Can Classical Music Cue a Vinyl Revival? Digital Quality a Concern Amid Devotees
Vinyl record sales have seen a resurgence of late, albeit mainly among albums of popular music and certain niche genres like punk, electronic and hip hop. As digital downloads and streaming services continue to deliver content of dubious sound quality, classical music fans pine for their own phonographic revival.
Listeners are largely aware of the record industry's pecuniary plummet since the dawn of digital media and subsequent culture of music piracy. However, collectors and enthusiasts have again taken to buying their favorite new and catalog albums on wax -- in numbers not seen since the LP's early '90s mainstream exit. The noticeable uptick in vinyl album sales has given some music business big wigs a sigh of relief.
Thanks to industry boons like Record Store Day and a growing consumer awareness of sound quality, music buffs are now demanding phonic perfection more than ever before. A task historically left solely to audiophiles, discerning music fans now seek out the best in turntables, preamps and speakers. As a subset within the realm of audio aficionados, classical music lovers often get the short end of the stick when it comes to suitable LP reissues of esteemed works.
Founder of classical reissue label Electric Recording Co., Pete Hutchison is no stranger to the affront of contemporary digital releases. He started the LP-only imprint to make vinyl editions of important classical works available to the public.
Speaking to The Guardian, Hutchison highlighted the deception of digital versus analog recordings, citing the Compact Disc's dishonest introduction:
"[It's] the great con. They said that CDs were indestructible, but they weren't. They said it would sound better, but with the MP3 we are at probably the lowest point in the history of sound. It's a compressed file. If you try to play an orchestra over a proper sound system on MP3, it's just garbage."
Further illustrating his point in the lost kinship of communal music listening, Hutchison relayed to the Telegraph his relational and reverent musical rearing:
"I grew up in a house where if we went into the sitting room and my mum and dad were playing a record, we couldn't talk over the music. It was a meditative thing, and you sat down and listened like you do at a concert."
Only time will tell what's in store for vinyl reissues of beloved classical music. Thanks to devoted entrepreneurs like Hutchison, there is still hope for quality gramophone remasters of cherished concertos and significant symphonies.
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