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But... I don't think this will fit into the CD player.
January 19, 2012 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Mefi's own jscalzi painstakingly explains what a record is to his 13 year old daughter.
posted by desjardins (112 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 


I am interested to know if she was told to hold it by the edges beforehand (in the classic "open-finger" record style) or if that's something she did instinctively without realizing it.
posted by madajb at 11:40 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


She handles and LP for the very first time in her life, yet she knows to handle it by the edge? Amazing!

Sadly, given that and the rather obvious "gee wow really?" acting, I call bullshit.
posted by Decani at 11:40 AM on January 19, 2012 [27 favorites]


I buy this. And feel old.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2012


I'm having a hard time believing that someone could get to be 13 years old in 2012 and not have seen a record before. No movies or photographs? No antique stores or flea markets? No grandma's house? The guy's even a professional storyteller and he's never told his kids the story of How We Used To Do Stuff?
posted by DU at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


But you handle CDs by the edge...

I was actually a little bit surprised that she was familiar with CDs. A few more years, I guess.
posted by XMLicious at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Get. Off. My. Lawn.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


DU, he says she hasn't seen one in person. I can't think of the last time I saw one in person either, and I'm 37.
posted by desjardins at 11:44 AM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


But the wallpaper is older than the record.
posted by peeedro at 11:45 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am pretty out of touch when it comes to things kids are into, but aren't turntables and records still a part of hip hop / dj culture and retro t-shirts at target and LP frames at urban outfitters and... just continued signifiers of music in general?
posted by SharkParty at 11:46 AM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't know if it's the same in your town, but vinyl has saved our two independent...umm...record stores. Nobody but me buys CDs any more. Ironic, sure, but also something I never would have envisioned ten years ago.
posted by kozad at 11:48 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


She needs to hang out with more indie kids. I mean they even prominently sell these things at Best Buy and Urban Outfitters (not my favorite stores FYI, but 13-year-olds are surely familiar with those places.) Records haven't been this popular in decades.
posted by naju at 11:48 AM on January 19, 2012


I'm 37, and I bought one two months ago.
posted by scrowdid at 11:49 AM on January 19, 2012


Related: Il était une fois... les technologies du passé.

The best part is the kids scratching the record like a DJ. Go watch this one, people.
posted by desjardins at 11:49 AM on January 19, 2012


Mefi just can't handle that kids these days are completely unfamiliar with their precious snowflake LPs.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:49 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of Giving up my iPod for a Walkman.
posted by nevercalm at 11:50 AM on January 19, 2012


Maybe my kid's a hipster or something, but my 15-year-old has been collecting vinyl for years and has her own turntable in her room. She also has known how to use a dial telephone since about age 6, tinkers with typewriters from time to time, and she glowed over the 1970s sheepskin jacket her great-grandpa just gave her this weekend instead of donating it to a thriftshop.

Dear god, I AM raising a hipster. Good for you, jscalzi, for shielding your children from such things.
posted by AzraelBrown at 11:51 AM on January 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


The best part is the kids scratching the record like a DJ.

Yeah, and the kid who thinks that a 3.5" floppy disk is some kind of camera.
posted by XMLicious at 11:51 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


edogy@netbook:~$ grep groove http://youtu.be/ibfx4AFlgH4
edogy@netbook:~$
posted by Edogy at 11:53 AM on January 19, 2012


I'm 35 and I buy records near weekly. Underground metal still comes out on cassette. Real punk and metal bands and labels never stopped putting out vinyl.

A friend of mine works in a daycare that is part of/related to Portland State University and they have a turntable in the room she works in. Portland exists in a magical bubble.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:54 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Alright, here's what SoundScan says for 2011:

"Looking at album sales, digital posted a whopping 19.5% increase to 103.1 million units from 86.3 million units. In the physical formats, CD sales decreased 5.7% to 223.5 million units from the 236.9 million units tallied in 2010. That makes for a 5.7% decline in the CD album format for the year, which is actually a drastic improvement from the 18%-to-20% decline the industry has recorded in each of the last four years, although this was significantly due to discounting on catalog. As for vinyl albums, that format scanned nearly 4 million units, up from 2.8 million units in 2010."

I stand corrected, vinyl is a very small part of the total music purchasing going on. But it seems to be growing massively each year.
posted by naju at 11:55 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


She's really not putting on?
posted by tyllwin at 11:57 AM on January 19, 2012


Nobody but me buys CDs any more.

In the physical formats, CD sales decreased 5.7% to 223.5 million units from the 236.9 million units tallied in 2010.

