Vinyl On Pace to Outsell CDs: Here’s What That Means

Christopher Bradley

Christopher is a lawyer from NEPA, aka, Pennsultucky, He is an avid baseball fan, audiophile, and dog owner. He spends the majority of his free time with his wife and daughters, reading, listening to music, watching baseball (except the Yankees) and writing. If you wish to send him a positive missive, any errata concerning albums, or requests regarding albums: saturdayspins32 at gmail dot com

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84 Responses

  1. DensityDuck says:

    “if you understand economics the way our diaper-filling president does,”

    why

    did this need to be hereReport

  2. If y’all can’t look past an off-the-cuff remark like that then: 1. thoughts & prayers 2. you’ve made my point by amplifying and then complaining about the singular comment. 3. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Christopher Bradley says:

      yo
      i got a whole twitter for this bullshit
      why it hereReport

    • CJColucci in reply to Christopher Bradley says:

      As I’ve said in another context, it isn’t politics unless you disagree with it.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to CJColucci says:

        it isn’t politics, it’s shit-starting, and the “lol triggered” response makes that pretty fucking obviousReport

      • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

        “it isn’t politics unless you disagree with it.”

        This is what privilege looks like.Report

        • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

          When you borrow other peoples’ cliches, you should at least be sure you understand them.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

            I dunno.

            One of the things that shows up a lot in discussions of privilege is automatic assumption of being surrounded by people with a shared cultural experience.

            It’s one of the things in the invisible knapsack.Report

            • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

              If you’re going to put up a link, you should at least be sure it addresses whatever point you’re trying to make — if you’re trying to make one.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                Do we want to go through the questions that deal with this?

                They’re the ones at the bottom. The ones that deal with “identities”.

                But, sure, let’s copy and paste from the Invisible Knapsack essay itself:

                “I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.”

                “I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.”

                There are a handful of others that deal with race that could easily be swapped out to deal with culture. Mostly the ones that make assumptions about how oblivious you can be to others.

                “Microaggressions” is one of the terms I’ve seen used for this sort of thing.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                OK I regularly spend time in places where I would answer both of these questions in the negative:

                “I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.”

                “I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.”

                Guess I lack that MAGA privilege.

                Or you’re being silly.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                I “spend time in” plenty of places where I am an outsider and I cannot imagine requesting that I be asked to be treated better than neutrally. And don’t get me started on “criticizing the government”. Good lord, I live in Colorado Springs. If you want to see someone’s eyes bug out, just start dropping some lines to “Eff The Police”.

                But I do think that it’s nice to come to a place where the discussions about entertainments are places where one can expect issues such as race, religion, or sexuality to be treated, at worst, neutrally.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                But I do think that it’s nice to come to a place where the discussions about entertainments are places where one can expect issues such as race, religion, or sexuality to be treated, at worst, neutrally.

                I didn’t realize supporting Donald Trump was a religion, much less a race or sexuality.

                Like, I’ve seen people quote the insights of Richard fucking Spencer in articles about Star Wars.

                Like here at OT.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                And your point is…..? No, wait, why do I bother? It’s Jaybird. If there ever was a point, it will eventually get whittled down to some bromide that no one can disagree with and no one can figure out why anyone thought it was worth making, or how it bore on the issue at hand.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                And your point is…..?

                “Microagressions Are Bad”.

                So, yeah. Something that no one can disagree with.

                Whether you can see why it’s a point worth making probably depends on whether you’re the microaggressor or the microaggressee.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                And we’re back where we started.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                Only if you agree that no one would disagree with my bromide.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                Depends on where you think it started. There’s a record here, so I won’t bother to argue about it. People can look for themselves.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                I think it started with the microaggression.

                For the record.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Microaggression” against Trump supporters.

                For the record.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Not merely them. Also those who wanted to tune into a post about vinyl and not talk about Trump.

                You don’t have to want to vote for the guy to want to read an essay about CD sales without reading about him.Report

            • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

              Ah yes. The privilege of, um, detesting Donald Trump?

              Come on. This is silly.Report

              • I am extremely here for using a Buzzfeed quiz top try and prove a nonexistent point about privilege.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                It’s not the privilege of detesting him. It’s the privilege of talking about it in a post that was, ostensibly, about vinyl.

