Buying Vinyl Without Being A Prick
Yes vinyl is cool, no I don't need you to punch me in the face with this fact.
Despite the ease of downloading music off the internet these days (how most teens get their tunes), vinyl is now being re-embraced by the youth and its purchase has become rather popular. This is good, vinyl is a great thing that brings you closer to the music, is taking teenagers further from the download link, and putting much more actual money in artists’ pockets . However, in our self-absorbed society vinyl is now being used to promote one’s ‘cool factor’, and with social media a part of everyday life, it’s an easy trap to fall into. The act of purchasing vinyl must be executed carefully to ensure happiness without up-yourself-ness and following these easy steps you can do so.
1. Don't send Snapchats of your new purchase
Okay, I may (in the past) have been guilty of this once or twice, but Snapchat is a definite no go zone when purchasing vinyl. We get it, you got a really old album and you’re going to play it on a really old machine, cool. The fact is the only thing most people care about on social media is themselves, and your sick POV shot of you holding ‘London Calling’ is going to go right over their heads, sprinkling down an essence of musical narcissism as it passes into their brain. No selfies with the turntable, no close-ups of the spinning disc and just generally no Snapchat accompanying your vinyl experience. You buy the album, you go home and you listen to it. You don’t need approval to be cool just get off your phone and appreciate the beauty of the vinyl.
2. Don’t buy the album because of the included download link
If you genuinely want the album and being able to put it on your iPod is just a bonus, then go ahead, but don’t pick out your albums depending on whether they come with a download code. Part of the joy of vinyl is being able to focus on the music itself. It creates a sense of intimacy between the music and the listener and heightens the overall experience of listening to the album. Buy the album because you want it, not for something to listen to on the bus. If that’s what you’re looking for then just download it.
3. Don't push people to buy vinyl
This could be the worst. As great as vinyl is and despite the industry needing to be supported, don’t judge people based on how they get their music. No one likes the guy that hates on people for downloading illegally and fact is they’ve probably done it themselves. Don’t try and be the saviour of the music industry by showing off your super retro purchasing capabilities. If people are genuinely into the music they like and want to keep the record store industry running they’ll buy from local shops, and if they don’t that’s their own decision. Realise you’re not the only person who buys vinyl, there’s still quite a large sub-culture of vinyl purchasers who are probably cooler than you.
4. Quality not quantity
I get it, record players are cool. Records are cool. This must mean having huge shelves filled with records is cool, right? Well, yes in a way. I understand the appeal of owning a big collection of vinyl. It shows your vast musical knowledge, your diversity in genre, your acceptance and love of all albums even if they have curves. But don’t buy the albums for the purpose of putting it on a shelf. Buy the albums you’re excited about and interested in, don’t just hoard all the records in the $1 crate if you know you won’t get around to playing them all. Don’t worry, your collection will build up over time, and when you’re old and grey, you can sit back in your posturepedic arm chair, look up at your walls of albums and enjoy the fact you’ve listened to - and appreciated - every one of them.
5. Don't write articles about how to buy vinyl
This is just you pretending you know everything about vinyl and a desperate means to show how retro and cool you are...
Vinyl is great. Dating back generations it still remains in my opinion the most authentic and romantic way of hearing an album and supporting your favourite bands. The experience of going to a record store, picking out an album and hearing it from a turntable with the cover in your hands undoubtedly beats the YouTube or iTunes music experience and is definitely more fun. If you’re buying vinyl purely for the street cred you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. Buy it for yourself and enjoy it for the music. Are these just the pet hates of a judgemental teenager? Probably. But before reaching for the Snapchat just keep in mind these rules and remind yourself why you bought the vinyl in the first place.
Header photo via Reezal Rosli Photography