why do you think that might be?

vinyl-record

Simple economics, my friend. People who listen to vinyl tend to be quite discerning with what they listen to. They don’t listen to airy, saccharine, Top 40 guff with synthesized instruments. They listen to bands that have artistic integrity, and actually write their own songs and play their own instruments. They listen to great songwriting, and have an ear for production A Quick Look At The iPad As A Music Production Tool A Quick Look At The iPad As A Music Production Tool When deciding whether one can justify the purchase of a tablet, rarely does "music production" factor into the decision-making process – but it should. Read More . As a result, bands that meet those criteria are the ones you’ll find in your record shop.

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When you listen to vinyl exclusively, you unconsciously make the decision to never, ever have to be confronted with Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. And that’s lovely.

2. Record Buying Is an Experience

In a tucked-away corner of my hometown is a small, independent record store called Probe Records. This has been a Liverpool institution for the longest time. Generations of Scousers have grown up visiting this place, and spending hours upon hours wandering through their expansive collection. Myself included.

vinyl-probe

There’s something wonderful about buying records. It’s the type of experience that is sadly lost on the iTunes and Spotify generation.

It’s the type of experience where you show up and spend hours upon hours aimlessly looking for music. You take gambles, and you drop money on albums not knowing whether they’ll be good or not. You speak to people, and get to know their recommendations and opinions, and ultimately make friends.

It’s a vastly more social experience than any app or online marketplace could ever be.

Note to self: Build social music buying app; make millions.

3. Vinyl Sounds Better

Sorry, folks. This one isn’t up for debate. Vinyl sounds better than MP3s ever could. I’m not just talking about that warm, mahogany-rich sound that vinyl is famous for, but in general. It’s just better.

Most of the music you listen to is stored and broadcast in a lossy format, where details are lost and quality is reduced. This is because audio is compressed How Does File Compression Work? How Does File Compression Work? File compression is at the core of how the modern web works, one could argue, because it allows us to share files that would otherwise take too long to transfer. But how does it work? Read More in order to make it small enough to shove on a phone, or to broadcast over the airwaves.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re listening to a streaming service like Spotify (but not Tidal Why Jay Z's Tidal Music Streaming Service is Doomed to Fail Why Jay Z's Tidal Music Streaming Service is Doomed to Fail Jay Z recently relaunched Tidal, the music streaming service he acquired for $56 million. Tidal has 99 problems, and the pitch is one. Read More , which streams in lossless), or an MP3, or even to the radio. You’re still not getting the full picture of that track.

Vinyl is what’s called a lossless format. Nothing has been lost when pressing a record. It sounds as good as the producer or band intended.

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There’s another, much more important, reason why vinyl is better than anything else.

Vinyl, for the most part, escaped the ‘loudness war’. You see, with the rise and rise of digital music (CDs included), it has became possible to artificially engineer 7 Free Resources To Learn About Sound Engineering 7 Free Resources To Learn About Sound Engineering If you're a geek who's also a bit of a musician, you've probably occasionally thought about using your own equipment to record and produce CDs. I mean, you've got the microphones, a decent computer, a... Read More a track louder than it naturally should be. The problem here is that it has a massively detrimental result on audio quality.

Indeed, it causes songs to sound distorted and become unpleasant to listen to, and strips them of their depth and texture. Because vinyl is an analog format, it’s doesn’t really suffer from the same problems. Don’t believe me? Check out this comparison between the CD version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Hump de Bump, and the vinyl version.

4. Vinyl Can Make You Money

When you buy an MP3 on iTunes, there is no way you can turn that purchase into an investment that makes you money at a later date. That’s because you don’t own that particular MP3. You merely license it.

But, vinyl? That’s an entirely different beast altogether.

There’s an entire industry of people purchasing, collecting, and reselling vinyl, because overwhelmingly it keeps its purchase value, or even appreciates in value.

vinyl-recordstore

When you collect vinyl, you’re not just buying music. You’re making an investment you can sell on a rainy day, or even pass down to your children.

There are even apps and websites — such as MyRecordList MyRecordList: List, Search & Share Your Collection of Vinyl, Cassettes & CDs MyRecordList: List, Search & Share Your Collection of Vinyl, Cassettes & CDs Read More — that make the process that much easier.

Face It, Vinyl Is Not Going Away

Vinyl is an old technology, and one that has remained relatively unchanged in the past decade. But that’s because it’s as close as we’ll get to a perfect device for listening to music. It is, to be as straightforward as possible, simply as good as it gets.

Do you agree? Disagree? Do you think I’m a pretentious hipster douchebag? Either way, drop me a comment below and we’ll chat.

Image Credit: Probe Records (Radarsmum67)

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