Snoop

                                                        by Michael Boyink/mike@douglascountyherald.com

Gap year.

Have you heard of these?

It’s when a high school graduate doesn’t go straight to college, instead taking a year off between the two.

Back in the 80’s we didn’t have the fancy name.

But I took two of them.

I worked with a guy doing roofing and siding. I had a very short-lived career as a Kirby salesman. I worked for True Green. And I worked at a couple of automotive part manufacturers on the their assembly lines.

Temporary jobs, all of them. Through a temp agency.

Those were two very pivotal and important years.

Working all those jobs, I learned that to do work I enjoyed I needed a college degree.

I couldn’t work through a temp agency and go to college, so I got a retail job.

Selling TV’s, home stereos, VCRs and camcorders. 

And this week, a bit of news came out that puts me right back on the sales floor in that downtown store.

Back then, I was demonstrating a new technology to prospective customers. A new way to listen to music. No dirty needles. No snap and pop. A smaller format that didn’t need as much room to store.

And sounded better. 

The hot new product was the Compact Disc.

I’d pull a customer into the listening room. Close the sliding glass door. Punch a few buttons to route a CD player through a nice amp and to a pair of speakers with 15” woofers.

I’d spin up Phil Collins In The Air Tonight on CD and crank up the volume.

You know that song, right?

It plays along eerie, pensive, and minor key.

For about 3:40.

Then the “magic break” comes.

Collins is a drummer. The magic break is a rolling drum fill called “the most melodramatic drum break in history” and one of the “101 Greatest Drumming Moments (if, in the 40 years since that song was released, you haven’t air-drummed to that drum break you have a hole in your soul).

Back in the listening room, the CD version of that drum break showed off the vastly superior “dynamic range” (the difference between the loudest and softest notes) of the compact disc. 

It sold a lot of CDs. 

And CD players.

The news that brought me back to that point in history?

This year, according to recent sales statistics  from the Recording Industry Association of America, for the first time since the 1980s music on vinyl is outselling music on CDs.

Of course, streaming/digital music is more popular than either CD or Vinyl.

But for those listeners who want a hard copy of their purchase, vinyl is the new hot ticket. You may have even noticed our local Walmart has a decent selection of music on vinyl.

Why?

Some claim the sound of music on vinyl is better. Warmer. More human.

Or it’s the playback process. Seeing the record spin and the needle drop is somehow more fun and engaging than just pushing a button. 

For others it’s the larger album covers, interior artwork, included lyrics and posters, etc.

Or maybe it’s the shopping experience. Flipping through racks of used records at a record store or antique shop, and coming across a gem that you haven’t heard before can be a thrill.

I invested in music on CDs while working at that stereo shop. MsBoyink and I had a nice collection before selling it all off to travel.

Now that we’re back in a house again? I bought vintage stereo with a silver face and actual knobs and buttons.

And I bought a turntable to go with it.

What goes around comes around.

And at the Boyink house it’s the  vinyl that goes around.