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January 25, 2017

The Enduring Authenticity of Vinyl

Vinyl records stack

When Jim and I were proposing our book Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want to Harvard Business School Press ten years ago, I remember how in one conversation with the editor we responded to her query for an example of where an increasing desire for authenticity would impact business by saying that people would increasingly seek out standard gear shift in automobiles. After all, that was real driving.

That was just off the top of our heads, but the very next day The Wall Street Journal had an article on that very phenomena.

Back then we further pointed to the revival of vinyl records as music listening was increasingly digitized, for in a digital world people would increasingly view analog as more authentic. That prediction has also born out over the past decade. (I still have hundreds of vinyl records – most all jazz and classic – that I figure are worth a pretty penny these days!

So I read with relish the recent article in The New York Times, "With Vinyl, the Musician Tycho Establishes a Physical Presence", where music distributor Ghostly International is not only putting out the latest album from Tycho (aka musician Scott Hanson) in physical CD and vinyl forms, but “will be offering a custom slipmat – the felt pad that sits on a turntable – to customers who place advance orders for the vinyl record at their local record store.” Hanson told the journalist that “We’ve always been really concerned with the physical experience,” and concluded: “A lot of people want the vinyl so that they feel that this music is real, it’s not just a digital file.”

Don’t be so quick to give up on the physical amid today’s increasing immersion in the digital – personally, or in business.

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