Recent years have seen not just a revival, but a rebirth of the analogue record. More than merely a nostalgic craze, vinyl has become a cultural icon. As music consumption migrated to digital and online, this seemingly obsolete medium became the fastest-growing format in music sales. Whilst vinyl never ceased to be the favorite amongst many music lovers and DJs, from the late 1980s the recording industry regarded it as an outdated relic, consigned to dusty domestic corners and obscure record shops. So why is vinyl now experiencing a ‘rebirth of its cool’?Dominik Bartmanski and Ian Woodward explore this question by combining a cultural sociological approach with insights from material culture studies. Presenting vinyl as a multifaceted cultural object, they investigate the reasons behind its persistence within our technologically accelerated culture. Informed by media analysis, urban ethnography and the authors’ interviews with musicians, DJs, sound engineers, record store owners, collectors and cutting-edge label chiefs from a range of metropolitan centres renowned for thriving music scenes including London, New York, Tokyo, Melbourne, and especially Berlin, what emerges is a story of a modern icon.
Table of Contents
AcknowledgementsPreface1. Vinyl as Record: Several Lives of the 'King Format'2. Medium: Handling and Hearing3. Thing: Qualities and Entanglements4. Commodity: Value and Markets5. Totem: Scene-Making in Urban SpacesEpilogue: Modern IconNotesBibliographyIndex
Dominik Bartmanski earned his PhD in sociology at Yale University, USA and currently teaches in the Sociology Department of the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany.Ian Woodward is Associate Professor in the Department of Marketing and Management, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.
"A passionate ode to the analogue record, and testament to how vinyl embodies the content it mediates, with each record's unique journey etched into the material - The Times Higher Education - Hillegonda C. Rietveld Bartmanski and Woodward have created a masterpiece that any record lover should have on their shelves - Record Collector magazine Vinyl is a state-of-the-art treatment of an unforgettable object and medium that raises many of the issues central to contemporary anthropology. Its subject-matter should make it appealing to students and general audiences, while its theoretical sophistication makes it relevant to scholars of music, technology, popular culture, and cultural objects. - Anthropology Review Database - Jack David Eller Although there have been some attempts in a similar direction … Bartmanski’s and Woodward’s book stands out by providing a refreshing perspective on contemporary vinyl culture informed by cultural sociology and material culture studies … the book is a stimulating in-depth study of a central part of contemporary vinyl culture which complements extant studies on record collectorship and the history of the analogue record. It will be of interest to students and scholars with an interest in auditory and material culture as well as vinyl fans – or those who want to become such. - Information, Communication & Society - Anne-Kathrin Hoklas Bartmanski and Woodward … provide meticulous detail as to how materiality matters … Bartmanski and Woodward divide their book into chapters that fervently trace various aspects of vinyl: its history, its functionality and use as a medium, its production and physical properties, and its consumption. In each chapter, they attend to the materially mediated cultural meanings within which vinyl is entangled. - Qualitative Sociology - Robin Bartram [This] book has much to recommend it. The authors have a fine grasp of the complex and overlapping issues that are involved in establishing vinyl’s status as a ‘special object’ ... [A] fascinating analysis of the format's 'meaningful circulation'. - Popular Music Picking up the story from a cultural and sociological angle, Ian Woodward and Dominik Bartmanski have written what might well be the first modern history of the humble vinyl record since its exponential surge back into the public imagination. - The Vinyl Factory Vinyl is an essential study of a residual technology’s new lives and meanings in the digital age. ... The book is written with love for vinyl records, their aesthetics and the forms of social life they foster. ... [A] vital work to spin, mix and play off. - [email protected] Journal This study is a very insightful and informative contribution to the emerging literature on vinyl ... [Bartmanski and Woodward] combine a cultural sociological approach with insights from material cultural studies, supporting and illustrating their theoretical discussion with frequently fascinating material from interviews. ... A fascinating and instructive study. - Anthropos What has been going on in the cities during the last 5 or 6 years to lead 20- to 50-year-old people to purchase vinyl LPs, instead of CDs, in stores and venues for retail, leisure, learning, and entertainment, and what human desires are satisfied by collecting LPs? … Hearing music is not enough, the authors suggest, and many younger people (especially those who can’t read notated scores) yearn to hold their music in their hands … Bartmanski and Woodward’s Vinyl is a work of sociology. It is to their credit that the epilogue affirms their training and practice as sociologists, and that my last impression of them is as sturdy academics. - Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal - Alyssa Barna, Eastman School of Music Bartmanski and Woodward have written an impassioned book that will surely resonate with analogue enthusiasts and that may even inspire new vinyl diggers. For sociologists interested in the materiality of cultural objects, the status of vinyl in Berlin’s electronic music scene represents a compelling example. - Contemporary Sociology - Vaughn Schmutz, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, USA Excerpted - PopMatters Featured in 'Ubiquitous Grooves: A Vinyl Obituary' - Popmatters"