It may be true in the future, but it isn't true now.
posted by escabeche at 11:57 AM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the tell for me is that a 13 year-old who can be pulled out of texting/playing with gadget, as the girl here is, by promise of something fascinating that her father wants to share with her is a mature and intelligent child (as I'm sure she is; seems like a good kid)--most kids, in my experience, would sullenly ignore dad's gee-whizzery.

And yet and mature and intelligent child would know what a record is. They're still here; they're sold in malls; there are DJs; the cool kids listen to vinyl. They're in books, on tv, in films.

Moreover--and I readily acknowledge there are reasonable explanations for this--if dad has a record, does he not have a record player in the house, that daughter has presumably seen in the living room/study/basement? Is this the only record dad owns? No other records and no record players in the house, but dad has a random show and tell (on camera)?

I don't buy it either, but hey, that's showbiz.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:58 AM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


My three year old knows what a record is, but she's never seen one in person. They show up in a lot of children's books that were first published before the 90s. Some plastic discs from some game have been repurposed as records for her plastic animals.

However, we walked by a pay phone a couple weeks ago and she got wide-eyed and asked "What's THAT?"
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:01 PM on January 19, 2012


I'm in my twenties and I'm not sure I know anyone with a proper audio set-up who doesn't have a record player. (This includes teen-age siblings of friends).

The video looks/sounds fake to me! (But: cooooool orange vinyl!)
posted by bubukaba at 12:03 PM on January 19, 2012


She touches the vinyl a bunch of times.
posted by joannemerriam at 12:05 PM on January 19, 2012


Mayor Curley's got it. There's a big difference between recognizing an icon and physically interacting with the thing itself. Lots of younger folks have never driven stick, used a candlestick phone, had an "attendent" pump gas for them, or greeted a friend as they walked off of a plane (as opposed to entering the baggage claim). They may know these things from movies or photographs or hipster shirts, but lots of people know dinosaur skeletons from photos and movies and hipster-shirts, too. It doesn't mean they can't experience them in person for the first time.


I'm in my twenties and I'm not sure I know anyone with a proper audio set-up who doesn't have a record player. (This includes teen-age siblings of friends).

I'm in my thirties and I'm not sure I talk to anyone on a daily basis who can't write an HTTP server. Recognizing when we exist in unrepresentative groups is important.
posted by verb at 12:07 PM on January 19, 2012 [30 favorites]


Moreover--and I readily acknowledge there are reasonable explanations for this--if dad has a record, does he not have a record player in the house, that daughter has presumably seen in the living room/study/basement

If the record collection is like a lot of non-collector record collections, it's stored in a cabinet that is rarely, if ever, opened next to a record player that hasn't worked since the needle wore out and it proved impossible (or excessively costly) to buy another.

I'd imagine that, until they got a USB turntable for digitizing, my parent's vinyl hadn't been played for 15 years or more.
posted by madajb at 12:11 PM on January 19, 2012


Metafilter: Where bullshit has to be called on everything.

I'm 42 and I've never owned a turntable. I've owned one record in my life, a U2 bootleg, but by the time I was of age to buy my own music I started with cassettes. I did grow up with my brother's records though.

if dad has a record, does he not have a record player in the house

My wife has a few records hidden away in boxes. My son vaguely knows what they are and has asked to hear them but we don't own a player. If I were to find a player I'm not sure he would know what to do with it once he put the record on the platter.

Very little of the media in our house is physical. I don't think he'd know what to do with a VHS tape.

He does, however, know how to swap an Atari cartridge and as soon as I can dig up a cable he'll know how to use a 5 1/4 inch floppy. I do have to teach him some history.
posted by bondcliff at 12:13 PM on January 19, 2012


I don't doubt that this is the first record she's seen in person or handled. I think the reason her reaction seems fake is due to the observer effect–she knows she's supposed to pile it on thick since there's a camera pointed at her.

But even today I'm going to wager that most kids could identify a record as something old that spins around on a box and plays music. They're featured prominently in several Disney/Pixar movies, for one thing. There's a memorable scene in Toy Story 2 where Woody and Jessie dance on a record player(warning: terrible quality). Aristocats is another.
posted by Cortes at 12:21 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm 47 and I can't remember the last time I saw a turntable outside of a movie or a museum, maybe fifteen years or so.
posted by octothorpe at 12:22 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Background:

I got the Jonathan Coulton Artificial Heart super-deluxe edition in a box and when I saw the LP, wondered if Athena had actually ever seen one before. So I decided to show it to her and record her reaction.

