Vinyl vs Digital: a new side of old music

You’ve been to rock concerts, you’ve met up at Neumos, camped out at Sasquatch, flaunted your Kanye West shutter shades, and maybe you’ve got a vintage Smiths t-shirt you wear half the days you come to school.

That’s right. You’re a Rockie and you know it. Whether you’re anything from a punk to a G, it doesn’t really matter what you’re scene is; you’ve got your headphones set to Metallica or Daft Punk or Notorious B.I.G., and you know you’ve got it going on.

Hate to break it to you, buttercup, but I like music more than you do. That’s right. To all you scenesters, hipsters, and hippies; you’re not keeping it real anymore.

Don’t believe me? Take a trip down to Platinum Records on Pike and Broadway in Seattle and take a step inside. It’s called a record store, a place that all the “music lovers” of my generation, with all their taste and style, haven’t seemed to set a foot in.

I’m not here to give you all that crap about how vinyl have a better sound range than CD’s and how your ears can tell the difference.

That’s what it is: crap. Listening to vinyl is a lifestyle choice. Yet most of all, it’s being part of the vinyl consumer market that will put you in a whole another world of music.

Take a walk around that record store I told you about. Try and find your favorite album. Hard as you try you can’t and you want to know why? It’s because at places like Platinum Records music is organized by their record label and by their genre of music.

You’ve probably never even heard of things like Dubstep, Jungle, Nu jazz, or Breakbeat. Funny that you haven’t, these are the genres that were invented since you were born; it’s the music of your generation and you didn’t even know it was there.

Believe me, the first time you spend time in a record store you’re going to feel like Alice in Wonderland.

While frequenting the vinyl market I’ve learned two things to be true. First: If a band doesn’t release songs on vinyl then they’re not a good band. Second: You haven’t truly heard a song until you’ve heard it on vinyl.

Listening to a jacked-up iPod while driving around in your car won’t let you really appreciate the music. If you kick it back and lay the record down with an adequate speaker system you’re going to learn things about your music that you didn’t already know.

The subtle soundscape of a song really comes out when you’re playing it with high fidelity gear. The shoddy sound quality of FM radio and iPods have geared the music industry into making songs that don’t have any of the subtle qualities you can pick up when listening to vinyl quality sound.

That’s because if you’re listening to a jacked-up iPod in your car or listening to FM radio it’s hard to pay attention.

So now songs are now made like 10 second Superbowl commercials that beg like hell to get your attention with over-dominating auto-tuned lyrics, simplistic easy to listen to beats, and a hasty pace that refuses to just take it’s time.

Record stores can give you exclusive access to European imports and rare underground labels that you’ve never even heard of. Try and chat up any record store employee, I dare you.

Talk to them about music and they’ll talk back what sounds like rocket science.

It’s a painful realization to any music lover when they first realize that their taste in sound is about as educated as a grade-school dropout compared to these guys: It sure as hell was for me.

Shop vinyl: your ears will be opened to music that spent more time crafting their beats then developing a million-dollar advertising campaign.

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