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)
Dan Cripp – Digital Manager and Artworker
Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon (1973, Harvest)
Rich Ginders – Motion Graphic Designer
The Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989, Capitol Records)
Sam Stokes – Founder and Creative Director
Culture Club – Colour By Numbers (1983, Epic Records)
Duran Duran – Rio (1982, Capitol Records)
Dean Lewis – Digital Account Executive
OutKast – ATLiens (1996, LaFace)
April Atkins – Marketing Executive
Radiohead – The Bends (1995, Parlophone, Capitol)
Darron Thompson – Senior Designer
Yazoo – Upstairs at Eric’s (1982, Mute)
Hilary Kipping – Financial Controller
The Beatles – With the Beatles (1963, Parlophone)
Jacob – Son of Sam, and avid music collector!
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (1970, Columbia Records)