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Have you heard that sales of vinyl records are way up these days, and that last week Elvis Costello announced plans to release his upcoming record on vinyl only, with a coupon for a free download of the release with purchase?
No this isn’t going to be another post about how deeelicious vinyl is. But these trends seem to be related to something I’ve been hearing and thinking a lot about lately, which is the effort to reinstate a “rich experience” for music listeners.
In terms of vinyl’s resurgence, people say that vinyl record has gravitas and its own odd beauty, and it requires an attentiveness that confers a specialness to the music and to the act of listening; and beyond vinyl’s popularity, many artists and labels are seeking ways to offer real rich experiences to their fans.
They do this in many ways, like sharing more video from tours and backstage or by asking fans to help them create artwork for album covers or videos. What these things seem to have in common is that they are attempts to establish deeper connections to the band or artist’s community.
Given all that, I’m wondering some things: does a rich experience matter to you, either in terms of enjoying vinyl or CD album art or videos, or in terms of finding a way to interact with a band you like in some new way? Do you seek out or remember those kinds of experiences? Have any unusual opportunities to meet or interact with your favorite artists or music really added to your experience of the music, or otherwise been cool?
And I’m especially curious to know the following: if you could ask your favorite artists or bands for your ideal rich experience of their music, what would it be?

Comments

  1. Pates
    March 28, 2008 at 8:37am
    I remember vinyl was trying to come back into stores for retro's sake but it really is just far too inpractical. Where are you going to find a vinyl player these days? Especially when you could just use an mp3 player which is infinately smaller than a vinyl record.
    Reply
  2. aineetx
    March 30, 2008 at 7:51am
    Vinyl, 8-track, cassette, cd and mp3 are just the way to the music. For me, having the music is more important than anything else. What is particularly important is having the songs and instrumentals that I personally like and that are becoming more and more difficult to access. We cannot legally share the old songs that we have and cannot find without the worry of being sued even though I have purchased Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours 5 times in all formats. So I like vinyl, and I like cd's and expecially MP3's because I can mix and remix all of my favorite songs. I save the vinyls by converting them to MP3 and play the MP3s over and over without harming the originals. A lot of the tunes from the 30's thru the 80's preclude my interaction with the stars :-) for a few more years anyway and if I wanted to interact, I would have to ask the artists to dinner and do the cooking so that's out of the picture. Basically if I want to know more about the artist, I buy a book. But I surely do enjoy this venue along with my vinyls, CD's and MP3's. We only have one station that plays the Hit Parade format and that only on a clear day. So basically, this 60 year old simply likes the old music any way I can get it!
    Reply
  3. Bruce
    March 31, 2008 at 12:30pm
    The main thing I miss from the digital music experience is the lack of credits -- composer, musicians, etc. This is an important means for learning about music; finding out who else plays on a record you like is a great way to begin exploring new musical paths. Granted, Pandora is doing some of this work for us - finding new music. But its track and album info lack this key data. So does my iPod. The internet and my iPod can handle so much data, but for some reason the musical credits get left out. I'm sure someone is working on this problem right now, so I look forward to the solution.
    Reply
  4. robert planets
    March 31, 2008 at 6:22pm
    ah the times of vinyl..remember those paper thin rca lps? you could bend them like a tortilla....saw led zepplin in central park for 2.50..played the whole 1st lp note fer note..nobody really knew whom they were..place was half empty..the second lp was a female volcano eruption......i got laided so many times playing that whole lot of money side..but for me..its my stones mono recordings..now thats vinyl nirvana for me...my import of decembers children..sonic bliss...all their mono recordings..still almost mint..even back then i had money to buy good audio equipment..took good care of them..and holy failed carpenter..i have the mono version of santantic magesties request..ya know the 3d one..but only this lp is scratched..its very rare..95% of the pressings were stereo..so kmart shoppers how many other 3d lps were ever put on the market??? your prize maybe will be to meet me and play with my other 4ooo lps..many are promo copies..how and whom i knew in radio land and what i did to get my collection..now thats classifed..lol...
