almost a year has passed since i got my bachelors degree, and finally the translation of the unabbreviated version of ‘Research of the Current Status of Vinyl Records in Context of the Internet’ is finished. that means i translated everything i had written for this paper in the first place and not only the parts i handed in to get the degree (it had to be shortened because the allowed number of pages was limited).
well, so whats it all about? when i had to pick a topic for my thesis we were given the advice that its better to choose a topic that you will be excited to write about, rather than one that will get you the best grade but will be boring and tedious to write about. the only requirement was that the topic had to be related to the degree program, which in my case was business informatics. so i decided to combine my beloved hobby, record collecting, with the one ‘IT related thing’ everybody knows and uses every day: the internet. yes, THE internet!
one of my favourite scenes from that series ever, i just couldnt help but insert it here ;-) well, to give you an idea what the whole thesis is about, below you can read the introduction and below that there is a download link were you can download the whole paper in pdf format. (link to German version in comments)
i hope you will find it interesting and enjoy reading it. as i wrote this in late 2012 / early 2013, some of the data might already be outdated. but i neither have the time nor the technical resources to repeat the whole thing, so i will leave that to other nerdy vinyl enthusiasts :-)
Niches for pre-digital technologies and products have survived among nostalgic people, collectors and “hipsters”. Although the bulk of official and personal correspondence is processed digitally, stamps are still collected; vintage cars are cherished and well cared for, and prices for collectibles are on the rise.
Naturally, one would assume that all these things disappear once the people who grew up with them pass away or new technologies become superior to the old ones, to the extent that sticking to the old ones simply does not seem sensible. Interestingly this is not the case. Stamp collections are inherited over generations, and even cars from the 80s are now labeled as “youngtimers”, (as opposed to the classical vintage “oldtimers”) and appreciated by a small but growing community of enthusiasts.
This re-discovery and increase in popularity also happened to vinyl records, which lately have been taken out of the attic or basement more frequently. This is happening now, parallel to the product life cycle of the CD having reached the decline stage and consumers adapting to its successive formats. Apart from the traditional collectors’ community which is now experiencing rising prices, more and more people are enjoying the experience of analogue music consumption again. And it is not just the older generation who embraces this technology; even so-called “digital natives” sometimes acquire a turntable, now available with a USB-port. Many new releases are now available on vinyl as well, and not only for DJs, who traditionally use them for their performances.
But what is the situation of the vinyl record in the digital age exactly like? Is vinyl a competitor to listening to music over the internet or are they complementary to each other? How are analogue and digital media combined by the consumers and what place is there for vinyl records in the culture of blogs, forums and social media? What relevance does the enhanced availability of information on the internet have in this case? All of these questions shall be the basis of this research.
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