Starting later this month, with the release of the Shins‘ Wincing the Night Away, Sub Pop is giving vinyl buyers a free digital version of each record they purchase. Merge came up with the idea about a year ago, and hopefully other labels will start picking up on it in the near future.
I only buy vinyl for DJing purposes, or when I find something that’s either rare or just has way too cool of a cover to pass up. Actually, I think that the Don Rickles listening party my roommate and I had yesterday was the first time I’ve used my turntable in months. But I would consider hooking up with this vinyl-plus-download thing if I bought anything from either label in the future, because they offer legal, high-quality, DRM-free files, which is a better deal than the locked-up songs you get from iTunes. If you only use the files for your portable devices, you’re saved the hassle of having to rip your vinyl. If you’re not too picky about sound quality, you can listen to the mp3s, have an analog backup, and enjoy the kind of physical artifact you don’t get with a regular digital purchase.
“And what can compare with the wonderful physicality of an actual touchable record collection?” the blogger blogged as he took a break from browsing the Ikea site because he’s out of goddamn shelf space again.