    Reply
  5. Peter
    April 09, 2008 at 5:53pm
    Speaking as someone who grew up with vinyl, I do think that the digital sampling reduces the complex richness of the sound. I'm moving as much of my remaining vinyl as I can to CD's, both purchased and home-transferred, but I do think we've lost something. (Yeah, I know, the pops and the crackles, too.) And mp3's, even at the highest sampling rate, lose even more. We get used to the limited - and distorted - sound, but it's really too bad.
    Reply
  6. Jeff M.
    April 10, 2008 at 8:57pm
    Hi, my name's Jeff I'm a new Pandora listener, I love the fact that I can find new music on Pandora I think its the best way yet to dicover new music thanks and keep up the good work. I would like to offer an explanation of why vinyl can sound better than digital for those who are interested; But first let me say for those unaware vinyl has never sounded better than it does today, yes you can still buy turntables in fact there are more and much better record playing equpment avalible today than twenty years ago, technology even in vinyl play back and recording has not stoped quite the contrary.(check out: acousticsounds.com or musicdirect.com to see whats new in vinyl today). I am part of the current resurgence of vinyl I'm also an audiophile with modern highend equipment including a new $5,000. VPI turntable and as an audiophile ultimate sound quality is of prime importance to me. I find vinyl to be the most engaging format there is,(altho SACD is right up there) it is the highest resolution format we consumers have, digital is more of a computer model of music, the computer samples the sound so many times a second (called the sampling rate) then writes a code decribing each of those instances in time, then kind of like the way video tape works with each frame representing an instant in time but when played back rapidly it fools your brain into thinking your seeing or hearing real motion or sound. Vinyl on the other hand is analog, when playing a record you are hearing a continuos smooth wave form (no sampling involved) just like the original electrical wave form that the microphones that recorded the performance generated, so you could say that only vinyl (or the original master tape) is true full resolution audio. What that means is that due to the lower "sampaling rate" of digital some of the information is lost (as in not even captured) it falls between the samples of time. It is this missing information that makes digital less engaging less satisfying, because our minds have to work harder to believe that we are hearing real music, because it has to try and fill in the missing info for it to make sense, it doesn't flow smoothly due to the stair step wave form generated by the low sampling rate (play an MP3 on a high end audio system and you will be amazed at how bad it sounds) with analog all our minds have to do is sit back and enjoy the music, it flows smoothly into the mind no extra work, its just easier, after all we live in an analog world, and all other sounds (other than our digital music) that we hear in our world are analog sounds. I hope that helps for any one that wonders why. Thanks for reading.
    Reply
  7. John W
    April 12, 2008 at 11:57am
    Nostalgia is a great thing but it is limiting. I like driving around in a 49 Ford but I wouldn't want to use it as my main method of transportation. I do miss the covers. Why not issue a cd with a 12" record jacket instead of those cheap plastic cases. Just add a pocket that can hold the cd. I can rip the CD to my computer and enjoy the jacket art & liner notes.
    Reply
  8. Joe WIlson
    April 13, 2008 at 12:48am
    I have heaps of vinyl post-punk, new wave album from when I was a teen, I treasure them a great deal because many of them can not be bought in cd format and those have have been brought over to cd have had tracks removed from them.. take for example the long version of Thomas Dolby's airhead. its not released on any cd its on vinyl only. Before Aimee Mann is today she was in 'til tuesday, and before that is a record I have from the The Young Snakes, a very punky sound that isn't like her present stuff. I also have tons of shalac but I won't get into my johnny cash collection right now.. ;) peace
    Reply
  9. Scott Bringe
    April 15, 2008 at 8:57am
    Vinyl, I can't believe that so many people are still talking about it, I thought this issue had been resolved. I must tell you all that anyone who knows much about Hi-Fidelity knows that vinyl won the debate many years ago. If you are lucky enough to attend the Consumer Electronics Show and decide to visit the High-End suites, you'll notice that everyone is using vinyl. Vinyl is a pain in the butt and I wouldn't go back unless I won the lottery or something and had tons of extra time to play with my audio system. I do miss the album art but find that the internet is a great resource for so many things. This is where I've been getting my richest experience from music lately, the internet. I like documentaries about bands or artists, these usually give a much clearer or more complete picture of where an artist is coming from. I know this probably leaves some artists out in the cold because they really don't have a thought in their empty little heads but this is good to know too.
    Reply
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    October 30, 2009 at 12:30pm
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