Vinyl and seed paper in today’s music market

I stopped in the local Best Buy Thursday to pick up a couple CDs and two things caught my attention.

First, I see Best Buy is stocking vinyl LPs. That’s right, the things I grew up listening to. Now perhaps vinyl has made some technological advances over the last 35 years and these are undoubtedly high fidelity pressings, but I still have to wonder about a $29.99 price tag for most of the LPs. If that’s the going rate, I may need to insure my shelves of vinyl.

I found it interesting how many of the LPs were from “my era,” including Blind Faith (with its original cover), The Allman Brothers at Fillmore East and John Lennon’s Imagine. I wonder if they’re targeting baby boomers (some of whom, like me, may still have the vinyl) or younger listeners now wanting vinyl.

One thing I forgot to investigate was turntable cartridges and “needles.” I remember a few years ago when I was looking for a replacement cartridge for my turntable Best Buy offered a selection of — one, and that with a plastic stylus. Long gone were the days where you’d go to the stereo store and drool over the cartridges from Stanton, Shure, Technics and the like. (I preferred loved the Stanton 681EE.)

Looking at the petrochemical-based vinyl made the other item of note an interesting contrast. I bought the new Pretenders release, Break Up the Concrete, and got one that is part of a limited number (50,000) with “ecologically-friendly packaging with handmade seed paper.” Instructions on the seed paper say

Soak this Handmade seed paper in water overnight and plant under a thin layer of soil. Keep moist. Seedlings may sprout in 1-4 weeks.

The paper does not indicate what type of flowers or plants may sprout and I suspect “may” is the key word in the instructions. While it’s an interesting concept, part of me wonders about the ecological impact of adding more paper, even handmade seed paper, if it’s just going to get tossed out. Still, the package also notes that the rest of the packaging was certified as eco-friendly by the Forest Stewardship Council.

And while it undoubtedly consumed more resources, I’ll take the liner notes, covers and the like from LPs any day over those from CDs.

I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

“Gimme Some Truth,” John Lennon, Imagine

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