Neil Young Claims Vinyl is Just a Fashion Statement

With Neil Young’s latest quest for high quality sound with his now thwarted Pono Player, he is trying to clear up some misconceptions about sound quality on records. Albeit he has now exchanged his quest for a crusade, by crushing his ‘competition’ of vinyl records, claiming they are just a fashion statement.

“A lot of people that buy vinyl today don't realize that they're listening to CD masters on vinyl and that's because the record companies have figured out that people want vinyl," Young said. "And they're only making CD masters in digital, so all the new products that come out on vinyl are actually CDs on vinyl, which is really nothing but a fashion statement."

He is completely correct, but for one facet, that most of the vinyl market is based on used or vintage sales. There are some young and ignorant minds that buy records of new music as a fashion statement, but what counts is that they are having fun. Just like Neil Young is having fun listening to higher quality music that, scientific evidence hasn’t been able to confirm the human ear can pick up––between Itunes’ 16-bit/256Kbps AAC format and Pono’s 24 bit/192kHz.

Fashion is normally impractical––look at the stiletto––and like its lifestyle counterparts, Beats by Dre, shutter shades, or the Apple Macbook are all perfect examples of when fashion’s impracticalities bleed into life. Music is the art form most often associated with fashion and, like the cycle of life, they will continue to evolve symbiotically. Mixtapes have been a returning regular as a fashionable gift on Valentine’s day and disco and 90’s hip hop parties have made big appearance as of late.

The argument that it’s bad to buy vinyl gets convoluted when you have singles selling for a nil $1.29 versus a guaranteed entire album sale. Yes, the new music is just the same quality as the compact disc or the Itunes download, but the money it’s returning to artists and record labels is a huge positive. For the consumer, the record sleeves are a work of art, the listening to vinyls is a pastime and a hobby. If you need the best quality sound from your music, Pono may be for you, but if you can’t hear a difference, stick to your iPhone and vintage vinyls.

Blaine  Fuller
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