DON’T CALL IT A COME BACK!
Instagram’s Strength in Numbers, and How They Were An Important Tool in the Resurgence of Vinyl.
By: Justin White
Picture taken from Amazon.com, via Google.com/ Images
One of the most popular ways music has been presented is on vinyl. Invented by Peter Carl Goldmark in the 1930s while he worked for Columbia Records, vinyl was the top dog until, around the early 1980s, when CDs were born and stole the spotlight. Almost immediately, advancements in technology grew at alarmingly rapid rates and vinyl began to lose the appeal it once had. With this growth and all it’s advancements, music technology took on different forms like mp3s, and then on to streaming where songs live solely on the Internet and can be accessed at any time without the listener ever having to leave home.
Around the time of the mid-2000s, a new form of media called Instagram was born, a form of media that boasts 60% of users being between the ages of 18 and 29 (a.k.a. millennials) according to business.com. Instagram allowed its users to constantly post pictures of whatever it is they wanted, which in turn fostered the creation of profiles that were frequently visited and liked for their dedication to certain aspects of life. For example there are profiles for weightlifting, like Pat Mendes or Morghan King; and profiles for fashion, like Julia Engel or Chiarra Ferragni. Vinyl even has profiles on Instagram. Whether it’s for brick and mortar stores, DJs, or simply just fans, vinyl has been able to find its place within this new media.
Most importantly, Instagram has brought fans of vinyl closer together. And it gave a once dying medium a voice by way of being able to constantly post pictures that tell a story only in a way imagined by those who are involved. Amoeba Records in the U.S., Curated Records in Singapore, and Tiny Record Shop in Ontario all have Instagram pages where they post nearly everyday about the going-ons in the store, adding in sporadic pictures of customers enjoying the store, which are clearly meant to pull on the strings of nostalgia that every millennial seems to have. Although, it’s not just nostalgia, it is a feeling of not wanting to be constantly subjected to a sound that has been dubbed as being too “plastic,” where as the music from the years of vinyl gave off a more “real” sound that is highly desired by younger generations.
Undoubtedly, the power of being able to advertise constantly, and curate your image pretty much to a “t” of what your vision is, makes for compelling content that can bring almost anything back from the dead. And if it wasn’t for the popularity of media like Instagram and Twitter, vinyl might still be riding on the coat tails of some of the more popular artists of our time, like Ariana Grande, or Kendrick Lamar. Instead we have the RIAA reporting that vinyl brought in a revenue stream of $395 million in 2017 alone. Even more insane is the fact that these results did not take into account the physical sales from record stores, which were estimated to be in the range of 16 – 17 million units in 2017.
In conclusion, thanks to the efforts of the younger generations of today, vinyl has found it’s way back into the mainstream view. With innovations like Instagram, younger generations have been able to share their love of vinyl with each other, showing the true strength in numbers. Showing that what they yearn for is something more tangible, something that allows interaction with music in a world where that has been all but stripped away. Whether vinyl will ever surpass digital fully is unknown, but one thing is for sure, and that is that vinyl has once again been given the value it deserves.
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