SXSW Panel: Vinyl Revival
Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., March 21, 2008
SXSW Panel: Vinyl RevivalAustin Convention Center, Saturday, March 15
"With vinyl you're much more involved in the listening experience – you have to get up to flip the record every 20 minutes," said Patrick Amory of Matador Records. "And it's deferring to the artist who created it," added Revolver's Michael Doyle. "And it's communal," chimed in Criminal Records owner Eric Levin. So it went on Saturday as a room full of vinyl cheerleaders waxed poetic about the obstinate analog technology thriving despite – or perhaps because of – the digital revolution. With iTunes now the second largest music retailer and the funeral march of CDs audible in the distance, more audiophiles are seeking the gatefold artwork and tactile experience of records, a trend boosted by reissues and good resale value. Doyle and Levin said that vinyl accounts for more than 20% of their businesses, a number that's increasing. Yet it wasn't all good news for purists. "Hip-hop isn't doing as well on vinyl," Doyle said, noting that Serato and other technology has encouraged DJs to go digital. "And DJs are the only ones who should be able to steal music at this point," Lavin quipped. "They're the ones that have been paying $10 a 12-inch for the last 20 years; they deserve it."