                Hey, I just want to talk about cds entering the marketplace, waxing, waning, and then being eclipsed by the thing that replaced wax cylinders (78s count as records, right)?

                Also: Kamala Harris is a Cop.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s the privilege of talking about it in a post that was, ostensibly, about vinyl.

                Huh?

                Also: Kamala Harris is a Cop.

                Double huh?Report

              • CJColucci in reply to pillsy says:

                If someone talks about something you don’t want to hear about, it’s privilege. If you say don’t talk about something I don’t want to hear about, it’s not privilege, it may even be the opposite of privilege. Got it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                Nobody is saying “don’t talk about whatever you want to talk about”.

                What they are saying is that dropping humorous flourishes with a political edge into a discussion about records is likely to result in a discussion about the political edge rather than the records.

                And the automatic expectation that people will either laugh at the joke or that they will be polite and ignore it is a manifestation of privilege.

                And, quite honestly, I don’t see why either of these statements are controversial.

                Indeed, I’d think that everyone would agree with them.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                And the automatic expectation that people will either laugh at the joke or that they will be polite and ignore it is a manifestation of privilege.

                And, quite honestly, I don’t see why either of these statements are controversial.

                The second is controversial because it rests on the idea that Trump supporters are an oppressed minority and that a failure to read the room is an oppression of privilege.

                Mr Bradley’s line was (as much as I hate to admit it) ill-advised, but it was ill-advised because of how many people here will start caping for Trump supporters at the drop of a hat.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

                Clinton *DID* win the popular vote, Pillsy.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                If anyone did have such an “automatic expectation,” it might have something to do with privilege, though that’s a stretch. Other than a few standup comedians who complain that their jokes don’t get laughs anymore because kids today, I’m not aware of such automatic expectations. That’s something you can take up with Christopher. Maybe he expected what he got, or didn’t and is amused by it, but that’s for him to say.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                Well, he has a comment to KenB down below that can offer some insight, maybe.Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird says:

                You and he are welcome to hash that out.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci says:

                Oh, I thought you were expressing that you wanted more information. Sorry.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                ” It’s the privilege of talking about it in a post that was, ostensibly, about vinyl.”

                And the privilege of assuming that when you sell pushback on shit-starting as A Twiggered Snowfwake’s Hurty Fee-Fees, it’ll be bought.Report

              • I think you and others are reading way too much into what was, not ostensibly, a humorous flourish.Report

              • I’ll try to have more of a sense of humor in the future.Report

    • pillsy in reply to Christopher Bradley says:

      You really should try to refrain from gratuitously triggering the cons in an article like this, but it’s still pretty funny seeing who’s taking the bait.Report

    • KenB in reply to Christopher Bradley says:

      So far there are 35 comments to your piece, and 30 of them relate to this throwaway line. If you’re fine with that outcome, and the editors are fine with that outcome, then great. If you rather had some expectation that the discussion would be focused on the main topic of your post, then maybe should avoid this sort of remark in the future, even if you think it’s really the commenters who are wrong.Report

  3. Fish says:

    RIP iTunes, indeed. What a craptastic piece of software.

    I do use streaming services, but I use it more like a radio (SiriusXM, Amazon) than anything else. I maintain my own mp3 library (ripped at the highest bitrate available) so as long as my iPod has a charge, I have music without having to depend on an internet connection. I try to avoid buying physical copies whenever I can–those things take up too much space!Report

    • The mainstream streaming services suck for classical music. I have heard that there are some specialized ones, but I simply stream classical music radio stations. Different stations have subtly different emphases, so rotating through a collection results in a wide variety. There also is a stream from American Public Media (one of the non-NPR public radio outfits) that replicates a good classical station.

