There seems to be widespread agreement that something special was lost in the rushed-to-market move from physical media to digital streaming.
We have come to admit that some older musical technologies cannot be improved upon. Musicians, producers, engineers spend thousands to replicate the sound of older analog recording technology, with all its quirky, inconsistent operation. And fans buy record players and vinyl records in surprisingly increasing numbers to hear the warm and fuzzy character of their sound.
Neil Young has dismissed the resurgence of the LP as a "fashion statement" given that most new albums released on vinyl are digital masters. But buyers come to vinyl with expectations of a wonderfully tactile experience.
When we stare at our screens for the majority of our days, it's nice to look at art that doesn't glow and isn't the size of my hand. And yes, vinyl can feel and look as good as it sounds when properly engineered.
While shiny, digitally mastered vinyl releases pop up in big box stores everywhere, the real musical wealth lies in the past-in thousands upon thousands of LPs, 45s, 78s-relics of the only consumer playback format we have that's fully analog and fully lossless.
Few institutions can afford to store thousands of physical albums, and many rarities and oddities exist in vanishingly fewer copies. Their crackle and hiss may be forever lost without the intervention of digital preservationists like the Internet Archive.