Vinyl: and the renaissance of a lost art

For the past several years there has been an unquestionable revival of the purchasing of vinyl, with Record Store Day – hailed as the savior of vinyl and the independent shops that sell them – simultaneously evolving into a global cultural phenomenon. In 2014, 2.1 million LPs were purchased, and although marking an incredible 21-year high, sales are still continuing to grow. In the first three months of 2016 alone, the Official Charts Company reported that 637,056 records were sold, which suggests this revival is far from over – especially if we look back to 2007, where only 205,292 records were sold in the entire year.

Arguably, the most surprising statistic to surface from the resurgence of vinyl is the amount of people, who despite purchasing it, don’t actually listen to it. In a recent ICM poll shared exclusively with the BBC, it was discovered that 48% of people who bought vinyl in the last month have admitted they are yet to play it – with 7% not even owning a turntable. We are now undoubtedly in an age of a new breed of collector. One who purchases a record purely to have the material possession, but not to listen to – with its physical and artistic qualities taking precedence over its musical value. For some, the draw of vinyl is its tangible nature, which provides something much more than an impersonal yet instantaneous download. Whereas for others, it’s the creative value of a vinyl’s cover art and sleeve, which are admired not only as pieces of art, but a way to connect more profoundly with the intricacies behind the artist’s music.

As a creative agency that whole-heartedly believes in the influence of art and design, the value that’s found in cover art – and the power it can yield, is something we can truly relate to. Since its very beginning album cover art has been an outlet for some of the most beautiful, incisive, seminal and controversial design, spanning decades of seismic cultural, political and social changes. It’s not only the first impression the album makes on the world, adding one more dimension to the album’s individualism – it also steers the relationship between the audio and the visual, creating a captivating tapestry of nostalgia and recognition for the listener. Much like the artistic value of an album’s cover art, its nostalgic value is also equally as moving, transporting us back to fond memories which we can relive time and time again, no matter how long ago they were created.

Music and art have always been closely intertwined – and in the late 1930’s thanks to graphic design artist Alex Steinweiss, the two were bound ever more tightly when he began to design album cover art. In a time riddled with inexpensive and generic record sleeves, this revolutionary idea helped transform the music industry and also created a cultural legacy that shaped the modern album cover as we know it today.

Shine is home to a collection of avid music lovers – Dan and Rich in particular are passionate vinyl enthusiasts, with Rich having been a dedicated collector since the 1990’s, having once boasted a collection of over 8,000 records. Sam’s son Jacob is also a keen vinyl collector, and a perfect example of a younger generation buying the very LPs their parents would once listen to, discovering a newfound therapy in ‘digging’ through crates of music, and creating a record collection that differentiates their interests into a physical format. In celebration of the resurgence of vinyl and the unique influential beauty of cover art, we’ve compiled a list of some of the Shine team’s favourites – each as evocative and powerful we feel, as the day we first discovered them…

 

Anna Matthews – Client Services Manager

Fleetwood Mac – Kiln House (1970, Reprise Records)

Kiln House1

 

Dan Cripp – Digital Manager and Artworker

Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon (1973, Harvest)

Pink Floyd1

 

Rich Ginders – Motion Graphic Designer

The Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989, Capitol Records)

Paul's Boutique1

 

Sam Stokes – Founder and Creative Director

Culture Club – Colour By Numbers (1983, Epic Records)

Colour by Numbers1

Duran Duran – Rio (1982, Capitol Records)

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Dean Lewis – Digital Account Executive

OutKast – ATLiens (1996, LaFace)

ATLiens1

 

April Atkins – Marketing Executive

Radiohead – The Bends (1995, Parlophone, Capitol)

The Bends1

 

Darron Thompson – Senior Designer

Yazoo – Upstairs at Eric’s (1982, Mute)

Upstairs with Eric1

 

Hilary Kipping – Financial Controller 

The Beatles – With the Beatles (1963, Parlophone)

Withthebeatlescover

 

Jacob – Son of Sam, and avid music collector!

Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (1970, Columbia Records)

Bitches Brew1

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the renaissance of vinyl – as well as any pictures of your favourite album cover art, and why you love it. Get in touch now at @shine_creative to let us know!