Note that she was aware I was recording her; it would be hard to miss the camera.

(The box also had a wind-up music box, which she was similarly flummoxed over. I don't think she's ever had a wind-up music box; all of hers have been digital.)

There are in fact no other LPs in the house; I think I may have owned 4 or 5 in my life. I mostly had tapes, followed by CDs, and by the time Athena was born in 1998, my entire collection was on CD (and later MP3s). I think it's entirely possible Athena's seen LPs on movies, etc; I think she probably also assumed they were representative of CDs, because "circular object containing music" = "CD" in her experience. This is, of course, why I wanted to record her looking at an LP in the first place.

I swear I don't understand why people think her holding the LP at the edges means she's held an LP before; that's how she holds CDs and DVDs and video game discs, so it's a pretty natural thing to carry onto another disc-shaped object. Also, as she noted to me when people on my own site started harping about the edge holding, “How else am I supposed to hold it? It’s big.”

Also, as a possibly relevant fact: we live in a small rural Ohio town where there are more Amish than hipsters. Way more.
posted by jscalzi at 12:23 PM on January 19, 2012 [47 favorites]


But even today I'm going to wager that most kids could identify a record as something old that spins around on a box and plays music. They're featured prominently in several Disney/Pixar movies, for one thing. There's a memorable scene in Toy Story 2 where Woody and Jessie dance on a record player(warning: terrible quality). Aristocats is another.

I agree with this, I think it seeps in from somewhere. I mean, I could never figure out out how my kids, as babies, knew that this was supposed to be a telephone, since all we had were shiny metal mobile phones, but damn if they didn't take a lot of calls.
posted by padraigin at 12:24 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. My own music was released on vinyl just a few years ago. My kids totally know what it is.
posted by The World Famous at 12:26 PM on January 19, 2012


I don't consider myself to be some sort of format snob but my seven-year-old has seen and handled vinyl, 4-track and 8-track cassettes, and VHS tapes. It's possible I'm just a person who has a bunch of old junk, though I can't see repurchasing The Lion King until the tape or the VHS dies (I'm undecided whether I'll buy a new player... I sold the majority of my once mighty 4 track cassette collection years ago)

I'm not surprised at the idea of a record-free existence, though, by far the most common response I hear when people around my age (mid 30s to mid 40s say) see vinyl out is "oh I should get a record player." I don't recall seeing a single record player in a dorm room when I was in college in the early 90s - though at that point the college radio station's vinyl collection still dwarfed the CD collection so those of us who got into that certainly handled a lot of records.
posted by nanojath at 12:26 PM on January 19, 2012


I'm 36 and i have thousands of records. And I think she's 'playing along'.
posted by empath at 12:26 PM on January 19, 2012


...we live in a small rural Ohio town where there are more Amish than hipsters. Way more.

The beard thing kinda throws me off. I mean, how can you be sure?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:27 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


verb: You are totally right (and I certainly don't doubt that there are kids out there who've never seen a record! and yeah - observer effect is probably a likely explaination for the seeming fakeness) - I just mention my circumstances by way of communicating that this kind of "kids these days!" scenario is not universal. The rural Ohio thing makes sense - I would believe it if you told me that vinyl was strictly a city thing.

Popular media get old, and then become forgotten by most people and fields of specialized interest for the rest (vinyl, cartridge games, 16mm film, whatever). Videos like this, or that other one from several months back with the kids and the floppy disks, seem to exist just to point this out. I guess it's just a way of helping ourselves make the adjustment...
posted by bubukaba at 12:28 PM on January 19, 2012


The beard thing kinda throws me off. I mean, how can you be sure?

You decide.
posted by empath at 12:29 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah yes, the Amish and their pneumatic record players.
posted by XMLicious at 12:29 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Empath, I, well, there's the beards, but then there's the laptop, but then that one guy isn't even wearing shoes, but then suspenders, and...[head asplode].
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:30 PM on January 19, 2012


Calvin and Hobbes ended in 1995, people. Almost 17 years ago. At this point I'm just wasting time until some grandkids or something hover over in their shiny spandex body suits to ask me what's up with my shelves filled with bundles of membranes covered in typing.

I don't think she's faking and I'm not at all surprised.
posted by cmoj at 12:33 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know a ton of 13 year old girls (you know a ton of 13 year old girls? - Jim Halpert) and this came off as fake.

