The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 975: More vinyl stories

At the dawn of the 21st century, vinyl was dead, dead, dead. We were all going digital and the general consensus was that we were going digital so there was no point in keeping this ancient format. Vinyl records were dusty, scratchy, noisy, and easily damaged. They took up too much storage space. They got warped and got water damaged.

But the biggest knock against vinyl was that it wasn’t portable. MP3s were a brand-new thing back then and the idea of being able to carry around a thousand songs in your picket was pretty sexy.

While vinyl never went out of production, fewer and fewer records were manufactured. Pressing plants shut down and the machinery either sold off for parts or scrapped entirely. And if you happened to need a new turntable or cartridge, good luck.

Two groups of people stood between vinyl and its extinction: Hardcore old-school collectors who refused to buy into all the digital promises and DJs who preferred spinning records instead of mixing CDs.

Vinyl was doomed. But then it wasn’t.

Starting in 2008, a weird thing happened. Like some zombie in one of those old Italian movies of the early 80s, the format rose from the dead and started to eat our brains again. And today, vinyl is doing something it hasn’t done since the early 90s: generating more revenue than compact discs. In sheer numbers, CDs still rule. But because vinyl sells at a premium, it brings in more money than CDs.

Despite supply chain issues, shortages of polyvinyl chloride, back-ups at pressing plants, and higher and higher prices, more people are getting into vinyl every day. With that in mind, here are a few more stories about a format that refuses to go away.

Songs heard on this program:

    • Roxy Music, Avalon
    • RHCP, Around the World
    • The Cure, Close to Me (12-inch)
    • Slightly Stoopid, Dabbington
    • U2, Two Hearts Beat as One (UK 12-inch)
    • Fischer Z, The Worker
    • Joy Division, Love Will Tear Us Apart (alternate version)
    • Clash, Train in Vain
    • Alice in Chains, Them Bones

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

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