How do you take your music these days? For those in Camp Tangible, it seems our ranks are certainly growing, and in the analog direction. For the first time since 1987, vinyl record sales have outperformed CD sales in the US, according to a new report. The CD, which saved us all from the cassette, was a digital revolution in music. But for some, the love was lost somewhere among the ones and zeroes.
Those who prefer pure analog troughs of sound cut into wax have never given up on vinyl, and the real ones probably gobbled up a bunch of it in the 90s when everybody was CD-crazy. But mind you these aren’t used vinyl sales we’re talking about, which means that enough new vinyl has to have been readily available for purchase for quite some time now. Although it doesn’t really seem like that long, new vinyl’s been back for almost 20 years — and according to the report, 2022 was the 16th consecutive year of growth for record sales.
So Why Vinyl?
Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, but there was a time in my 1980s childhood when vinyl was all this scribe had to listen to. I have historically been a bit slow to adopt new music formats — I didn’t have a CD player until 1998, and it was given to me for my birthday. I was excited to get the thing, mind you, especially since it had 10 seconds of anti-skip protection (which of course was a huge concern with portable CD players).
But CDs are way different from records. Sure, they’re both round, but the similarities sort of end there. For one thing, the artwork is disappointingly small compared to vinyl. And the whole gatefold album cover thing isn’t really possible with a CD, unless you forego the jewel case and release it in a chintzy little cardboard jacket. But then people will have this one disc that’s four times thinner than the rest and it throws everything off in the collection.
Continue reading “Vinyl Sales Ran Circles Around CDs In 2022” →
[Victoria Shen] modifies glue-on nails to give her the ability to play vinyl records with her fingers. Details are light but from the many glamour pictures, it looks like she pushes record player needles through glue-on nails with thin pickup wire that then presumably goes to an audio jack for amplification.
[Victoria] experiments with novel musical tools for use in her art and performances. Be sure to check out the videos of the nails in action. The combination of “scratching” and ability to alter the speed of vinyl with the free fingers creates a weird and eerie experience.
Using her “Needle Nails”, [Victoria] has found she’s able to play multiple records simultaneously (Nitter). Thanks to the different diameters of 33, 78 and 45 vinyls, she’s able to stack them up while still keeping her fingers on them.
Glove like musical instruments are nothing new but the novel use of fashion, glamour and technology allow [Victoria Shen] the freedom to create something uniquely weird and cool, so much so that Beyonce used it in a video shoot for Vogue (Nitter).
Continue reading “The Sound Of Nails On Black Vinyl Records” →
If you ever been curious how old-school jukeboxes work, it’s all electromechanical and no computers. In a pair of videos, [Technology Connections] takes us through a detailed dive into the operation of a 1970 Wurlitzer Statesman model 3400 that he bought with his allowance when he was in middle school. This box can play records at either 33-1/3 or 45 RPM from a carousel of 100 discs, therefore having a selection of 200 songs. This would have been one of the later models, as Wurlitzer’s jukebox business was in decline and they sold the business in 1973.
This may be the ugliest jukebox ever produced.
This jukebox is actually what turned me into the weirdo that I am today.
External appearances aside, it’s the innards of this mechanical wonder that steal the show. The mechanism is known as the Wurlamatic, invented by Frank B. Lumney and Ronald P. Eberhardt in 1967. Check out the patent US3690680A document for some wonderful diagrams and schematics that are artwork unto themselves. Continue reading “Jukebox Electromechanical Automation Explained” →