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Student Columnist: Grandpa hobby

Student Columnist: Grandpa hobby

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The 21st century has given us some wonderful technology.

Thanks to the advancements made by tech companies in the last 20 years, we can now stream new blockbuster movies from our homes, track workouts on watches, and have millions of songs sitting nicely in our pockets.

Thanks to Spotify and Apple Music, listeners of all genres can access the newest releases from any given artist with a couple taps of a button. This has allowed for musicians to publish music quicker and reach a great audience with their material. And while these apps have made it very easy to find songs, what’s wrong with listening to music the old fashioned way?

Before the music mongols of the 2010s found their places on our home screens, fans across the country had to depend on different outlets to get their fix. The 2000s saw the rap crowd jamming to tunes on their iPods, the 90s gang rocked to grunge on CDs, and the Walkman stylized the synth-filled 80s. But how did people listen to music before these wonderful inventions?

Believe it or not, music hasn’t always been portable. In the olden days, stereos were stationary and lacked the convenience of fitting in your pocket. If someone wanted to listen to the newest jams from Buddy Holly or Louis Armstrong, it’d require them to obtain a large flat disc known as a vinyl record.

This form of musical enjoyment was quite popular for its time, but wasn’t very practical. The bulky turntable required to play these records took up a lot of space and the records themselves were easy to scratch. I mean, it’s no wonder that innovators wanted to find a more efficient way to enjoy some Elvis. Yet, there was something about these records that seemed almost prestigious. So even after more methods of making melodies became available, many people became record collectors.

Now, as many readers know, I’m quite the lover of music. So it may come as a surprise to no one that I myself have a vinyl collection. There are many people who may call this a “Grandpa hobby,” but I have more than enough evidence to prove that this is not the case.

For starters, record production never stopped. Over time, music labels realized that vinyl could be looked at not as an everyday item, but rather an item of wonder that would look great in a picture frame. That’s why prices raised from a mere seven dollars to a more profitable twenty dollars over the last two decades.

Another piece of proof that confirms the American youth enjoy vinyl are the pretty colored pressings many artists produce. While most records are standard black, some bands will release album pressings that are pink, orange, yellow, green, or any other shade. Personally, the favorite colored LP in my collection is the red and blue swirled copy of Grayscale’s “Adornment”.

Speaking of that record, it was released in 2017, more than a century after the turntable became a household staple. The reason why vinyl is still in production today is because they’ve adapted with the times. Instead of dropping the 10,000th pressing of “Abbey Road,” labels are making records for newer acts. One Direction, Luke Combs, Justin Timberlake, and even Travis Scott have had their most famous albums put on a vinyl disc.

Now here’s the question almost all record collectors get at one point or another: “Why?” I mean, it’d be much simpler and cost way less to just pull the album up online. So why would anyone spend $20-$40 to hear a record they could have for free?

The answers vary from person to person, but I collect vinyl for the sheer novelty of it. It may be easy to listen to Billie Eilish on my phone, but it’s much more satisfying to watch the needle drop as the record begins to spin. There’s nothing more appealing than hearing the slight crackle of the speaker before the music kicks in. Another positive to buying records is more of the profit goes to the artists themselves. So if there’s any musician you really wanna’ support during these trying times, go on their website and purchase some vinyl.

The buying and listening of classic records may seem like a concept of the past, but it’s really not. There are many people, my age, older, and even some younger, that have had a blast beginning their own record collections. Whether it was because they were really interested in living like the older generation or they just needed a new pastime, people found a reason to love vinyl.

It’s not a cheap hobby, storing them can be a bit troublesome, and it very much is impractical, but I truly do love my record collection. It’s part of who I am, and each spin truly does fill me with joy. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a 180g Green Day album calling my name.

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