We want to know what your first record was, too! Be sure to enter the Record Store Day contest on our Facebook page by telling us your first ever record purchase (vinyl, CD, digital or whatever), and you could win a brand new record player and a collection of vinyl records.
My first record: Kegan Warner
In the days leading up to this year's Record Store Day on April 19, the OpenAir hosts will share the story of their first-ever record purchases, however memorable or misguided they may have been. Next up is weekend host and web director Kegan Warner.
I purchased my first album in the form of the 7” single “Jesus,” from Brand New’s 2006 album “The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me,” but this transaction had much larger connotations than just owning a cool single on vinyl. It changed my perspective on music.
I had a long-running infatuation with the band Brand New. I had listened to their entire discography hundreds of times. I had attended their shows. I had even bought a dozen or so T-shirts to show everyone else how much I loved them. But the interesting thing is, it never really culminated with the purchase of a physical copy of any of their albums. Like many of my generation, by the time I was old enough to collect music and refine my musical preferences, we were already waist deep in the digital music revolution.
For me, it started with Napster, and by the time of its demise in early 2001, the Internet had exploded with countless P2P file sharing services that improved on the model that Napster had started. Then iTunes and other major music sources took the hint and created a new model for online music purchases.
At the time not all of my music was procured through traditional online music outlets, but certainly was all digital, and I spent many hours and days collecting and organizing songs, albums, playlists just to load them onto my pre-iPod generic brand Mp3 player that held all of 200 songs.
Today we take for granted how easy it is to discover new music. Streaming services like Spotify empower the listener to discover their personal preferences. You can find one artist you love, then instantly explore thousands of other similar artists. It’s a model vastly different than any other time in history. Previously, it was up to corporate radio focus groups to tell you your preference in music, and feed it down the line to your ears without much thought.
The digital accessibility of music has renewed our ability to explore and indulge like never before, but it has also diminished the value of physical music collections. In the past, music existed on vinyl records, or tape cassettes, or even CDs, but now it has been reduced to a series of 0s and 1s sitting in a certain order on a tiny section of your hard drive.
There is a substantial difference between analog and digital waveforms, and how they stimulate your brain, but I’ll let the graphic below be the extent of my explanation.
Basically, they’re different. And, as you can see, the analog signal is much smoother than the digital. Despite it’s bitrate “quality,” digital will never match analog.
Ok, back to the importance of my first vinyl purchase. For me, it was the first time I had, as a collector, breached the physical world with my collecting. It brought my passion for owning and organizing my favorite music from a digital space to a more tangible one. I could hold it my hands. It took real effort to purchase, care for and organize. It left me with a feeling of accomplishment and pride in my collection.
Sadly, that first 7” single I purchased was rendered unplayable a few years ago, but I still have it as a reminder that my infatuation with collecting vinyl records is not a fad, but an attempt to salvage music from its deterioration into an invisible space on a hard drive.