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Tag Archives: physical object

When the vinyl LP began its modest but highly publicized commercial comeback a few years ago, the format felt easy to love again. With sprawling artwork, pristine sound quality and the adoring ritual of flipping album sides, its return united young bohemia and their boomer parents alike.

Not so for the lowly cassette tape. To mainstream music fans who spent the ’80s detangling spools with a paper clip, listening to heat-damaged sounds warble out of the speakers and blindly fast-forwarding and reversing to get to a favourite song, cassettes might be the most despised, instantly discarded and fidelity-challenged medium to ever vie for mass popularity.


While CD sales continue their downward plunge, the vinyl LP is experiencing resurgence in popularity. Having experienced a 20-year decline, vinyl sales doubled between 2006 and 2007, and the trend looks likely to continue this year, spurred by major album releases in the LP format. This year alone, Madonna and Coldplay have reissued their new releases as deluxe vinyl packages, U2 and Van Morrison are reissuing their past albums in the format, and fans will have an opportunity to buy upcoming releases by Oasis, Bob Dylan, and Kings of Leon in vinyl. Anyone wanting more proof of the resurgence of vinyl need only look to Metallica’s newest album Death Magnetic. The vinyl version of the album, which went on sale Friday along with the CD version, is currently out of stock on, due to heavy pre-order sales.

Always looking to increase their sales numbers, record companies are reacting to this new demand in a positive way. Online retailer,, now stocks over 250,000 vinyl albums. Physical stores, such as Best Buy, are also increasing their vinyl inventory to keep up with listener demand.

Vinyl enthusiasts have long maintained that, as compared to digital, the sound quality of vinyl is much warmer and richer, but what explains the current spike in sales? Mike Allen, former VP of international marketing for EMI sees vinyl’s success as “a reaction against the commoditization of music.” As he notes, “With vinyl, there’s something that has innate value- a physical object.”