Whether you believe vinyl sounds ‘better’ or just prefer to own something tangible, there’s no questioning the convenience of digital audio.
While most major record companies offer free digital downloads with new vinyl purchases, that doesn’t account for the many smaller labels that don’t, nor does it account for the millions of vinyl records sold before the advent of digital.
Thankfully it’s very easy to convert your vinyl or audio cassettes to a digital format at home, but it can be slightly time consuming. The variety and extent of the options can be intimidating as well, but it doesn’t have to be hard. The good news is that if you already listen to vinyl or cassettes at home you probably won’t need to purchase any new hardware to get started (though if that’s what you want, there’s plenty of options over page).
The amount of money or time you spend should match up with how you intend to use your digital files: are they backups, or do you want to chuck them on your phone? If the former, then unless you’re ripping incredibly rare vinyl then it’s probably not worth it. Wildly popular music (say, The Rolling Stones or Beyonce) will always be accessible, somewhere, unless there’s a global catastrophe.
If the latter, then it’s worth considering whether you’re fussy about fidelity. Most people aren’t, as common MP3s are of significantly lower quality than CDs and few people notice a difference. If you are, then you’ve probably already invested in great turntables, pre-amps and speakers – which is generally all you’ll need to digitise your collection.