I think I’ve loved vinyl ever since I dropped the needle on my first 7” single. Which was, Cookie Monster’s “C is for Cookie” on Sesame Street Records. (Yes, I’m serious! And it was probably this Fisher-Price record player). But my fondness for vinyl was cemented forever once I bought my first real album, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
For me, recorded music is best enjoyed when it’s a deliberate, almost ritualistic experience. Carving out time and eliminating distractions. Pulling that record out of the sleeve. Placing a tape in the deck and pressing play. Spending time looking at the printed lyrics, artwork, and liner notes. Connecting with the album, tethered to your audio equipment, listening to each track consecutively.
Time and technology are unstoppable forces, though. We used to spend $10 just to get access to one song on a tape, CD or vinyl record. Now that same $10 can unlock literally 50 million songs, ours for the streaming. An entire world of music at our fingertips, and a potentially overwhelming amount of choice!
Despite my affection for physical media, I’m surprised to say that I’ve gradually succumbed to that digital, streaming Spotify life. (I graduated to Spotify Premium after years of Pandora’s free tier). It’s way too easy and way too convenient to have unrestricted access – within seconds – to virtually anything I want to hear.
I do think it comes with the side-effect of devaluing music, though, and the artists creating that music. In the age of streaming platforms, a song has to be streamed hundreds of times for an artist to get paid the same royalty amount as selling that one track at 99 cents.
So, my favorite way to listen to recorded music is still vinyl, and I’m thrilled that it continues to thrive in a world where physical media is fading away. But Spotify dominates my day-to-day routine, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
🎵 What is your favorite way to listen to music? Is it physical or digital? If it’s a platform like Spotify or Tidal or Deezer or Pandora, tell me why. It’s as easy as replying to this email!