I received a 7-inch vinyl record in the mail last week. And I’ll never play it. I like the artist, avant-rock icon Roger Miller (from Mission of Burma), and the songs, “Big Steam” b/w “Dream Interpretation,” which I listened to on the Good Road record label’s Soundcloud page. But the vinyl comes with a free MP3 download, so if you buy the record, you need not play it, either.
Then what’s the point of vinyl in 2012?
Let’s skip the “vinyl sounds better” debate; digital media sounds fine enough. It comes down to ownership: People still cling to physical objects. Part of that is because we’re used to handing over money and receiving an actual product, not “nontransferable rights” to use the music for as long as you’re alive, which is actually what you agree to when you buy digital content from iTunes and Amazon.
Even though you won’t have access to your 7 inches after death, your heirs will. It’s unclear whether that will be the case with your digital library. Until those rights are ironed out, viva la vinyl.
Mission of Burma plays the Black Cat on Sept. 8