I'm not saying it IS fake. I'll trust Dad. But I think it would have been much more interesting if she had not known she was being filmed. Then again, in that case the whole video would have probably lasted 5 seconds.
posted by justgary at 12:35 PM on January 19, 2012


I got my husband a USB turntable last Christmas. He hasn't gotten around to converting his records yet, so instead I set it up, put some Herb Alpert on, and me and the kid had a dance party. He thought it was pretty cool.

That Alpert disk, though, it just had so few tracks that it surprised me. Too used to my iPod Playlist of Infinity.

Oh and we also found out that the Free to Be You and Me record that I bought somewhere years ago was a bad pressing...side 2 was some kind of horrible 70s noname pop group, instead of the rest of the album. Probably why it was in such decent condition 40 years on.
posted by emjaybee at 12:36 PM on January 19, 2012


Get. Off. My. Lawn.

I don't think kids today have ever seen a lawn in person, either. I'm 48, and I haven't owned a lawn in over 10 years.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:40 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know a ton of 13 year old girls?

Why don't you have a seat over here....
posted by thewalrus at 12:40 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I swear I don't understand why people think her holding the LP at the edges means she's held an LP before; that's how she holds CDs and DVDs and video game discs, so it's a pretty natural thing to carry onto another disc-shaped object.

Not at all doubting that it was the first time she'd seen an actual LP, just curious if you'd mentioned to be careful beforehand. When I was growning, proper vinyl care was often reinforced by forceful reminders to "Hold it by the edges, damnit!".

To me, the "splayed finger" hold is such a distinctive thing. Most people I see with CD/DVDs use the "pinch" or "finger through the hole" hold.
posted by madajb at 12:42 PM on January 19, 2012


Nobody but me buys CDs any more.

In the physical formats, CD sales decreased 5.7% to 223.5 million units from the 236.9 million units tallied in 2010.

It may be true in the future, but it isn't true now.


CD sales in 2001: 712 million.

One-third might not be nobody, but it's damn close.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:43 PM on January 19, 2012


My eight-year-old has never seen an LP. I'm going to try this with him in a couple of years, but I probably won't film his response.

He probably doesn't know that you can buy CD's with music on them. He know that video games come on disks that look like CD's (I'm not sure what the exact format is).
posted by etherist at 12:44 PM on January 19, 2012


God, Metafilter can be such a dick sometimes.
posted by Pendragon at 12:45 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know a ton of 13 year old girls

In my town, the 13 year old girls are all 14.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:46 PM on January 19, 2012


Related - Mr. Scalzi has a really nice voice! (And decent uke ability).
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:46 PM on January 19, 2012


I'm almost 36 and records were a rarity even when I was growing up. I preferred to get my music off of that new fangled cassette technology.
posted by Leezie at 12:47 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny how kids learn, i.e. how younger kids are so much better at learning languages than older kids. Maybe that's what's going on here?

I was able to explain records and turntable to my 3 y.o. in about 5 seconds with little confusion. She knows how CDs and MP3s work (as much as a 3 y.o. can).

To be honest, the video responses seem a bit coached. "Why would you put a needle on it?" doesn't sound like a question a 13 y.o. would ask. And then the whole "huge" thing was sorta bogus too. (Why would something large and skinny be hard to crack?)

So I too call shenanigans.

aren't turntables and records still a part of hip hop / dj culture and retro t-shirts at target and LP frames at urban outfitters and... just continued signifiers of music in general?

Yes, very much so.

I am (gasp) almost 40, and I buy records all the time. It's the first format of music I ever bought (I think Pyromania was my first purchase) and the only one I still buy. I have a Fisher Price #835 sitting next to my work monitor (even though it plays a little slow and would cost ~$100 to fix).

However, we walked by a pay phone a couple weeks ago and she got wide-eyed and asked "What's THAT?"

LOL, indeed. My daughter is fascinated by the phone booths in Richard Scarry books. "Look at that little house!"
posted by mrgrimm at 12:50 PM on January 19, 2012


I was all going to say something about how I was at my mom's apartment last night, sitting across from not just some records and a turntable but also a telegraph key, and how I totally touched eight track cassettes and rotary phones when I was a kid. Then I realized that it's not evidence that young people have experienced these things, but that I am old.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:52 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Apparently the Vermont Country Store still sells these! I had one growing up.
posted by Melismata at 12:56 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't believe people are calling fake on this. It's John Fucking Scalzi. If trusting him is wrong, I don't want to be right.
posted by jcreigh at 12:58 PM on January 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


I'm in my thirties and I'm not sure I talk to anyone on a daily basis who can't write an HTTP server. Recognizing when we exist in unrepresentative groups is important.
Yes! I love my vinyl madly, but I don't doubt that there are lots of kids on my lawn these days who haven't the slightest idea what an LP is.

