This in-depth book covers the history and process behind the vinyl record and its impact, not just on music, but on the world.
Few, if any, retail items I can think of have had such a lifespan. From the top of the market up as the key product for music sales pretty much since its inception, the record nearly vanished not long after the industry went all in on compact discs. While still in vinyl stasis, the compact disc market bottomed out slowly after the invention and distribution of both illegal and retail digital audio files in the early aughts. Although audio quality was sacrificed for convenience, this trend didn’t last long. Despite remaining the same as it has always been, the vinyl record soared in popularity again in recent years. In part due to a rebound in the quest for audio quality, specifically the idea of ‘warmth’ to the sound. Another factor believed for the resurgence is the large size of the album which gave back the graphic real estate no streaming service can match. While supply chain issues threw a wrench in the works, vinyl is back, baby. And it’s again, the main method to ‘collect’ music.
It wasn’t a coincidence that In the Groove: The Vinyl Record and Turntable Revolution, an all-encompassing tome assembled by music journalists and authors, Richie Unterberger, Matt Anniss, Gillian Gaar, Martin Popoff, and Ken Micallef was released on the 75th anniversary of the production of the first vinyl record. Celebrating its history, and its return to prominence, this expansive book covers it all. Richie Unterberger digs into the LP’s history and goes back a bit to examining 78rpm records as well. For nerds like me, I love how deeply he reports the entire process. Gillian Gaar, then goes deep on one of my favourite places from my youth, the record store. Looking again, at the history of record retail right up to modern day Record Store Days. Canadian Martin Popoff provides insights into another topic I love, the packaging and artwork of vinyl records. Matt Anniss geeks out on the geeks who obsess over their collections with tips about setting up a listening space and caring for your collection. Finally, notable stereophillic journalist, Ken Micallef gets into the gear, covering everything from tone arms to plinths. You’ll have to read the book to find out what those things are. Jam-packed with amazing photography, this fascinating book is the perfect gift for anyone who cherishes their stereo and vinyl collection but offers info and inspiration for others who are just starting theirs. Grab a copy here.