I still remember when I bought my first vinyl. I was at a show at the old Strutt in Kalamazoo (RIP), and the album came with a free CD, so I figured what the hell? Little did I know that dropping the needle onto the record's grooves would prove to be my first step on the road to becoming obsessed with vinyl. Sure, I realize streaming from Spotify may be the easy route, but purchasing vinyl has far more benefits.
First, there are the dollar bins at your local record store and various yard sales. You have to wade through loads of Kenny G and John Tesh before you get to anything good, but once you do find something you like, it basically feels like you've just found pirate booty buried underneath a leprechaun's pot of gold at the end of a double rainbow. It also you opens you up to diversifying your musical inclinations. I mean, you'd never actually buy that James Bond soundtrack normally, but come on, it's just one dollar.
Second, there's a hell of a lot of variety when it comes to vinyl. My own personal collection is filled with different types of clear, colored and 180 gram vinyl, 12” records that play at 45 rpm, split 7” records and other goodies. My girlfriend even enlisted contacts from Detroit to help her procure a rare, $60 imported limited edition colored LP from a semi-obscure Japanese stoner noise-rock band for my anniversary present (it was at this moment I knew it was true love).
Better yet for rarity geeks like myself, is the wide variety of items being produced exclusively for this year's Record Store Day (April 19). Artists from across genres band together to release special items specifically for the event, and this year has some enticing specials, from Pissed Jeans' limited edition live album to David Bowie's 7-inch picture disc.
Lastly, vinyl just sounds so much better. The crisp, crackling sound that sparks as the needle drops is one of the most comforting noises I've ever heard, and the audio embedded in the grooves of the record has more character than any digital file.
Of course, sound quality may be the least of my concerns when I've spent every last dime in my name on procuring the latest, rarest 7-inch. But we all have our vices, and if my biggest vice is enjoying music, then I think I'm doing pretty well.