There's an interesting dichotomy right now. There's a lot of new music being issued on vinyl, and being purchased and enjoyed not just by hipsters, but by aging gen-xers like myself who grew up with the format and like it because of the big artwork, liner notes you can actually read, and the general physicality of the medium.

On the other hand, there's a ton new music being issued digitally and downloaded one track at a time by people (including plenty of aging gen-xers) who wonder why anyone would buy a whole CD if they just want that one song they heard and liked. Back in the stone age, this was the same audience who would buy 45 rpm singles.
posted by usonian at 1:02 PM on January 19, 2012


jcreigh: Well-said. Look, people, it's a cute little video of a kid who's never seen a piece of obsolete kit before, that's it, full stop, made by a respected member of our community who told us it isn't staged -- and you're going over it like it's the Zapruder film, and calling him a liar to his face? What the hell?

That aside, I look forward to the day she sees her second record. "You mean they come in black, too?"
posted by webmutant at 1:02 PM on January 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Don't worry everyone, the MeFi detective squad is all over The Case of the Girl Who Held the LP by the Edge.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 1:06 PM on January 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


Let me just say I trust Mefi's own JScalzi as well, but while watching it I ALSO thought to myself "this seems scripted."
posted by wittgenstein at 1:06 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's curious how worked up people get in these old media / new media conversations. It doesn't seem much different than preferring one genre of music to another, and Metafilter doesn't usually get into huge fights about that - it seems odd that it's often so contentious.

I can't tell if there's some deeper, more interesting nerve being touched or not. I don't think it's just the "oh no, I'm old" thing, because as I and others have mentioned there are plenty of us who didn't grow up on vinyl but love it now.
posted by bubukaba at 1:08 PM on January 19, 2012


There's no shame in setting aside your skepticism and just enjoying something for once.
posted by tommasz at 1:09 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


My brother's girlfriend called him at work one time, asking if she could listen to one of his records (for the first time). She called back 30 minutes later to ask how to listen to the second half of the songs.
posted by LEGO Damashii at 1:16 PM on January 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


My parents recently sold a large portion of their combined vinyl collection. They put an ad out on the net asking for all the records to be sold as a whole, no picking and choosing, and basically pay-what-you-think-they're-worth.

A young guy called, said he owned a record store in town and wanted to come take a look. He came over, parents said "Knock yourself out", and he took maybe 20 minutes to look through the 100+ records.

My parents expected maybe between $50-$100 to be his offer for the lot. "How does $500 sound?" he asked when he was done browsing. My dad, gobsmacked but still sly, replied with "I dunno if I could let them go for less than $700". They compromised at $600.

I wish I had my dad's wits.
posted by pyrex at 1:17 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, I was explaining the concept of a "broken record" to a teen who'd never seen one back in the nineties. Yes it is totally possible for people to have not encountered a vinyl record.
posted by egypturnash at 1:19 PM on January 19, 2012


A couple of weeks ago I was in a Goodwill, digging through the records, and a little (4-5 years old) kid and his mom walk by. The kid picked up a record lying out of its sleeve and said "What are THESE????" His mom said "They have music on them," and then he held it (by the edges, interestingly) up to the light and squinted at it real hard before his mom told him to get a move on.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:20 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm 36 and i have thousands of records.

But.... aren't you a DJ?
posted by desjardins at 1:23 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't believe people are calling fake on this. It's John Fucking Scalzi. If trusting him is wrong, I don't want to be right.

I totally trust John Fucking Scalzi. But does anyone really know anything about this "13 year old girl" claiming to be his daughter? I think he's totally being played. 20 bucks says she's some 19 year old journalism student setting him up for a viral ad.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:25 PM on January 19, 2012 [24 favorites]


I don't think it's scripted. I think 13-year-olds in this generation not only know what a camera is, they know what YouTube is and that if they do anything funny or interesting or kind of stupid, the entire world may know about it in twenty minutes. So I also think there is some playing along, but I think it is the natural, slightly overexaggerated "I'm on stage" kind of playing along, not the "observe my clearly feigned surprise" kind. I also think she seems like a pretty cool and together kind of person, so that's ok too.

