Opinion: Is vinyl an aesthetic?

Jesse Raymer

With the closing of Deep Search in Jacksonville this past December, the local vinyl enthusiasts are looking for new places to acquire their favorite albums. Vinyl has made a huge comeback in the last few years, with many people opting for hard copies of music instead of digital downloads. According to Time Magazine, vinyl’s revenue has grown a staggering 52 percent in the last year alone.

But what’s with the upswing in record sales? And why do local shops like Deep Search struggle so hard to keep open if vinyl is skyrocketing in revenue?

Big companies like Urban Outfitters, which have an array of vinyls to choose from, along with a “hipster” aesthetic, help cultivate an environment that invites more people to choose vinyl over a digital download. It’s easier to go into a store like Urban Outfitters and look around the store before coming across their mountainous vinyl section. Vinyl is not its main focus, but it’s most definitely a part of the store’s overall aesthetic — and that aesthetic is what many people desire to achieve.

Places like Deep Search are hidden gems. One has to make the journey to find the vinyl they are looking for. It’s not an asset to their company (much like Urban Outfitters) — it’s a record store, plain and orthodox. Furthermore, some people love the journey of acquiring vinyl. It’s an experience where you flip through stacks and stacks of records to find your favorite, or discover something new. It’s a treasure hunt of sort, and the adventure is what makes it so desirable to so many people who love the hunt for music.

Being a music director at Spinnaker Radio, I know I get super giddy when a promotional company sends us a vinyl. I look forward to opening it up, looking at the shiny black record, and having a whole new sonic experience when I listen to new music. The saddest thing about Deep Search closing is the fact that a local store that had so much amazing music will not be around anymore, and that the whole experience of “the hunt for music” is gone — until a new place opens up.

Vinyl is a wonderful thing. Personally, it connects me more to the music than anything could digitally. It’s ritualistic approach to taking the record out, placing it on the player, and dropping the needle to hear the scraaaatch that transitions into the music is an experience I adore. In a lot of ways, vinyl is seen as an aesthetic to a lot of people, but to others, it’s an experience of pure musicality — no separation between the listener and the record, it is right in front of you.

In conclusion, here are some vinyls that have changed my life (and they will possibly change yours too!)

  • THE MICROPHONES The Glow pt. 2
  • OK COMPUTER Radiohead
  • RUMOURS Fleetwood Mac 
  • HELPLESSNESS BLUES Fleet Foxes
  • ON AVERY ISLAND Neutral Milk Hotel
  • BACK TO BLACK Amy Winehouse
  • GREATEST HITS Billie Holiday
  • REVOLVER The Beatles
  • LP1 FKA Twigs
  • MODERN VAMPIRES OF THE CITY Vampire Weekend

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