Millennials flock to record stores to discover the classics. Older musicians such as Elton John, Paul Simon, and Barbara Streisand successfully released albums in 2016, both on physical CD and digital music buying platforms. Musicians who were popular when millennials’ parents were growing up go on tour, selling out with young and old filling the audience. Tribute bands of musicians no longer touring or even alive attract a young crowd, hoping to live the experience of seeing the classics live without paying high prices.
Why is this generation of music lovers obsessed with the old? Maybe they are yearning for some connection with the previous generation, a generation who feels that millennials are lazy and care too much about technology. Maybe they long for an easier time and a release from the digital overload that plagues the generation. Maybe they want to be different than those who only buy digital music and listen to pop hits, but at the same time, this desire to be different connects those seeking this goal.
Many millennials grew up listening to the music their parents liked. Some may have received CDs with this music and others listened to oldies or classic rock radio. A lot of radio stations play today’s hits as well as music that was popular when the previous generation was growing up. While many millennials do not want to be associated with older music, many have embraced it, even if they also listen to hip hop, rap, and other music styles characteristic of today.
Vinyls and turntables have been revived by the millennials. Many long for a physical experience with music that digital music cannot offer. Record stores are opening or expanding to meet the new demands. Records have a sound quality that digital music and CDs do not possess. The art that vinyls come with is unique and gives insight and depth to the record. Buying an album digitally takes away the experiences of looking at the album book and vinyl art. Turntables, while a thing of the past, have come back, better than ever. They are more condensed and have new technology features such as converting vinyls to MP3 files to be played on computers or mobile devices.
Older musicians who still tour are popular among millennials. Although streaming services are on the rise, allowing fans to watch concerts without leaving their homes, there is a certain appeal in seeing a band live. It is cool to hear the differences in live music compared to the CD. Older musicians did not have the same voice-altering technology that musicians have today for albums, so seeing them live is a great experience. Many older musicians actually play their own instruments, while many newer artists use computer-generated backup music. There is something magical about being able to go to a venue and interact with other fans in person. If someone cannot see a musician due to finances, seeing a tribute band is an option. While it may not be the same, many tribute bands try their best to reproduce the sound and sometimes the look to give the impression of seeing the real thing, even if the musician is no longer living or if the actual band is too expensive to see live.