Guest Writer Dana McDonald, Morning Host – WNCL (Cool 101.3)
Wednesday, February 27, was a holiday that you may or may not have been aware of … It was “National Retro Day”, and I asked listeners to name one thing that they missed from the 70s, 80s, or 90s. It could have been music, TV, movies, culture, style…anything. One listener read my mind when he said album covers.
To quote the Bob Seger song “Old Time Rock and Roll”, “call me a relic, call me what you will, say I’m old-fashioned, call me over the hill”, but I miss the days of album covers. The days of running to the record store when a new album by your favorite group or artist was released, plunking down my hard earned money and speeding home with my newfound treasure. Then, unwrapping the cellophane, pulling out that pristine vinyl record, putting it on the turntable, and as I listened, I would stare at the artwork and read through every letter in the notes and liners….double albums were even better. Through the years, there were countless album covers and liner notes that I would gaze at and read through, sometimes for hours. In a few cases, the artwork and liners were better than the record itself.
There were some bands, like my favorite of all time, RUSH, who would even list their equipment in great detail, and I remember many times reading through and thinking, “I have that, I have that, I’d LOVE to have that.”
Now don’t misunderstand me, this is not an attack on today’s music, but in the age of digital downloads and music streaming, I feel like we’re missing that “physical connection” and this amazing part of the music experience. I was talking to a “millennial” that I work with and she made an excellent point…not owning albums, she couldn’t tell you what song came from what album, and she said she was part of the “mix tape” generation.
But there is good news for people like me…according to Nielsen, vinyl record sales last year were up for the 13th consecutive year! In 2018, 16.8 million vinyl LPs were sold in the United States, compared to 14.3 million in 2017! Should we all dust off our record players and get ready for things to come full circle? (no pun intended) Not likely… all things considered, vinyl record sales only accounted for about 3% of music consumption last year, which includes streaming and digital downloads. Either way, the bottom line is the music, but I think a cool album cover makes it “sound” better.
Thanks for reading this, and check me out weekday morning from 5:30 -10.