I'm 32, and I can't remember the last time I touched an LP. My first music player was a 45 player (I don't really know what they're called, but it was a smaller one that only played those half-size singles) and the turntable was the centerpiece of the audio system in my house for the first few years of my life, so I'm not completely unfamiliar with vinyl in general. But I'm not really a music collector, wasn't much of one even when I was really into music, and my musician friends in general much prefer the DIY nature of digital, so I don't find it surprising. If I handed some kid a 5.25 floppy, I'm pretty sure the reaction would be the same, and those used to be absolutely everywhere.
posted by Errant at 1:25 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I buy this! When my son was 12 a couple of years ago, we made our monthly-or-so trip to Goodwill. He headed to the software section, as per usual. He came back with what he thought was a "laserdisc or something." I laughed! I told him it was... a 45. He still won't let me tell that story to anyone in my real life, so here I am, telling it to y'all.

He did know what larger records were -- he has some that are collectors' items from my father.

Oh, and when he was a little little and I told him he sounded "like a broken record," he had no idea what I was talking about. SIGH.
posted by houseofdanie at 1:29 PM on January 19, 2012


In a couple of weeks we'll find out his daughter is really James O'Keefe.
posted by cashman at 1:30 PM on January 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I only remember owning two records in my life. The Jungle Book soundtrack and, inexplicably, this.
posted by desjardins at 1:30 PM on January 19, 2012


When my son was 4 and saw an LP for the first time, he thought it was a comedy-prop version of a CD. Something created just for giggles like an inflatable sledgehammer.
posted by morganw at 1:34 PM on January 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's not fake, just phony. Someone mentioned the "observer effect." The short version:

Dad: "Here's an LP. I don't think you've ever seen one before."
Daughter: "I haven't."
Dad: "We used to listen to music on these."
Daughter: "Huh."
FINIS

Back in the stone age, this was the same audience who would buy 45 rpm singles.

Partially true. 45 rpm singles (more often called 7-inches in this context) were a staple of the punk scene through the millennium. (I'm honestly not sure if they still are.) I think the reasoning was that it was a lot cheaper to record a 7-inch than an album. (Now I remember The Black Lips put out their own 7-inch when they started.)

There's a lot of new music being issued on vinyl, and being purchased and enjoyed not just by hipsters, but by aging gen-xers like myself who grew up with the format and like it because of the big artwork, liner notes you can actually read, and the general physicality of the medium.

Yep, I've always bought records when available. 1989-1996 was a pretty rough stretch, but even still I remember lots of stuff still on vinyl. I was always amazed that LPs cost probably twice as much to make as CDs but sold for less than half the price. (Not so much anymore ...) :\

My parents expected maybe between $50-$100 to be his offer for the lot. "How does $500 sound?" he asked when he was done browsing. My dad, gobsmacked but still sly, replied with "I dunno if I could let them go for less than $700". They compromised at $600.

There must have been at least a handful of valuable records worth $50-$100, or the guy was an idiot. (or maybe they were all in mint condition, I guess). Or Maybe the used LP market skyrocketed while I wasn't looking ... I still see lots of LPs at thrift stores for 50 cents. In the dark, dark days, I used to get bulk LPs for 10/$1 at places like Goodwill/Salvation Army.

But this whole video and post are full of cliches. Too easy, not that interesting. It's a weak-sauce version of "kids say the darnedest things."

Not a great post at all, but mildly (or not) amusing single-link youtube posts have been par for the course for a long time.

Man, I was explaining the concept of a "broken record" to a teen who'd never seen one back in the nineties. Yes it is totally possible for people to have not encountered a vinyl record.

But what about any number of movies, books, or TV shows? Or South Park?

The Needle Scratch, the Surprise Phone Call, and Other Obsolete Movie Clichés Technology Will Never Kill
posted by mrgrimm at 1:54 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also (in recycled BoingBoing news) Bartholomäus Traubeck plays trees on his record player. Much cooler.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:59 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"the needle had a little thing where you could put all the sound through it and it would come out the speakers and stuff"

UHmmm, yeah, uhrrrmm...
posted by Twang at 2:12 PM on January 19, 2012


I'm just waiting until the kids start saying that stuttering "Sounds like buffering."
posted by verb at 2:13 PM on January 19, 2012


I think some of this is holdover from the very disappointed internet-sleuth-brigade from earlier in AskMe.

I thought it was a good video.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:26 PM on January 19, 2012


It feels fake because she's overacting even though it's real.
posted by smackfu at 2:42 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


"but, I don't think this would fit into a CD player, what do you do with it?"

OH MY GOD THIS FAKE ACTING IS SO FAKE
posted by orme at 3:35 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It feels fake because she's overacting even though it's real.

She's 13.
posted by cmoj at 3:36 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The middle part does sound almost like an infomercial. "This is like 10 CDs! How many songs can you put on it?" almost begs for "100 CDs worth -- and it's only $9.99 if you order now!"

