Vinyl goes mainstream
With Adele topping the vinyl album charts last year, record players aren't just for hipsters any more. Our resident Kiss92 DJ/journo jumps on the bandwagon
So I bought a record player.
A decade ago, the only ones buying records were old dudes and hipsters.
For the old dudes, it's all about nostalgia.
They grew up playing vinyl records and they found a certain comfort in keeping up with the habit.
For the hipsters, it was more about retro cool.
Like crazy beards and artisanal mustards, vinyl records have the sort of old-timey authenticity that the hipsters crave.
These days, however, record collecting is becoming less of a niche hobby and more of a mainstream thing.
Exhibit A: Adele.
Her latest album 25 was the biggest seller of 2015, moving in excess of 100,000 vinyl albums in the US alone.
Taylor Swift came in second.
That's as mainstream as it gets, folks.
OLD SCHOOL: Jason Johnson with his beloved Flash Gordon record. PHOTO: COURTESY OF JASON JOHNSON
Vinyl sales have risen every year for the past decade in the US.
In 2015, the number rose by a whopping 30 per cent.
They now account for around five per cent of all albums sold.
Anyway, those are just the stats.
The important thing to know about vinyl is that it's super fun.
My new record player is a Philips OTT2000.
It cost only around $250 and it's adorable.
The first record I played on it was the Flash Gordon original soundtrack by Queen.
My young kids gathered around and watched in fascination as I put the needle in the groove for the first time.
We actually sat down as a family and listened to the entire album.
My older boy read comics. My younger son drew Darth Vader.
Not one video game in sight.
It was a scene right out of the 70s and I loved it.
Speaking of the 70s, one of my favourite 70s rockers, the late David Bowie, currently holds the No. 1 position on the vinyl charts in the US and UK with his final album Blackstar -which is EXACTLY the sort of album you want to have, hear and hold on a real record.
The man may have entered the spirit world, but owning the vinyl makes you feel like you have a tiny physical piece of him.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the convenience of digital music and I have literally thousands of songs on my iPhone.
Thing is, they feel disposable.
I love listening to my iPhone when I'm riding on a train, walking around in the city or trying to avoid talking to people, but it's no fun listening to your iPhone at home.
When I'm at home, I want to have a special place to enjoy music.
I want to listen to a whole album.
I want the visual pleasure of the album cover.
I want the tactile pleasure of taking the record out of its sleeve and putting it on the turntable.
It's a relaxing and rejuvenating ritual.
What goes around comes around.