Monday, December 23, 2013

Vinyl Experience (7) Vinyl coexist with digital

Text:Fumimasa Hori

“A higher quality of vinyl manufacture is one reason for the revival but some record companies have been incentivising record sales with free digital copies and this is believed to have had an even greater impact.” (metro UK)

I introduced the phenomenon that vinyl popularity come back as anti-digital music in part 5. However, there is a viewpoint that vinyl has revived by the appearance of digital music on the contrary. Herm Baker, an owner of an independent record store ”Vertigo Music” in Grand Rapids, Mishigan talks about reason which they can survive despite of the long recession. Herm said “ Why we can survive is the explosive sales of vinyl in recent years. It’s a simple thing. A lot of labels have enclosed password for download with vinyl now. How much are our management helped by this? ”

Also such passage appears on the magazine/the web media Wired.

" Because these music fans also listen using portable players and computers, Matador and other labels include coupons in record packaging that can be used to download MP3 versions of the songs. Patrick Amory of Matador called the coupon program hugely popular."

We can understand one of the reason vinyl sales are up in western countries is that adding download code as something extra is effective. Enclosing download code with vinyl is usual practice now. We can use listening way properly, for example, in case we listen to at the outside by digital, but when we want to listen to thoroughly at home by vinyl, or buying vinyl as collection, actually listening to by digital. It’s a good example that analog and digital smoothly coexist. 

It seems that urging this movement is the service “Amazon Autorip” US Amazon launched from January this year. Explaining this service by one word, when you buy CDs you can get MP3 tracks by free. Independent  record stores where have supported the popularity of  vinyl began to approach selling digital. 

A famous record shop in California, Amoeba launched the web service “Vinyl Vaults” which is digitize rare and out-of-print records and sell them through online in this year. Amoeba invested 100 million yen for Vinly Vaults and hired 200 staffs, so I feel their strong will toward this business. The media have been pointed out copyright issue from launching the service, but Amoeba have gone to the service without flinching. Launching the service with taking consideration of risk of lawsuits is typical of US companies like Google or Youtube have resisted against existing copyright law.

London independent record store Rough Trade launched the subscription service “Tracks of the week” with UK newspaper Guardian. When you pay 2.99 by a week, you are sent new six tracks of mp3 selected by Rough Trade by every Friday. Introducing the system called “Rough Trade Card”, they will launch the same service as “Amazon Autorip”.

While Rough Trade&Amoeba continue to sell vinyl record at real record shop, they launch new digital services. We can understand their approach is so flexible that they don’t regard digital music as the oppositional but co-exist successfully. They exactly expand the possibilities that listeners who listen to only digital music will have an interest about vinyl. (cont'd)

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