The Intentionality of Vinyl Records and Parallels Drawn

The ritual and intention in listening to a record and a parallel drawn to all media consumption.

Vinyl records have been experiencing an increase in popularity over the past 10 years after being sidelined when the compact disc took over. These bulky, immobile, 12″ disks requiring a phonograph, storage space, and special cleaning regimens to keep them playing right are again a relevant medium by which to listen to music.

Some people like them for the sound quality of the “pure analog sound”. Some like them for the history and uniqueness as no two copies of the same album will sound the same. Some just think they are plain cool and retro. These all hold some truth, but that is not what I hold to be the most significant quality of vinyl records.

The significance of vinyl records is the intimacy and intention that is required to listen to them.

There is a ritual associated with playing a record. First having to sort through shelves to find the record; pull it out of the sleeve, clean it, place it on the turntable, prep your needle, get the record spinning, drop the needle, and walk to your chair to listen. Twenty minutes later you’re back up repeating the cleaning and setting process for the B-side.

Each play of a record damages the grooves just a small amount until after enough plays, the sound quality begins to diminish. It’s a living copy of the music and it should be enjoyed for each play it gets.

There is engagement and appreciation in the listening that is harder to find in other music formats. There is intention behind the act of listening – a required level of purposefulness. It requires more focus than other formats.

Drawing a parallel from here to a larger view of media consumption the importance of intention is highlighted.

Consumption of television, social media, etc. continues to grow. Much of this consumption is done without intention or purpose and as a form of relaxation or unwinding. It is comfortable and easy; which is appealing. It doesn’t require much thought and allows the brain to turn off. Consuming in this manner without a purpose is essentially dead time, time forfeited without gain, and should be minimized appropriately in order to maximize growth potential.

Maximizing time and turning it into something fulfilling is the goal. Use available time for something that is going to be a benefit presently and in the future. I invite you to find a hobby that can be built upon over time; something that builds knowledge or a skill, something that keeps you up, moving, and off of the couch. This can be anything that requires purpose and intention to do. The benefits are abundant.

Let me know what you’re doing to keep yourself busy and engaged with intention in the comment section below. It may be helpful to the next person.

Yours in strength,

-Jersey