But the way her brow crinkles skeptically at 0:46 when John mentions using a needle is adorable. And I don't think it's an easily hammed reaction.
posted by dhartung at 3:36 PM on January 19, 2012


Turntables can be a bit of a mystery.
posted by unliteral at 4:03 PM on January 19, 2012


I like how the poster of that question refers to the needle as the "reading head".
posted by XMLicious at 4:26 PM on January 19, 2012


I have a question about recent vinyl releases. I assume most of the audio editing is done with computers rather than analog magnetic tape spools these days. So if the source material is digital, what benefits does vinyl offer? Are the masters in a higher bitrate and sampling frequency than redbook audio? And if so, why not release the higher quality digital masters for download rather than go through the trouble of manufacturing a physical product?
posted by stopgap at 4:58 PM on January 19, 2012


FAKE
posted by ReeMonster at 5:09 PM on January 19, 2012


So if the source material is digital, what benefits does vinyl offer?

Vinyl sounds like vinyl. So if you want to make a digital recording, after it is mixed and mastered and everything, sound even more like vinyl, then pressing it on vinyl will do the trick.

The question is not what sounds "better." It's "how do you want it to sound?" If you like the sound of vinyl, vinyl is the way to go, even if the original source was digital.
posted by The World Famous at 5:20 PM on January 19, 2012


Vinyl adds noise, in other words.
posted by empath at 5:24 PM on January 19, 2012


Yep.
posted by The World Famous at 5:24 PM on January 19, 2012


It's a strange set of circumstances. I fell down a hill, I got glue on my hands and records on my fingers and there's a platypus controlling me and I just can't stop.
posted by plinth at 6:02 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm in my thirties and I'm not sure I talk to anyone on a daily basis who can't write an HTTP server. Recognizing when we exist in unrepresentative groups is important.
I don't own a record player. The only audio equipment I own and use on a regular basis are a couple of pairs of headphones and some cheap speakers. On the other hand, I've written HTTP servers several times.

The other thing --- most records are black and opaque. This thing was orange and transparent. The only reason I would have recognized it as a record is that my mom had a record player and records that she would listen too from time to time

Also, I don't know why people feel the need to call fake on everything. Just because something falls outside your expectations doesn't make it fake. It's entirely possible that your expectations are just totally wrong.
jcreigh: Well-said. Look, people, it's a cute little video of a kid who's never seen a piece of obsolete kit before, that's it, full stop, made by a respected member of our community who told us it isn't staged -- and you're going over it like it's the Zapruder film, and calling him a liar to his face? What the hell?
No kidding.
Don't worry everyone, the MeFi detective squad is all over The Case of the Girl Who Held the LP by the Edge.
Lol.
He came back with what he thought was a "laserdisc or something."
Wow, it's funny that he would know what a laserdisc was but not a record :P
posted by delmoi at 6:03 PM on January 19, 2012


I don't own a record player. The only audio equipment I own and use on a regular basis are a couple of pairs of headphones and some cheap speakers. On the other hand, I've written HTTP servers several times.

Oh, thanks a lot. Now you've gone and confirmed my pre-existing biases!
posted by verb at 6:06 PM on January 19, 2012


"Kids, do you know what a record is?"

"Yeah"

"Huh (surprised), where did you see one?"

"At that pioneer place we went to on a field trip."

No joking. My kids are 8 & 9. I'm guessing it was actually a phonograph, but maybe they showed them a turntable as well.
posted by stp123 at 6:08 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Showed my nephew my turntable and how to play a LP last summer. He was 14 and a city kid who probably has walked by a few record stores. Still, total amazement.
posted by Ber at 6:24 PM on January 19, 2012


I have a Pioneer direct drive turntable that has followed me around for the last thirty years or so, and I don't think I've turned it on in that time. Anyone have any advice for when I try to resurrect it?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:31 PM on January 19, 2012


She touches the vinyl a bunch of times.

Into the wolf pit, then.

Too bad: she was a cute one. But the law is clear on this.
posted by rokusan at 8:17 PM on January 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


So if the source material is digital, what benefits does vinyl offer?

Great big cover art. Possibly more art, and lyrics and liner notes you can actually read on the inner sleeve. Even more art if it's a gatefold. I haven't bought a lot of newly released stuff, but back in the day you would even sometimes get posters, stickers, or punch-out-and-assemble 3D spaceships.

This is all stuff you pore over while you sit in a chair or lie on your bed and listen to the music, because the medium requires that you physically interact with it when you start it, and when you flip it over to listen to side 2.

