11 Jan 2017

Music lovers seek authenticity in plastic

From Summer Times, 10:20 am on 11 January 2017

Karen Fernandez, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Auckland Business School, has been following a trend for all things retro, vintage and legacy - from home gardening to vinyl records.

This trend comes despite the assumption that the digital age would eventually do away with analogue.

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Photo: 123RF

Professor Fernandez and her fellow researcher Professor Michael Beverland from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology decided to investigate the trend by focussing on the allure of vinyl records.

They conducted in-depth interviews with collectors from New Zealand, the UK and the US.

Most were men, mainly in their 20s and 30s. One put in his wedding vows that his wife would never make him stop collecting, another had 7000 records stored in his mother's garage.

And she says it’s not just baby boomers reliving the halcyon days of their youth.

“We were intrigued by younger people, the minute they were introduced to it (vinyl) they became crazy about it."

Although, she says, it’s largely men bitten by the vinyl bug.

“That could be dad’s record collection or an older brother’s.”

She says the attraction of vinyl is both physical and emotional.

“What they really liked was the covers. The importance of the cover art has, I think, been underestimated by the music industry. CDs and cassettes didn’t have enough space to display the art.

“We have all these men wanting a solid object - with a solid object you can accumulate memories and history with it and also display them.”

She says vinyl buyers believed it gave them a more authentic connection to the artist.

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