What’s going on here? Your kids and grandchildren keep asking to go through your basement, your garage, and your attic—but they don’t want old family photos, children’s books, or school art projects. Nope, they want your old albums.
They’ll shriek with delight if they find any vintage rock in fair condition, even if you wore the grooves down heavily back in the day. Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, the Stones, and yes, even the ubiquitous Frampton Live send them into a paroxysm of joy.
You’ve got boxes full of them, and they’re heavy. They take up far more space than CD or Bluetooth speakers paired with a smartphone. You’re happy to let your kids cart those old albums, turntables, and bulky speakers away. But why are millennials and Gen Z obsessed with vinyl records?
The Impact of Dynamic Range
The digital age brought with it the Loudness War, where producers came to believe that louder was better. This led to records with limited dynamic range, as sound engineers compressed audio files to make the whole track sound louder.
Unfortunately, this reduced the dynamic range, which led to loud but lifeless music with few subtle variations in dynamics. Vinyl records, with a range of 55–70 decibels, can’t produce the 90–96 decibel level of digital music. This allows listeners to experience the music in a way that sounds closer to the artist’s actual live performance.
The Idea of a Warm and Open Sound
Since the early days of phonographs and gramophones, recorded music has captured the feeling of the music “breathing” in the room. But digital music can sound thin or flat. Even with crackles and skips, vinyl sounds seem more “authentic.” Younger generations appreciate the warm and open sound that vinyl records produce.
The Tactile and Sensory Experience of Vinyl Records
The digital era has led to a detachment from the tactile experience of recorded music. Vinyl records are making a resurgence because they offer a complete sensory experience—from carefully holding the record by its edges to placing it on a turntable and lowering the stylus.
Vinyl records allow listeners to listen to the tracks in the intended order and flip the record over, creating an intentional listening experience that’s hard to achieve with digital formats.
Vinyl records now represent a unique collectible enclave, providing millennials and Gen Z with a sense of nostalgia and exclusivity. Limited edition pressings, colored vinyl, and, of course, sound quality all contribute to the allure of building a vinyl collection.
As the digital age saturates our lives, millennials and Gen Z are becoming obsessed with vinyl records. They have come to appreciate the careful artisanship, artistic expression, and engaging experience that vinyl records offer. Share your memories and expertise while celebrating your love for vinyl records. And when you need a little extra cash, check your local vinyl record store—your collection could be worth far more than you ever imagined!