Dominik Bartmanski and Ian Woodward.

The Resurgence of Analog Records. Unveiling Vinyl’s Timeless Allure

Once deemed obsolete, vinyl records have undergone a remarkable revival in the digital era. Dominik Bartmanski and Ian Woodward delve into the cultural nuances of vinyl in their publication, “Vinyl: The Analog Record in the Digital Age.” Their research sheds light on the enduring charm of vinyl and its multifaceted role in contemporary music culture.

Vinyl: A Dynamic and Iconic Cultural Artifact

Bartmanski and Woodward stress the importance of examining vinyl from diverse perspectives, moving beyond the realms of collectorship or consumption. They argue that a combination of various aspects contributes to the fascination of vinyl for diverse audiences. While collectorship has traditionally dominated discussions on vinyl culture, the authors suggest that it can overshadow other forms of engagement, limiting our understanding of its significance.

Vinyl as a source of “Positive Fetishism”

The authors underscore the rediscovery of vinyl as a catalyst for engagement, sensuality, coolness, care, ritual, rarity, and distinctive auditory experiences. The persistence and revival of vinyl in the face of digital dominance owe much to underground DJs and beatmakers who passionately embraced the format. Bartmanski and Woodward introduce the concept of “positive fetishism” to capture the devotion and reverence exhibited by these vinyl enthusiasts.

Vinyl as an Artistic Creation and Modern Icon

Methodologically, the authors employ a blend of phenomenological observation, hermeneutic analysis of media texts, and interviews to unravel the complexities of vinyl’s meanings and features. They argue that vinyl is more than just an object; it is a full-fledged artistic creation and modern icon. This approach moves beyond the abstract consumer-product relationship to explore the diverse experiences and agentic qualities that vinyl possesses.

young man listens to a record on a record player
It is young people who buy and spend the most money on vinyl records

Vinyl Culture

The authors acknowledge the limitations of their research, recognizing the need for further exploration of other dimensions of vinyl culture. Their study predominantly focuses on male vinyl users in Berlin’s independent music scenes, acknowledging the necessity to investigate broader vinyl communities and diverse consumer practices. Nonetheless, their research provides valuable insights into the contemporary economy of vinyl culture and the material qualities that contribute to its enduring appeal.

Vinyl’s Embedded Spatial and Temporal Significance

Bartmanski and Woodward base their analysis on the spatial and temporal significance of vinyl. They highlight Berlin as a contemporary hub for independent and underground music, especially electronic and club-oriented genres. The city’s rich history of countercultural movements, artistic experimentation, and technological advancements has solidified its status as a vinyl mecca. Berlin serves as an ideal backdrop to explore the dynamic relationship between people and objects, as well as the creation of place-related value within a cosmopolitan setting.


In summary, “Vinyl: The Analog Record in the Digital Age” provides a comprehensive exploration of vinyl culture, spotlighting its enduring appeal and the multifaceted experiences it evokes. Bartmanski and Woodward’s research challenges the predominant focus on collectorship, revealing the diverse dimensions of vinyl’s allure. By employing various methodologies and situating their analysis within specific spatio-temporal contexts, the authors offer a nuanced understanding of vinyl’s role as a dynamic and iconic cultural artefact