Gary Flockhart: The future of music is, er, vinyl

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YOU realise you’re no spring chicken when your 11-year-old jumps down from the attic clutching a box full of dusty old LPs and says, “Dad, what are these things?”

Ah, but while he might have laughed at his old man the dinosaur, it might not be long before Flockhart Jnr is filling his own boxes with the stuff.

Yes, whisper it, but wax is back.

We’ve heard it all before, of course, but with reports that labels are thinking of killing off CDs by the end of 2012 in favour of digital downloads, it could be that vinyl becomes the format of choice for those who like something to hold in their hands.

Granted, it could just be a fad, but the numbers suggest that this is indeed a proper vinyl resurrection.

Sales of vinyl LPs are at a five-year high in the UK, with the total number sold so far in 2011 exceeding last year’s total. Statistics reveal that vinyl sales are up by 40 per cent year on year, with nearly a quarter of a million purchases since January alone.

While the figures aren’t massive, they’re enough to hint that the passion for the big black discs is spreading to a new generation of music lovers. And it’s not hard to guess why.

In an age where audio quality has been dumbed down by MP3s, people are starting to realise there’s more to buying music than price and availability.

This is vindication of what audiophiles have been saying since CDs came out - the experience of ‘hunting and gathering’ music from stores, the presence of the large artwork and, most of all, the superior sound quality make vinyl the format of choice for those who care about music.