Uniquely holistic: New book to explore how vinyl has become a cultural icon in the digital age





Vinyl is back, but what does it all mean?

Well, actually, vinyl never went away, but that tends not to make for as engaging a narrative. Picking up the story from a cultural and sociological angle, Ian Woodward, Dominik Bartmanski have written what might well be the first modern history of the humble vinyl record since its exponential surge back into the public imagination.

Set to be published by Bloomsbury at the end of the year, Vinyl: The Analogue Record in the Digital Age will investigate the phenomenon of vinyl for more than just its nostalgic appeal, asking how it has managed to continue to attract fans in the wake of unprecedented technological advances.

That said, record collecting has been the subject of more academic studies before, as we saw last year with Kevin Moist’s Record Collecting as Cultural Anthropology – an extract of the chapter “Why Collect Records?” was published on The Vinyl Factory. Woodward and Bartmanski however have gone to great lengths to ensure that their analysis is rooted in the real world, with DJ’s, collectors, record stores and boutique labels lending their views from the front line in cities across the world including London, New York, Berlin and Tokyo.

As the press release on Amazon (where the book is available for pre-order) states, this study will be “a uniquely holistic exploration of vinyl”, and may well draw a definitive line under the ubiquitous ‘vinyl is back’ articles that pepper the press every so often.

Vinyl: The Analogue Record in the Digital Age will be published by Bloomsbury of 4th December 2014. Click here for more info from the publisher and here to find out more about another vinyl book announced this week, Dust and Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, which features photos and interviews with collectors from around the world, including the likes of Four Tet, Gilles Peterson and The Gaslamp Killer.



1. Introduction

2. Genealogy: The Cultural Trajectory of Vinyl

3. Medium: The ‘King Format’

4. Thing: Material Qualities and Entanglements

5. Product: Value of the Object

6. Fetish and Totem: Vinyl and Scene-Making in Urban Spaces

7. Conclusion: A Modern Icon