Monday, October 22, 2012

Free Digital Download with Vinyl Purchase

These have to be the best idea ever. I buy vinyl records more recklessly than anything else. I walk into the local independent record store (or my own used bookstore, for that matter, which sometimes gets a hoard of goodies), and leave with an armload of vinyl that feels deliciously wrong, what with the amount of cash I just forked over. But it takes about four seconds to get over that feeling, because what I hold in my arms is real treasure.

My argument for vinyl records is this: not only have they made a comeback in certain circles (indie, jazz), but they have withstood the test of time. It's hard to find a turntable -- you really have to want one in order to find a good one, but they're out there. I already went into my undying love with record stores when I expounded on my recent trip to/discovery of Jerry's Records in Pittsburgh. But actually getting home and playing the records is the real treat.

It's like when I was young and CDs were new (I know, right?) -- and opening the plastic packaging and reading through all the liner notes, and reading the lyrics in the car on the way home. It was the most exciting thing! And then, amped way up by all that, putting in the disc was just heaven. And of course, we're talking Des'ree and Counting Crows, but I should make a point to say that my very first album ever purchased with my own money was Queen's Greatest Hits on cassette. My love for it hasn't died. I now have it on vinyl as well as CD.

But anyway. I love vinyl records. We'll just leave it at that. Purchasing physical media is still something of a love affair for me. As much as I use the internet and have previously downloaded music from iTunes or transfered albums from computer to computer with friends -- or even now listened to just about everything on Spotify without actually purchasing anything... what about the things that I want to take with me in the car? I'd still have to pay for a monthly subscription somewhere, or pirate the music, which usually leaves me with a burnt CD of terrible sound quality anyway.

So back to vinyl. Because the clincher (and not all record labels are onto this yet, but many are, and they all should be, because it's genius) is that new records often come with free digital downloads. They tuck a little slip or a card in the sleeve and when you open it up, voila! You get a code that sends you to a website so that you can download the music legally, as a gift of sorts, for buying the record. And THEN you can burn it to a CD or put it on your iPod and it is all perfectly lovely in the case of quality, and for the conscience.

So this is my official plea to the rest of the record companies/artists who think this is a waste: do it anyway. I will be more likely to purchase a vinyl record in the future from a particular artist or record label if I know there is a digital copy included. Or, could be like the Black Keys in one instance, and a few other bands I've noticed, and just include a copy of the CD with it. Brilliant!

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