Do you ever wonder what happened to turntables and vinyl records? Maybe you sit back and think are vinyl records even still being made? We are going to explore this in this article, and hopefully give you a definitive answer to all your questions.
Are vinyl records still made? Vinyl records are still in production today and the market is growing rapidly. Multiple different sizes of vinyl records are still being produced including 7”, 10”, and 12”. The main speeds of vinyl records that are still being produced today are 45 rpm and 33⅓ rpm.
When the newest trend in vinyl record collecting came, the need to manufacture new records by new artists grew with it. In fact, the trend is so high that in some places vinyl records outsell all other forms of music including CDs and Digital Downloads. So the question that remains is why?
Vinyl Records Are Still In Production
After a long run of music, production records became almost completely useless when the industry ditched the technology for CD production. For nearly 30 years, records or LPs were all but forgotten by everyone except collectors.
Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere in 2007, the sale of vinyl records began to increase. It was a small splash in the wave that was coming for the music industry. This brought companies old and new to fire up the record press. Some factories will even allow for a tour of the facility to watch the process.
Is New Music On Vinyl Records?
By 2010, the trend of vinyl records saw a lot of growth with new artists pushing more and more to include vinyl pressings of their albums. You can now buy new pressings of your favorite artists from just about anytime frame new and old.
Most records are produced on a 12” vinyl with a speed of 33⅓ rpm. There are pressings sometimes found on 7” and 10” as well as 45 rpm. Some bands and labels have really brought some exciting ideas to the releases of their records with boxsets and exclusive artwork.
So Who’s Buying Vinyl?
People from all walks of life with all types of music preferences being equally represented are buying vinyl. The early adopters of the most recent resurgence of vinyl have been mostly indie, or independent, artists and their fans. The production of vinyl has spread however to include repressing of old music all the way to modern-day pop and rap music.
Why The Big Come Back?
Well, for us personally, there is just something about opening a fresh record. You slice the shrink-wrap so carefully, slide the inner sleeve out and record out of the outer jacket, carefully grab the lip of the record and place it on your turntable.
The ritual is almost intoxicating when you hear the first needle drop. As the music begins to play, you carefully sit back and inspect the artwork and sleeve of your new record. For me personally, there is something about not easily changing tracks. You are forced to hear the whole store of an album while intentionally slowing down. I love every minute of it.
Some of the other reasons we think there is an appeal to move to vinyl include:
- Sound quality and overall listening experience you gain with a quality turntable and setup.
- Collector’s item. Who doesn’t want merch from their favorite band?
- Aesthetics or wow factor. Let’s face it vinyl records and their artwork are just plain cool.
- Tangible goods. Why buy something you can not hold or touch? It might as well be the coolest form!
Are Vinyl Records Still Made The Same Way?
For the most part, the technology used to produce vinyl records has remained the same. They still use lathes to cut the master disk to place in the press. The vinyl record is then pressed from the master disc.
There are factories like United Record Pressing that run tours of their facilities that will walk you not only through their factory but also the process of recording and pressing an LP. If you are ever in Nashville, we highly encourage you to stop by and schedule a walkthrough; it is educational, fun, and entertaining.
Sony announced after 28 years of nothing that it would begin fully producing vinyl records again. They opened a vinyl-record-only plant in Tokyo in order to fulfill this plan with the same technology lathes and pressing machines as before. The limit of these machines makes it difficult for players to enter this field in the industry.
How Do You Listen To Your Vinyl On The Go?
In the past, this was the whole issue for vinyl records. You can not exactly take your collection with you and play your music on the go or in the car. Turntables, by nature, are just not portable. Even the suitcase turntables are not that portable, and they definitely do not sound good. This is where new technology steps into the picture. What we did not have in the past was digital copies of our music.
Now, a lot of records come with a digital download card which allows you to download a copy of your record in digital format. This was a great solution to the problem, and people have adopted it. Amazon has a great program with a lot of their records also called AutoRip where you receive a digital copy of the vinyl you buy from them. The other thing people will do often is pair their records with a subscription to Amazon Music, Spotify, or Apple Music. This allows them to have the best of both worlds: convenience, and travel-friendly digital, and a great listening experience when they are home.
So, Where Can You Buy New Vinyl Records?
Some great big names that are carrying vinyl are Amazon, Walmart, Target, and several others. Our favorite place to buy locally is always our local record shops. Yes, they still exist!
At Vinyl Bro, anytime we go out of town, we make a point to travel around the area we are staying and visit the local shops. You can usually meet great people and get awesome recommendations.
If you like finding good deals and ordering online but do not want to go the Amazon route, we encourage you to check out Discogs. The premise behind Discogs is individuals list their collections and grade the vinyl records they are selling. You can purchase directly from them and review the purchase similar to eBay reviewing sellers.
Ok, But Can I Sell My Old Vinyl Records?
Of course, you can. Local shops are usually pretty fair if you go in with the understanding that they also have to make money. They are not going to pay you collectors pricing or MSRP.
If that’s what you are looking for, we highly suggest you set up a Discogs account or eBay account and try to sell there. We think that you may find with shipping cost and materials you will likely do just as well at the local shop and with less headache.
Even with Media Mail shipping for vinyl records your cost to ship the record is still higher than you think once you factor in vinyl-specific shipping boxes. Read our post about shipping vinyl records with media mail if you want to learn more about the process and cost.
Are Vinyl Records Still Made? A Conclusion
Vinyl Records are not only still made, but they have brought about a very welcome industry for musicians again. In a day and age where artists do not make nearly as much money from sales or plays, this is a welcome relief.
We think that with big labels like Sony opening their record presses back up that this signals that this trend is here to stay for a while and we are here for it.
There is nothing comparable to the experience of hunting down an old record that brings you memories in flawless condition or finding out your favorite new artist is coming out with a new LP. This experience has opened the eyes and hearts of many to collecting vinyl records.