An interesting thing is going on in this hyper-changing digital-driven world: a longing for analog. Vinyl records, instant cameras and yes, even old Nokia cell phones are making comebacks. As someone more than mildly fascinated by vintage products, this recent resurgence in popularity for analog got me thinking about what is driving this interest.
Before going any further, let me define analog for the purpose of this post. I am using analog as a general term for both actual analog products (like old record players) and for those products using less technology (like old cell phones). With that out of the way, let’s dive in.
In a world where digital is supposed to make everything better, how is it possible that vinyl record sales could outsell digital downloads? That people would choose to take pictures with film cameras? And buy fine papers and writing materials? The answer is complex but can be summed up as: a return to the made thing. Contrary to the easy explanation that this is being driven by baby boomers longing for nostalgia, the reality is that the market driving this is digital natives and millennials. The attraction to analog is that it does remain and is a welcome alternative to the ubiquitousness of digital.
If everything is available – which is the case with digital music streaming – is it even possible to curate a collection? Start a vinyl record collection and you’ll see what I mean.
-Erik Herskind, CEO