      My only complaint is that if I wake up one morning with a hankering for obscure Baroque music by Bohemian composers, none of these options work. You can sort of get this from YouTube, but that has its own set of issues, including that if you start with any Baroque composer and let it drift on its own, you will eventually, and not too distant an eventuality at that, end up with an endless loop of either Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or Pachelbel’s Canon.Report

      • I use The Classical Station’s stream frequently, they do a decent job mixing it up, and the sacred music on Sunday’s is a welcomed addition with the choral and such. Classical on streaming depends, Pandora’s managed to keep mine decently aligned, but I’ve found whatever algorithm they use has a hard time lumping older (Mozart, Bach) with the newer stuff I also want (Copeland and such) and that is a problem.Report

        • I struggled with Pandora trying to make it give me coherent streams, but never managed it. Partly it is the problem that they thought that one movement of a piece is a “song,” having no particular connection with the other movements of the same piece. This is a defining characteristic of a bad classical feed. But mostly the problem was that they had their idiotic algorithm of musical elements that are supposed to figure out what I want to listen to, when if instead they had decently designed metadata, much of it the information on the back of a traditional CD, then they could let me simply tell them what I want to listen to. “Italian Baroque liturgical music” is a coherent body that I might want to listen to that day. Whatever musical elements they think are found there, and also elsewhere so they will give me that other stuff too? Not so much.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            Oh yes, Pandora is a train-wreck for classical music.

            I have a Baroque morning music feed that I’ve been working on for about 3-yrs… still plays Debussy, Brahms, various themes from the Lord of the Rings and other 20th century show tunes that are decidedly Romantic.

            With aggressive up/down voting it’s now about 70% Baroque, but its as if a blind drunk toddler is picking tunes out of a basket marked “old music”

            The problem isn’t new, its all about the metadata and the absence of a proper standard. It can’t tell if Brahms is the artist, composer or conductor… same with, say, Karajan… so if Karajan conducts Brahms and then does Bach and you like the Bach, it thinks you’ll probably like the Karajan Strauss Vienna Waltz too (which I do, but…)

            Basically anything more complex than 2 levels of hierarchy is beyond all music services: Artist, Song Title. That’s it. The metadata in the industry is shite.Report

            • And if you like that Karajan, surely you’ll like …

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X_2IdybTV0Report

            • My wife, who is not a classical music program, was early in our marriage mystified by the information the announcer would give on my favored radio station: the piece itself, the composer, ensemble, conductor, and maybe soloist. Occasionally also the record label. This just seemed pointless and excessive to her.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                Oh yeah… let’s not even talk about different ensembles.

                The optimistic side of me thinks that in the rush to digitize music for services all the could afford were interns keying in garbage. As things mature and, dare I say it, ML gets better, they will be able to create some proper hierarchies and get the metdata sorted. Then I’ll be able to sort by country, time period, ensemble and all good things.

                Heck, a proper date would be incredibly useful even for pop songs… its funny how every written before, say, 2010, has a Spotify publish date of 2012.Report

              • I am reminded of Google Books. Google was so sure that it had unlocked the universal secret to metadata that there was no need to waste time with that useless stuff librarians had put in the card catalog. The results were sadly predictable to anyone not a True Believer.Report

              • Might be the “publication” date for when the Spotify version was licensed and created. That’s separate from the (possibly much older) copyright date on the underlying material.Report

            • My wife, who is not a classical music person, was early in our marriage mystified by the information the announcer would give on my favored radio station: the piece itself, the composer, ensemble, conductor, and maybe soloist. Occasionally also the record label. This just seemed pointless and excessive to her.Report

  4. Michael Cain says:

    …the… fidelity of LPs is unmatched.

    Nonsense. A recording technology that starts by running the signal through a nonlinear frequency response filter (RIAA equalization) to compensate for the limitations of the medium, and then requires the signal be run through another nonlinear filter during playback to correct the intentional distortion, unmatched? Perhaps compared to other analog media, which have to resort to similar tricks, eg, the various equalization filters for magnetic tapes. Not compared to good quality uncompressed digital.

