A Trip To The Music Library Changed The Way I Listen to Music
It’s 2018. Listening to vinyl just doesn’t make much sense anymore. Why go through the trouble of doing something that takes so much effort, when you can get the “same" thing digitally, for much cheaper, and much faster?
We get it. Not everyone has the luxury of finding space in today’s shrinking homes for a turntable, speakers, and a large collection of vinyl albums. We’ve progressed through the times - cassette tapes, CDs, MP3 players, and finally mobile streaming services - all of that, all to make listening to music smaller, more portable, faster, and easier. But that’s the thing: we’ve come to the point where we’re simply just consuming music rather than appreciating and possessing it.
Our trip to this staggering vinyl library in Seoul left us with both an awe-inspiring experience, as well as an invaluable lesson on why vinyls are more than just a way of listening to music, but rather, an entire culture and lifestyle built on genuine connection with music.
When we listen to vinyl, the song sounds like it was supposed to - no filtering, no processing, no complications of digital recordings. When we listen to recordings digitally, the songs are actually converted from their original format into digital files. But when we listen to vinyl, the recording is impressed by sound engineers onto sets of metal stampers, which turn PVC pellets into LPs. Back then, engineers would receive analog recordings from the bands, which would convert smoothly to vinyl. Vinyl exposes the different parts of the song that you don’t notice on digital recordings - bass lines, backup vocals, or even an unusual instrument in the background.
Beyond the impeccable sound quality, it’s really the experience of vinyls that makes you appreciate music to a greater extent. You enter the library, wander the aisles, you pick out an LP or two from a rich selection of over 10,000 vinyls - new records rubbing shoulders with essential classics and sought-after rarities, from Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”, to the infamous “butcher cover” edition of The Beatles’ “Yesterday and Today”, to the likes of Ed Sheeran and Adele. You unbox them, and put the record on. When the record finally plays beautifully under the high quality vinyl sound, the feeling is out of this world. Because of the time and effort put into acquiring the record, you appreciate the final product, giving it your undivided attention. In 50 years, vinyls are probably not going to be made anymore, and our children will be learning about it in History class. Quite the contrast to Spotify, where you have thousands of songs streaming instantly by the click of a button.
Because of our always-on-the-move lifestyles, we tend to crave for the easiest, the fastest, the most convenient ways to do the things we like to do. Consequently we end up compromising the magic of the whole experience. Music libraries, music stores, and music galleries like these are quickly becoming oddities, despite how much they provide a safe haven and a sound escape from the hustle and bustle of reality. Given the digital age of music, we tend to forget to really appreciate our favourite music - to value how much work goes into making a song, to hear the details before they get digitally processed, to listen to the story of the album.
This experience has truly opened our eyes (and ears) to a whole new world of treasuring music, and honouring it as it is originally recorded. And we’re officially on a mission to hit up all the music libraries, stores, and galleries all over the world! Where should we head to next?