Vinyl records have found a new generation of fans. This issue Phil and Kevin from Eel Pie Records are handing their column over to teenager Leah Ash, to explain the enthusiasm…
I received a turntable for my 15th birthday: cheap and garish may be the best way to describe it but I was over the moon with it. Growing up, I was mesmerised by vinyl and the power it held in such tiny grooves. How could something so simple echo magic created by so many brilliant musicians? I was babysat to the sounds of The Beatles, blown away by Blondie and I feel very lucky to have been exposed to such amazing music.
But as I get older, streaming platforms satisfy the needs of so many, providing music quickly and with good quality and most young people seem to give in to the fast-paced nature of the music industry. Yet to myself and countless other young people, you just can’t beat authenticity at its finest, and that comes from vinyl.
Vinyl has always held so much power: it’s the past, the present and the future. Especially in terms of older music, LPs have been able to transport people back to gigs and festivals, hearing music as it was and in the ways in which it was intended (I’m not sure how big a fan of music-streaming John Lennon would’ve been).
With the help of records, I’ve been at Knebworth watching Oasis and at the Unplugged gig in New York with Nirvana. A miracle by my standards, seeing as I wasn’t alive for either of them! But not only this, vinyl allows you to own something from your favourite artists, evidence of their craft and their love of music. Holding these memoirs and treasures brings you closer to your favourite artists; a lot of people feel that vinyl is the purest version of a recording you can get and I think there’s something special in that.
For so many young people, music is common ground for them and parents and other family members. Me and my dad have made countless days out of record stores, second-hand sales and music festivals. Music is one of the few things we have in common and we are forever sharing songs and albums that we have memories associated with. And as a lot of the older generation tend to fall behind in terms of technology, streaming can be a difficult concept for them to grasp. Vinyl holds the same amount of memories as photos and videos, it reminds us of love, happy days and the music that got us through the hard times. My love of records and music also enabled me to secure myself a part-time job at Eel Pie Records which has allowed me to make amazing friends and widen my musical horizons, which I am very grateful for.
Another issue with streaming is that to fully invest yourself in music, you have to pay to have adverts removed and unlimited skips and – trust me – no one wants Tesco adverts in between songs…Ever. Also, streaming services often have the ‘shuffle’ option as the default and I am a firm believer that an album or EP should be listened to in the order the artist intended. Artists do everything for a reason and we, as listeners, should respect all their creative decisions because the beauty of music is that it tells a story and we owe artists our full attention.
Buying records also helps smaller artists as they are making a bigger profit off of their art as opposed to receiving very little from their music being streamed; ultimately, we should be aiming to help artists in need, especially since COVID when lots of them were forced to try and find other work.
Vinyl has continued to satisfy the needs of so many people from so many different backgrounds. Music is one of the few things that unites us all and records have done a great job in keeping the faith alive.