Vinyl records are making a big comeback and that makes me feel happy. Not just because I kept my old turntable from years back. But because I see this movement as a sign that not everything technological is going to hell in a virtual hand basket.
During the last few years technology has been on a roller-coaster ride, bombarding us, with so many of us now plugged in 24/7. Every trend, every movement hits its peak at some point. Perhaps modern technology already has. When that happens, the equilibrium needs to be adjusted to a more even keel.
Vinyl records may just be what technology needs to get a grip, to maybe even (dare I say) slow us down. For the past few years musicians have been recording both CD and vinyl. That includes my son Martin and his band Beams. They have a 45 (yes, you read this correctly) with the required two songs – one each side – coming out this week. It’s not called a 45 anymore – but a seven-inch. For those of us old foggies with old 45’s, measure the diameter and then it will twig in.
Did I say old foggies? The vinyl revolution is grabbing all ages – both for recording and buying. While I still have my really old Sears basic turntable (don’t laugh, but I have to physically place and remove the needle on and off the record) there are newer modern versions being manufactured with the built-in feature of converting to digital.
The stats show that vinyl sales increased from 2013 by 71 per cent from 2013 in 2014 in Canada. That’s 400,000 pieces of vinyl sold. In the United States vinyl sales reached 9.2 million in 2014, an increase from 2013 of 51 per cent.
And the vinyl presses can’t keep up with the demand. The old companies have to expand and upgrade or give up, but new ones are popping up. It is an expensive venture. I’ll let Ben Rayner, in his Toronto Star article, January 24, 2015 bring you up to date at
But this vinyl movement might signal the way of the future, the answer – combining the old with the new. Think “radio.” Yes, radio; you know that audio device that’s been around for longer than me. Radio was the main way people found out quickly about events in World War II (The other modes around then, print news and film newscasts shown in movie theatres were not so up-to-date).
When television became very popular, pundits said radio would die. It didn’t. I’m sure the same has been said about both radio and TV since the Internet got going and spawned more and more technology.
Not true. Radio and television, while still operating on their own (somewhat. I’ll clarify that in a minute), are also connected to the Internet. You can watch TV programs online. Radio programs are broadcast online, often live-streamed. And there are online only radio and TV channels. For those of us who still like to watch our TV on an actual TV instead of online (the screen is larger for one thing), cable companies and the like offer program packages. There is also satellite TV.
True, a lot of the broadcasting companies for radio and television have amalgamated. But there is also more diversity on what is broadcast with all news stations, all sports stations and my favourite, an all classic music radio station (96.3 Classic FM for those who want to know).
Maybe this combination of old and new technology is the answer to the frenzied technological mess we are in. Maybe this is how the world gets back its technological equilibrium. And none too soon – before anyone else texting while crossing the street collides with a moving vehicle.
Now, if only all other extremes in the world (like the weather) could find their happy medium.
Meantime, my son’s band Beams will be holding a launch party for that seven-inch late this Thursday evening (January 29) at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Check it out at http://beamstheband.com/shows/
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes