To the dismay of many vinyl fans, once things like CDs, cassettes, and eventually digital music came around, the number of tracks and albums that became available on vinyl diminished immensely as the economic benefits of the new forms of media far outweighed those of vinyl. Recently, however, vinyl has been making a comeback as improvements in speaker fidelity has made the quality difference more noticeable and sought after by audiophiles.
Despite this rise in sales, most music is still unavailable on vinyl due to the fact that unless around 500 records can be sold, the companies won’t even bother to press them. Seeing this demand with a huge lack of supply, companies like Qrates in collaboration with Vinylize.it have come up with a way to get more records pressed. Fans can request to have a certain track pressed, and if enough people request it, the companies will contact the artist for a studio quality master, and then press and distribute the vinyl.
While it is nice to have this as an option, there are certainly still issues with service. The first, and most obvious, is that for any track to be printed, it a. will need a few hundred people to request it, and b. need the artists permission and studio master which could be impossible to get knowing labels these days.
The second issue is the fact that what makes makes most vinyl so high quality is the fact that it is recorded in analog and therefore has a theoretically infinite bitrate (high bit rate = high quality). Unfortunately, pretty much all dance music, and most other forms of music, are recorded digitally these days at a bit rate varying from 600 to nearly 1500 bits. Considering that most mp3s are normally 320 bits, and most people can’t really tell the difference past that without a fairly high quality sound system or a well developed ear, this isn’t a huge deal. Regardless, however, most of the music still cannot be as perfect as an analog recording, so while the service is very interesting, it would often not be any different from just having a WAV or AIFF file of the track on your computer. In light of this, those looking for a better quality sound may want to go down a different path, however, if you are someone likes me who likes to use vinyl just for the experience, this is definitely the way to go. Visit their teaser web page here, and be on the lookout for the service’s debut!