Neil Young + Record Execs Say Vinyl Resurgence Is Just a Trend
Neil Young has long spoken out about the inferior sound quality of MP3s, which led him to develop the recently launched Pono digital music player. But when it comes to the resurgence of vinyl, the iconic singer-songwriter asserts it’s “nothing but a fashion statement.”
“A lot of people that buy vinyl today don’t realize that they’re listening to CD masters on vinyl and that’s because the record companies have figured out that people want vinyl,” Young said during an interview with the L.A.-based radio show, the Frame (listen to the entire interview below). “And they’re only making CD masters in digital, so all the new products that come out on vinyl are actually CDs on vinyl, which is really nothing but a fashion statement.”
Young conceded that any growth in vinyl sales is ultimately “a good thing,” however he still argues that our culture is continually convenience-driven and vinyl doesn’t align with those demands.
With last year’s 52-percent increase in record sales, it’s certainly something that’s been weighing on the minds of those in the music industry, including record execs.
“I know a lot of people in the business who’ve gotten back into vinyl the last couple years,” Universal Music Distribution’s general manager, Candace Berry, said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “But I’m not sure they’re playing their vinyl every single day like they’re listening on their device.”
Tom Corson, the president of RCA, errs on Young’s side, saying, “It’s a sexy, cool product.”
He added that while he welcomes a revival in vinyl, he also notes that it’s “a small percentage of our business. It’s not going to make or break our year. We devote the right amount of resources to it, but it’s not something where we have a department for it.”
Likewise, Robb Nansel, the owner of the Omaha-based indie label, Saddle Creek, says it’s always great when people buy records, but he believes sales are "going to peak, if it hasn’t already.”
Where do you fall in this conversation? Take a listen to Young's interview below and then sound off in the comments section!