    TTBOMK, all of the subjective preferences for analog media have been tracked down to preferences for specific distortions of the signal, not superior accuracy.Report

    • I’m sorry that your very relevant comment got pushed to the bottom of pile of crap above, but I kind of allude to how some equipment has a bearing on the sound quality and fidelity too. We could also get into original pressings v repressings, etc. I’m not subscriber to the more quality digital files, FLAC, etc. They take up too much HD space. If you were to take the pepsi challenge and hear the same song through my mid-level hifi system compared to just my basic computer speakers, I would have a hard time believing you don’t hear the difference.Report

      • Slade the Leveller in reply to Christopher Bradley says:

        You should absolutely check FLAC out over mp3. HD space is so cheap these days. It’s like comparing a CD to a wax cylinder.Report

      • That’s hardly a fair comparison, is it? Better would be a standalone USB DAC with a price tag similar to what you paid for your turntable and cartridge, and running the signal through the same power electronics and speakers.

        Since we’re talking about dedicated music hardware… the sweet spot on price per GB for hard disks is about 6TB these days, $150 for a 6TB disk. That will hold about 7,500 uncompressed CDs. Maybe 12,500 if you use FLAC. Some ridiculous number if you use Opus for compression, but I wouldn’t store my archival copy in a lossy format if I could avoid it. You’d want a separate backup disk, of course: screw up an LP or CD and it’s one album; screw up the hard disk and you could lose everything. A ten-inch touchscreen, a Raspberry Pi, the 6TB disk, a bit of software, and 12,500 CDs plus search, loop, randomizer, individual track picker, and whatever other software you want all fit in a package the size of a trade paperback*. Within a couple of years the sweet spot will be 8TB; call it 17,000 FLAC-compressed CDs then.

        * You could piggyback a DAC on the Pi and the whole shebang could be picked up and taken anywhere there’s an amplifier with line-level inputs. I’m not a fan of just slapping analog and digital electronics together, there’s too many tricky ways to compromise the analog. You want someone who really knows what they’re doing to design the power arrangements, shielding, etc, etc.Report

  5. J_A says:

    At the risk of derailing the discussion…

    Last Christmas, the 22 y.o. son of friends I was staying with decided that a turntable would be “the” gift for his girlfriend.

    His father and I watched him assemble the thing (it came out in pieces, apparently you can’t ship an assembled turntable via Amazon and have it survive the trip), and then the dad grudgingly agreed to find out some old L.Ps from the attic.

    Hilarity ensued when we all realized the son, born in the late 90s, hadn’t actually touched an L.P. In his life, much less played one. It took a couple of hours to walk him on how to handle the LP (from the edge), how to raise and drop the needle (with the little lever, and not your hand), that the dark bands in the vinyl separate the different songs, that no, you can’t (*) seek a particular track with a fast forward button, that unless you are a trained DJ you don’t touch the LP when it’s turning, that the lyrics are printed in the box.

    Equally funny was watching the boy repeat the lesson to his girlfriend on Christmas Day (with his dad correcting him when he had something wrong.

    And for us it was a bit shocking that something that was as common air when we were growing up had completely disappeared to the point our adult children had never been exposed to it.

    (*) yes, I know certain fancy 80s turntables had detectors that could recognize the track dividers (most of the time). I had one of those. The guy in the history’s turntable didn’t have that feature.Report

    • The effort is what counts in my eyes, even if the person is clueless at the outset. That’s really how any hobby works, some may not like or take time to learn the proper ins and outs, but at least an effort was made. Great anecdote.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to J_A says:

      I’m the guy who as recently as 3 years ago had a collection of 8-Track tapes and a player in the garage.

      What’s weird, is that the music- Blondie, Ramones, Sex Pistols- was current while the technology was ancient.Report

      • J_A in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        A friend of mine collects and restores old electronics (1940s to early 60s).

        And he has boatloads of 8 tracks and 45s to play in his toys.

        He actually hooks his Alexa to the Aux input of these players. The audio quality is extraordinaryReport

        • Slade the Leveller in reply to J_A says:

          But the clicks in the middle of tracks! Ugh.

          I think the audio quality speaks to the modern recording preference for loudness over fidelity.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

            For you youngsters, 8-Tracks actually had 4 sections separated by a thunking noise the machine made when it manually slid the tape head from one to the other.

            And the section breaks quite often fell in the middle of a song so like if you were headbanging to Bohemian Rhapsody you might have to freeze frame for a half second then resume screaming “gallileo”.

            There’s…often a very good reason some technology is discarded.Report

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