Karlyn King (University of Birmingham, UK)


In a multi format era, where music consumers are listening to music in 3 or more ways (IFPI, 2019) vinyl records have maintained a presence despite their perceived obsolescence following the birth of the CD in 1983. Part of the ongoing appeal is the notion of vinyl records as a more authentic choice, signalling virtue, ethical consumption and closeness to the artist. This paper will present current primary research on the question of “What contributes to the perception of vinyl as an authentic choice of music consumption?”. I will explore definitions of the term in relation to music formats, notions of verisimilitude in the research findings from record store owners, staff, artists and fans across genres such as dance, indie, pop and rock as well as the importance of significant vectors of analysis such as gender and Record Store Day. The branding of events such as Record Store Day will be examined alongside the target demographic who build self-identity around such notions of the real. The environment of the record store will be considered as a key factor in establishing authenticity, whether deliberate or otherwise. If vinyl is considered more authentic than streaming, downloading, CDs or cassettes, why is this so?