I Want Vinyl for Christmas

Andrew Coyne discusses the analog counter-revolution and considers various explanations for it. Here’s his best one:

Still, there is a more fundamental reason for the analog counter-revolution, and that is simple physicality. We are physical beings. We live in a three-dimensional world. The things we love are not dimensionless bits of data, perfect and indestructible, but things with weight and volume that decay over time: that grow old with us.

As tangible things, books and albums are objects of veneration that their mere contents cannot fully explain. Possibly that is connected to their relative scarcity. The collector of records or books in physical form enjoys a thrill unknown to the digital downloader, of the prize that is won through adversity: the discovery that comes only after many hours of searching through dusty store shelves.

But also there is the fuller menu of senses they engage. Among the casualties of the digital music revolution was one of the great 20th-century art forms: the album cover. You can see millennials almost swooning at the world they have lost.



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