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Major Labels Are Working On Giving Vinyl An Upgrade
The status of vinyl records is generally considered strong and rising, however their associations with the old days create a retro aesthetic unrelated to their technical performance. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will examine a technical update to vinyl which hasn’t been done since 1978, the last time the technical standard was revised.
On Sept. 10 an exclusive to Digital Music News reported on plans to upgrade the standard(s) for vinyl. The report says RIAA, which represents major labels like Sony, Warner and Universal, is planning to unveil more details of the revision at the "Making Vinyl" conference in Detroit this October. Digital Music News writer Paul Resnikoff reacts with an implied question, "It's also unclear exactly why a new vinyl records standard is needed." The short answer to "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" is "Maintenance." Standards do need maintenance and review, but there is much more at stake. For now, the new specification is set to roll out in early 2019.
The history of audio engineering and its continued development today through groups such as AES is a joy and the Recording Academy has recognized many leaders by our Technical GRAMMY Award. Vinyl and other old audio technologies relying on analog make the air vibrate in subtly different ways from digital. Vinyl cutting machines as well could probably be revolutionized as mass prosumer items, reducing prices. As vinyl lovers know, the quality is excellent and with a complete sound system and listening environment, it's gorgeous. To each his own but vinyl's future has room to thrive.