The Guest: Becky Mollencamp ~ 3 Reasons To Listen to Vinyl

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Jingle Jangle Jungle’s Guest Blogger Series
Week 30

Today's Guest is: Becky Mollencamp

Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis, Mo. Her work has appeared in Better Homes & Gardens, Prevention, and a variety of B2B publications. In her free time, she runs a food and music blog at, which pairs recipes with records to turn cooking into a total feast for the senses.

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3 Reasons To Listen to Vinyl
By Becky Mollenkamp from

When people learn that I collect records, they always ask the same question: “Do you actually listen to them?” Yes, often. Invariably, the follow-up question is, “Why?” I get it. Most people gave up on vinyl in the late ‘80s, replacing the format first with cassettes, then CDs, and now digital. I did those things, too, but eventually I found my way back to LPs, and have amassed a collection topping 1,500.

I’m not alone. Vinyl album sales have shot up 260 percent since 2009, topping 9 million units sold last year, according to Billboard. Although vinyl only accounts for 2 percent of total music sales, the old-school format is nonetheless growing in popularity while the music industry as a whole is seeing declining sales. It’s not just old fogies buying LPs; 72 percent of vinyl buyers are 35 or younger.

What gives? Why the resurgence of interest in a past-its-prime technology? I can’t speak for everyone, but I have a feeling many vinylphiles share these three reasons for kicking it old school (and none of them have anything to do with sound quality):

1. Making Music Mindful

Hitting “shuffle” on an iPod is like saying, “hey, computer, do the work for me,” and when we don’t give full energy to something, we tend to not give it full attention either. After a decade of half-hearted listening, I was ready for a more purposeful interaction with music. Listening to a record is not a passive experience. It takes effort to buy vinyl, to store it and keep it clean, to carefully pull an album from its jacket, place it on a turntable, and drop the needle. Vinyl forces you to be engaged in the musical experience...and if you begin to distance yourself from the sounds, the record pulls you back in by demanding to be flipped every 20 minutes.

2. Expanding My Library

Unlike every other format, vinyl doesn’t offer an easy out. Record players don’t have shuffle, skip, or fast-forward buttons. The only option is to drop the needle and listen to all the songs on a side in order. This simple difference means I frequently discover songs from favorite artists I thought I knew well, but much of whose repertoires were absent in my digital collection of best-of hits. I also listen to new albums in their entirety, checking out songs I’d never hear on the radio, and giving a chance to tunes I might previously have skipped after just a few seconds. Finally, songs I didn’t love at first grow on me and later become favorites after repeat listenings.

3. Respecting The Artists

No one buys a book to only read the first, fifth, and ninth chapters, but most people have no problem hop-scotching around a CD or digital music collection. Like authors and their books, musicians (at least the good ones) use their albums as storytelling devices. Perhaps it’s because I’m also a creative, but I think it’s important to listen a musician’s work the way he or she intended it be heard. This approach turns your favorite musician into your personal DJ, who curates the listening experience for perfect aural flow.

As Third-Man Records owner and White Stripes frontman Jack White said, “I’ve always felt like, until you buy the vinyl record, you don’t really own the album.”

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Thank you, Becky, for being today’s Guest!

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