Double Trouble: A Record Rant

Vinyl-Main

These days I buy most of my music on vinyl when I can. With the recent resurgence, vinyl manufacturers have upped their game so that the records are sturdier and download codes often come as a standard. However sometimes I am a little put off by some poor production decisions. The issue is with modern albums which weren’t recorded with vinyl in mind as the preferred format. It’s in trying to convert these recent releases into a different format that causes the trouble. Many albums get made into double albums when they shouldn’t be.

The trouble is that each side of LP can hold about 22-25 minutes of music per side. You can fit slightly more music onto it if you mix it differently but this can seriously decrease the music quality. CDs however can fit around 74 minutes of music, or up to 80 minutes at lower sound quality. As CDs have been the key music format for a good few years albums have become longer over the years to make full use of the extra room. When trying to convert back to vinyl though it often doesn’t all fit, and instead takes up two LPs. Two albums imparticular really take things too far. Foo Fighter’s ‘Wasting Light’ clocks in at 47:54, which would mean just under 24 minutes per side. Given proper mixing and editing it would quite easily fit on one LP but instead it only appears as a double album with only around 12 minutes on each side. However that’s nothing compared to Paolo Nutini’s ‘Caustic Love’ which fills up 3 sides and has a fourth side which is left completely blank.

It’s a trend that seems rather daft as not only does it waste a lot of money, but it also causes a backlog during the manufacturing process. Sales in vinyl have doubled over the past year alone yet there are very few places that still produce records. It’s a dying art as few companies are willing to invest in vinyl production as they see it as a niche market that only contributes a small percentage of profits. The demand is ever increasing though, and doubling the vinyl increases that demand unnecessarily. I only recently received a record that I ordered over 6 months ago due to a manufacturing delay. Really the moral of the story is that albums need to be specially mixed to fit on vinyl wherever possible and if a double album is really necessary then at least have the decency to fill the empty space with some bonus tracks.

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