Vinyl Scratchings [#20]

Yes, I am one of those irritating people that have decided to resurrect an audio format that, by all rights, should be long extinct. And, further yes, I’m also now going to complain about my irrational decision and why the industry is ruining it. Have you got the rage and sighs out? Okay, let’s continue.

First of all, because it’s likely the number one question any vinyl ‘enthusiast’ (I am not a fan of that term) gets asked, why do I buy vinyl? Well, it isn’t because of ‘superior’ sound quality. I don’t have the time, or money, to become an audiophile. No, honestly, it’s because I like collecting stuff and I like music. Vinyl collections are just more attractive to me than CD collections, although I have quite a large one of those too, and I find no joy in having a large digital media collection at all. Plus, the audio industry was forever changed the moment Spotify launched. I have subscriptions to both Spotify Premium and Amazon Music, which combined account for over 90% of my music listening habits. I no longer have any need to buy music.

Still, sometimes, I want to buy music. Most of the time it’s so I can support a specific artist; the rest of the time it’s because a given record has some personal significance to me. As a result, my vinyl collection is not full of one-time release, special edition recordings from bands you’ve never heard of. It’s largely main stream, best selling albums from the likes of Linkin Park, Muse and the Killers. Still, because I’m part of the ‘digital generation’, a lot of these records are the first time I’ve owned some of my, personally, favourite and most influential music. As a result, I want these purchases to be special; I look at them as more than just ‘buying an album’ but as recognition of an album or artist that means something to me.

Yet, despite the enduring revival of the format, it seems that the prestige of vinyl is being forgotten. Most modern releases are a simple sleeve, with identical cover art to the CD (often not even at increased resolution), and nothing more. The records of the 70’s and 80’s delighted consumers with multi-hinge fold outs, ornate lyrics sheets, in depth leaflets about the album, artist, designers and everyone inbetween. Cover art was detailed and extravagant, with the entire package often being pain staking lay designed. Vinyl records felt special, rewarding your purchase with a product that somehow felt more than just an album. Conversely, modern CD albums tend to contain more of these features than the vinyl issue does.

This mass market reaction is predictable but should, theoretically, be matched in step by a shift in cost. However, far from making vinyl records cheaper, it seems that the resurgence of interest in the format has increased the expected RRP. As vinyl has become cool and collectable again, the price, particularly of sought after albums (even reissues), has steadily risen.

The result is a market where vinyl records now feel less special whilst costing more. There are some benefits to the mass market, such as the inclusion of digital download codes with vinyl purchases, but even these are hit and miss with little thought. A recent selection of albums I’ve bought contained a download code that had already expired (Sir Sly), a code with no corresponding website (Watsky) and a digital download given at lower than CD quality compression (Glitch Mob). Vinyl albums, especially ones that hold their value, tend to have long shelf lives, tend to be bought by people who have a decent understanding of audio quality and are largely purchased by fans of that artist. None of those interactions made me feel like my purchase mattered to the bands involved. They left a bitter taste in the mouth.

There are those that do get it, though. Cat Power’s Sun is a fantastic example of a vinyl that rewards the consumer. It comes with both a CD and digital download code (amazing) and the specially designed insert sleeves include lyrics, credits, interesting information and much more. Plus, it looks great and sounds amazing, making the purchase so much more special. Also, Florence & The Machine Lungs which has a proper bi-fold sleeve and some stunning album art. Ironically, both cost much less than other, rather disappointing vinyls. Hopefully artists will begin to take pride in the way their art is presented again as they used to.

CSV Albums: A Database

For the most part, using the Universal Scrobbler is as simple as searching for the artist/album you want and hitting Scrobble. There are a couple of albums I have, however, which don’t seem to be searchable on the relevant databases. Luckily there is a CSV entry option which makes scrobbling whole albums super easy. I figured I might as well leave the converted CSV files online, just in case they come in handy for anyone else (plus, it acts as a backup/easy access for me as well). I’ll add to/update this post whenever I find some new ones.

UPDATE: (06/04/17) I’ve converted all of the CSV lists to use quote-mark column delimiters. By doing so, I can have track titles that contain commas without worrying about odd results – hooray!

The Atrocity Exhibition – Lazy Habits

“Lazy Habits”,”Kicking The Clouds”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Feed the Brass”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Left 2 (Ruins)”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Crossing”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”The Breach”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Answer With Quiestions”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Hindsight Bias”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Cold Shoulder Freestyle”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”The Terminal Beach”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Give It Up”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Sanity For Sanctuary”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Never Did”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”
“Lazy Habits”,”Waiting Around – Bonus Track”,”The Atrocity Exhibition”

Lazy Habits – Lazy Habits

“Lazy Habits”,”Processional”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Ashes”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Surface Dirt”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Even Out”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,””Perfect Sentence””,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Ghosts (Fallen)”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Memory Banks (feat. Baby Sol)”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Starting Fires”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Fades”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”The Road”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”An Interlude”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Bulletin”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”The Drowned World”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Please People”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Recessional”,”Lazy Habits”
“Lazy Habits”,”Ghosts (Screen and Fallen)”,”Lazy Habits”

Sun – Cat Power

“Cat Power”,”Cherokee”,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”Sun”,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”Ruin”,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”3,6,9″,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”Always on My Own”,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”Real Life”,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”Human Being”,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”Manhattan”,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”Silent Machine”,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”Nothin’ But Time”,”Sun”
“Cat Power”,”Peace and Love”,”Sun”

Cold Fact – Rodriguez

“Rodriguez”,”Sugar Man”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”Only Good for Conversation”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”Crucify Your Mind”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”This Is Not a Song, It’s an Outburst: Or, the Establishment Blues”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”Hate Street Dialogue”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”Forget It”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”Inner City Blues”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”I Wonder”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”Like Janis”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”Gommorah (A Nursery Rhyme)”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”Rich Folks Hoax”,”Cold Fact”
“Rodriguez”,”Jane S. Piddy”,”Cold Fact”

Palookaville – Fatboy Slim

“Fatboy Slim”,”Don’t Let the Man Get You Down”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”Slash Dot Dash”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”Wonderful Night”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”Long Way from Home”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”Put It Back Together”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”Mi Bebé Masoquista”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”Push & Shove”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”North West Three”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”The Journey”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”Jin Go Lo Ba”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”Song for Chesh”,”Palookaville”
“Fatboy Slim”,”The Joker”,”Palookaville”