And records do sound great if properly cared for, kept clean, and played with a needle in good condition over a halfway decent sound system. I'm sure there are audiophiles who can expound at length on the merits of Vinyl over CD audio, but I don't really care beyond keeping my records clean and scratch-free. For me it's all about the album as the combined experience of the music and artwork, and the ritual of really listening to the music.
posted by usonian at 8:25 PM on January 19, 2012


The thing that made me feel kind of ripped off by this is the "painstakingly" bit. If he'd gone into moving magnet and moving coil cartridges, or the RIAA equalization curve, or... There was nothing painstaking about that explanation at all.
posted by Chuckles at 8:53 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I came across a portable gramophone (with some records) and I was impressed by that. No electricity whatsoever-- entirely mechanical! And it's LOUD! Granted it doesn't actually sound as good, but still. I want to take it to a picnic in the park--be a hipster's hipster.
posted by alexei at 9:59 PM on January 19, 2012


I mean whatever, maybe it wasn't scripted, but if she didn't have some some sense of how she was supposed to put down her iDevice and act all "why would you put a needle on it?" before the filming started, I'll eat my shorts.
posted by ericost at 10:03 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only reason I would have recognized it as a record is that ...

... it has the artist name and track listing in the middle of it? ;)

Anyone have any advice for when I try to resurrect it?

No Steely Dan. And turn it up!
posted by mrgrimm at 10:17 PM on January 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Desjardens, I had that album too. And I have no idea why. If you had asked me what albums I owned growing up, I wouldn't have listed it. But seeing the cover brought back a whole slew of memories around that album.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:48 PM on January 19, 2012


ppppppppffffff.....LPs....if you want to TRULY experience recorded music the way it was meant to be experienced, then wax cylinders are the only way to go. That's authenticity for you.

Just don't forget to remove the wax cylinders from your car's in dashboard player on hot days...
posted by Chekhovian at 11:55 PM on January 19, 2012


The explanation i would have gone with would be: "You know how a microphone works, right? You talk into it and sound-waves hit a little membrane, which moves a tiny magnet, which in turn generates an electrical signal. A record works the same way, except instead of a membrane, the magnet is attached to a tiny needle. So instead of data like in an MP3, the physical sound itself is frozen into the disk"
posted by delmoi at 2:27 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


No electricity whatsoever-- entirely mechanical! And it's LOUD!

That's impedance matching for you, fuck yeah! (presumably there was an acoustic horn on the thing right?) What that does is couple sound to the air very efficiently. The larger the horn, the louder it is, that's why a trumpet can be very loud indeed.

If you really want to hipster it up, buy one of these: its the same kind of horn, but for you iPhone.
posted by Chekhovian at 2:28 AM on January 20, 2012


Anyone have any advice for when I try to resurrect it?

  No Steely Dan. And turn it up!

Hey now, you gotta at least have a copy of Aja.

Seriously though, Crabby Appleton - since your turntable is direct drive there's no belt to worry about. You might consider getting a new cartridge for it (depending on how much use the turntable got back in the day) but otherwise... make sure it's level, fire it up and see what happens! For parts/supplies, I was pretty happy with my transaction with Turntable Basics. I bought a belt from them, and I think I actually got my cartridge from Amazon... and it was only about 25 bucks.
posted by usonian at 5:48 AM on January 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The explanation i would have gone with would be:

Heh, I don't really think you are getting anywhere by assuming anyone knows how a microphone works.
posted by smackfu at 7:07 AM on January 20, 2012


Sounds are vibrations (pressure waves) in air. The record groove vibrates the needle riding in it. This vibration is transferred to the air by the attached horn, or to a magnet which moves inside a coil of wire (or vice versa), creating an electrical signal that is amplified and then transferred to the air by another transducer (i.e., a loudspeaker).

In any case, it doesn't seem possible to explain how records work without referring to the groove. :-)

And thanks, usonian, that's useful advice. My cartridge was relatively new when I packed it away, do you think it's likely to have deteriorated much? Or maybe the weight of the stylus has deformed it? The other thing I'm a little worried about is any capacitors that might be used in the electronics.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:45 AM on January 20, 2012


An official rebuttal.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:43 PM on January 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Heh, I don't really think you are getting anywhere by assuming anyone knows how a microphone works.

Well, apparently records can be played in an entirely mechanical way, so you actually wouldn't even need to invoke the microphone aspect.

(Also, the reason I came back to this thread was the rebuttal, which I saw on google+ earlier)
posted by delmoi at 7:25 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


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