'The New Face of Vinyl: Youth's Digital Devolution'

Ben Meadors and Owen McCafferty are raising money on KickStarter to publish a book, "The New Face of Vinyl: Youth's Digital Devolution."

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read
Ben Meadors groovin' to some tunes.

Ben Meadors and Owen McCafferty are in their early twenties; both are really into LPs, and they are trying to raise $6,500 on Kickstarter to publish a book, "The New Face of Vinyl: Youth's Digital Devolution." The guys will travel to Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, and New York City to photograph and interview young record collectors, record store owners, and the occasional young vinyl buyer to ask them why they love records. McCafferty is a writer and will document their journey in a 180-page, full-color photo book.

Some new vinyl buyers really care about sound quality, and some converts just think records are really cool. Meadors is a photographer, and he'll be shooting portraits of record buyers in the stores. He plays in a band and puts out his music on LP and download, but not on CD because he feels it's almost useless. He thinks independent record shops are better places to discover new music than the Web.

McCafferty is really looking forward to the journey, hoping to discover what exactly is inspiring young people all over the United States to buy vinyl. He's coming from an audiophile perspective, and really loves the sound of vinyl. That said, he doesn't care if kids are listening to LPs on a Fisher-Price or a high-end turntable, as long as they appreciate the experience. Some LP buyers actually like records' clicks and pops and noises; that's just part of the sound of the music. It's part of a cultural shift in the way people listen to music.

Owen McCafferty and his records

McCafferty has around 3,000 LPs and a nice selection of really ancient 78 RPM records. Meadors is just getting started and has around 300 LPs. He has fond memories of his father playing records; McCafferty's grandmother played 78s when he was little. The records' grooves apparently made a strong impression on them from early on. Maybe that's why they both prefer owning music in its physical form over downloaded music; it just makes more sense to them.

Pledge $10 or more and your name will be listed in the Thank You section of the book, as well as being published on the project Web site. Donate more and you will receive signed prints and copies of the book. If they don't raise the full $6,500 on Kickstarter by July 31, they won't get a penny, and the "The New Face of Vinyl: Youth's Digital Devolution" project will be dead in the water. You can give as little as $1; check out their video on the Kickstarter site.

I first heard about Meadors and McCafferty from Michael Fremer, and he put a link to the project on his music review Web site, MusicAngle. From time to time I will highlight music- or audio-related Kickstarter projects, so please send your ideas my way.