Review 2016

RPM Review 2016.

Here we are again; the end of another really enjoyable RPM year…….and I’m looking forward to what RPM members will bring along in the forthcoming 12 months in the way of Mystery Albums and themed songs.

I always say this at the end of every year and I will continue to do so…………thank you all so much for your continued support throughout 2016. Without you folks there would be no club. Suggestions for themes and guest biscuits are always welcome as are written pieces relating to your Mystery Albums.

Vinyl vs Download.

In December, it was announced on the news that vinyl record sales had overtaken sales of digital downloads for the first time since digital arrived in 2004 on iTunes. Fantastic! What a signal to those huge record corporations who told us that the vinyl record was obsolete and hoped we all re-bought our collections on the new shiny CD format…………..Stick that in your pipe and smoke it! This year about 75% of what I’ve bought has been on vinyl, which made me very happy. What makes me even happier is when the vinyl copy comes with a digital download code. Yes, I love vinyl but I also love the convenience of having music on my laptop or on a memory stick so I can take music to work or plug it into the car hi-fi system. Gratifyingly, a lot of what I bought actually did come with a download code, but a few didn’t………..which I think is a bit mean on the part of those particular releases. I can see perhaps the record company is hoping the punter will buy both formats; vinyl and CD / download, but in reality, I don’t think the majority of people will do this. I certainly haven’t. So why not give download codes with ALL vinyl releases, please, Mr Record Company Boss? Maybe they’re worried about the potential decline of the CD if this were to happen?......how ironic.

Vinyl and the Idea of the Album.

I think the record buying public has historically been loosely split into two camps; album buyers and singles buyers, song downloads being really just an extension of buying a single. Record buyers that have had their feet more in the album buying camp, and I’d put myself there, have possibly always thought of the 10 or so songs on an album as being a complete whole, to be listened to all the way through, the song order being specifically decided upon by the artist for a reason. Again, I’d include myself as having that view. One thing that seems to be re-emerging out of the increased sales of vinyl is an awareness of the album as an artistic statement. A piece on the Today program on Radio 4 suggested that the new vinyl album renaissance was in fact instrumental in re-establishing this concept with younger record buyers. I think it’s brilliant that younger record buyers have “got it”…………..and you may remember that this is actually one of the ideas behind the setting up of RPM…………just look at the home page…..“Striking back in a rejection of today’s single song, downloadable, 20 second attention span, music as background noise, pick and mix culture, take some time out to listen to albums in the way in which they were conceived; from beginning to end.

So, here’s a glass raised to a new year of fantastic new vinyl albums………..with download codes. If they are as good as some of the releases I picked up in 2016, ( Hawkwind – The Machine Stops, Wolf People – Ruins on clear vinyl, Luther Dickinson – Blues and Ballads, thanks Philip for the heads up on this one ) it will be a grand year.

Tim