The death of the vinyl record has been wildly exaggerated in recent times, however the BPI estimates that vinyl LP sales in the UK this year could reach £12m, the highest for more than a decade. It seems that the format has struck a chord with a new generation of consumers, helped in no small part by artists like David Bowie, Daft Punk and Arctic Monkeys releasing albums on vinyl this year. In fact, research by ICM suggested those aged 18 to 24 are buying more vinyl records than any other age group under 50! But what caused this new lease of life for a format considered obsolete not long ago?
One reason is the uniqueness of its sound. Our engineers note that in a blind test between digital audio and a vinyl record, 9/10 people prefer the sound of vinyl. Furthermore, with increasing numbers of people recording in home studios, often with minimal analogue equipment, cutting to vinyl is a way of turning your song from an idea to the finished article.
Launched in 2007, Record Store Day has also been very significant in getting people of all ages excited about vinyl again by helping create a strong sense of community amongst record collectors. This year’s turnout was the biggest yet across the 220 participating stores in the UK and Ireland. People were even reportedly queuing outside record stores overnight to get some of the 500 original items produced exclusively for the day. It’s this collectable nature as well as the feeling of being part of a band’s history through owning limited edition releases that led to £2m worth of records being sold on Record Store Day this year alone.
For Metropolis Mastering, any notions of a “vinyl revival” are intriguing, as we would argue it never went away. From re-cutting the anthologies of legendary bands like The Clash to cutting a band’s first 7”, our engineers love being an integral part of the process. In-house Mastering engineer John Davis is still very passionate about vinyl saying, “Nothing beats putting a needle on a record and listening with a group of friends. Analyzing the artwork and reading the notes are all part of the experience. Playing a vinyl record is the best way to listen to music there is – trust me!”
Selected Albums cut at Metropolis in 2013
Robbie Williams – “Swings Both Ways” Mastered by Tony Cousins and Cut by Stuart Hawkes
Tinie Tempah – “Demonstration” Mastered by Stuart Hawkes and Cut by Tim Young
The Rolling Stones – “Hyde Park Live” Mastered and Cut by Mazen Murad
Manic Street Preachers – “Rewind the Film” Mastered and Cut by Tim Young
The Clash – “Sound System” (Box Set) Mastered and Cut by Tim Young
Rudimental – “Home” Mastered and Cut by Stuart Hawkes
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Push The Sky Away” Mastered and Cut by Tim Young
Katie Melua – “Ketevan” Mastered and Cut by Mazen Murad
Alluna George – “Body Music” Mastered and Cut by Stuart Hawkes
Nine Inch Nails – “Hesitation Marks” Cut by John Davis
John Newman – “Tribute” Cut by John Davis
Birdy – “Fire Within” Cut by John Davis
London Grammar – “If You Wait” Cut by Stuart Hawkes