Why do people buy records?

I’ve been quizzed a lot recently about the so-called vinyl revival. Sales of indie rock records, of rock records in general, are up on vinyl. I respond with the standard litany of answers: people want to connect with an artifact, something real and physical, and something that doesn’t feel as worthless and disposable as a CD… something that sounds better than an MP3. The inclusion of MP3 download coupons in vinyl LPs also caused a big spike in sales, since people no longer had to choose between CDs and LPs.

But in some ways the whole question misses the point, because it implies that people buy records only because they want to hear the music. The real question could be: why do people still buy CDs? And this gets into the reason why we’re still called Matador Records, not Matador Music or Matador Entertainment. We’re not a music company: we’re a record label.

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