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Music

Record Store Day 2022: Why collectable vinyl will survive the NFT boom

@josephtaysom

Every year, vinyl fans wake up in the early hours and queue outside their local record store in a bid to buy the latest limited-edition releases. You can’t replicate the feeling of having a tangible record in your hands, and the anticipation of hearing the crackle of vinyl when you place it on the turntable is incomparable in any medium of music listening.

There’s a reason why the resurgence of vinyl continues to grow in strength every year, and more people are starting to build their own collections. Despite fans having every album in the world on the edge of their fingertips through streaming platforms, people are still craving to own music in a physical format. If they want a collectable item, most music fans wouldn’t even understand an NFT, let alone choose it over vinyl. 

In March 2021, Kings Of Leon made history when they became the first band to release an album as an NFT, a decision which saw the band share When You See Yourself. At the time, nobody in the mainstream quite understood what a non-fungible token was, and it seemed bizarre that anybody was actually willing to own the digital receipt of an album.

However, it could also have been an innovative move that provided bands with a new source of revenue amid the pandemic when gigs were off the table. The record made the band $2million in sales from NFTs alone, but the problem is that not every band has the same presence Kings Of Leon can boast, and the fact they were the first to come up with the idea generated high demand.

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Over a year on from that sale, NFTs have found their niche in the corner of the internet, and music no longer seems to be part of the plan. At the beginning of the craze, superstar artists could cash in, but, for most musicians, it wasn’t remotely a feasible possibility.

The same month as Kings Of Leon’s album release, Grimes made over $6 million in digital art sales, and Steve Aoki’s debut collection Dream Catcher sold for $4.25 million. The scarcity of these items triggers interest from those with maddening amounts of money, and for most buyers, it’s an investment rather than for the love of it, like clutching vinyl. 

This year, for the 2022 edition of Record Store Day, music fans will be able to purchase limited-edition releases from legendary artists such as Joni Mitchell, The Doors, and Iggy Pop.

The annual event already gives fans the chance to own a rare item from their favourite artists. Additionally, you can listen to it too, which gets endorphins released in a way that pixels on a screen never will. Similarly to every new product, it took a while for NFTs to find their area, and now the dust has settled, it looks as though music is a sphere that isn’t going to be infiltrated by the next generation of tech bros.

Perhaps, in a few years, this whole piece will be proved wrong, and an innovative company will find a way of making NFTs something that can be attractive to your average music fan rather than the new toy for the super-rich. However, music lovers are infamously stubborn, and the vinyl renaissance suggests most of us will be reluctant to pay attention to the latest fad from Silicon Valley. 

Currently, it might be to the taste of a small portion of wealthy fans, but those romanticists camping out this weekend for Record Store Day want a collectable they can touch, which is a vital attribute NFTs will never be able to boast about. Even if they somehow one day successfully sit side by side, vinyl is back, and it’s not going anywhere. 

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