by Felicia DeInnocentiis | Staff Writer
As he raises the top to his vinyl record player, senior Stefan Palacios prepares one of his favorite records by The Mars Volta. He lifts the phonograph needle and slides it overhead the expectant record, setting it down gently as to not to scratch the vinyl. The fuzz and crackles echo through the retro soundbox as the record spins, the ancient sound quality adds extra flavor to the pastime.
Palacios is an avid new collector of records in the Age of Technology. He is more appreciative toward physical music rather than the digital mp3’s teens are accustomed to.
“I have a growing collection of records, it’s about seventeen right now, or about 13. Every once and a while I go by my favorite record store around [San Antonio College] and I buy them, and it’s really cool to have a collection of my favorite records,” Palacios said.
Palacios’ collection is made up of more contemporary music, records made by bands who are riding the retro-wave.
“I have some Passion Pitt in my record collection, I have some Mars Volta, and another one of my treasures is Master of Puppets by Metallica,” Palacios said. “[It’s] very special in a special case.”
Palacios is just one of the indie populous who has rediscovered the brilliant exhilaration of collecting vinyl. According to Rolling Stone Magazine (issue 1123), 2010 was one of the worst years for sales in the music industry. As touring and CD sales both went downhill (mp3 downloads also started to come to a standstill), vinyl sales were rising from obsolete to becoming “the year’s fastest-growing format”, selling about 2.8 million units. Other popular buys are record players with built in USB capabilities and turn tables.
“Well I think [people] are kind of bringing records back because…of the rise of iTunes. People are wanting to kind of get back into physical music and everything,” Palacios said.
Freshman Jack MacFarland is an ultimate music appreciator with a collection of about 257 records. For MacFarland, collecting was influenced by his grandfather and the local music scene.
“My grandfather…took me to Hog Wild [record shop]. It’s really fun but the people are scary. My first album would’ve been, I think it was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [by the Beatles]. I found a lot of albums [in Urban Outfitters], a lot of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, some Pearl Jam, Nirvana, REM, Alice in Chains, Judas Priest…basically a lot from the sixties, seventies, late eighties, nineties, and little bit of indie bands,” MacFarland said.
MacFarland is an anti-iTunes enthusiast, yet his records are mostly for aesthetic purposes because he does not have a record player. Most of his record collection remains at his other residency in upstate New York, although he still takes pride in the stash he holds now.
“I don’t listen to them, I have most of the songs on my iPod. I just like the records because they’re there. They’re apart of history,” MacFarland said.
The record has been a youth symbol of musical freedom and trend for generations, from a new form of entertainment at it’s birth in the early 1900’s, to a format of individuality and rebellion to the 1960’s and 1970’s. There will always be new technological innovations in compact music that might knock the record down into obscurity, but no device will ever succeed the legacy of vinyl.
“It’s deeper when you buy a record, it’s more expensive of course, and also it’s like you’re giving the band more money and I think that’s pretty cool,” Palacios said. “It’s an experience.”