by Valerie Gonzaga
Nowadays, it is not that hard to find your typical 16 year old girl in possession of a turquoise Crosley turntable, bought from Target for only $80.99, which in fact is playing new and upcoming artist The Weeknd’s new album Beauty Behind the Madness. Nor is it hard to find a 15 year old wearing “mom jeans” as she walks to class with headphones strapped against her head plugged into a “new, old” cassette player. Is this 21st century starting to forget that technology has developed for a reason, which is to make entertainment more easy and in this case, portable, than ever before? These fads are indeed making a comeback, more quickly than ever before.
As more cassette players, radios, typewriters and especially “polaroid” cameras – disguised behind the brand Instax – continue to be stocked, the term “vintage” seems to fuse more and more into what is now “in.” Many young adults today seem to forget that the sole purpose of calling something “vintage” is to denote that it is something from a previous era. This analog revivalism is only growing as interest sparks creating a domino effect on many who fall into the obsession with everything that is decently, outdated.
From the phonograph to the gramophone to the record player to the modern turntable, this machine brings about melodies from vinyl records. However, these machines lost popularity once the cassette player gained popularity in the 1980s, which is almost 40 years ago. Nowadays, Crosley record players are being sold at local department stores such as Target and Walmart, completely bypassing the fact that the digital era has evolved so much that even compact CDs are old-fashioned.
According to 2012 Digital Trends studies, vinyl record sales in the U.S. have rose 17.7 percent equivalating to 4.55 million units. CD sales continue to decline 13.5 percent all the way down to 193.4 million units. Vinyl record sales are nowhere close to selling as many units as CDs, but they are still increasingly rising as more people acquire these old music players in their homes, hoping to get a taste of what the “old days” were like, neglecting new technology. It is not abnormal at all nowadays to see the “vinyl” section of a bookstore right next to the CDs.
Instant film cameras, called “polaroids” back in the analog age are seemingly hot on the charts as they are claimed to be the second most best-selling item on Amazon of 2015, next to Crosley record players. International Business Times states that the Fujifilm Instax instant camera beat one of the best-selling products of all year, the GoPro Hero 4, which is an action camera programmed with a normal SD card. It is only in this century where a 62 mm by 46 mm camera that pops out small white pieces of paper can now be deemed more popular than a $400 mini digital camera holding some of the most upmost improved technology. This popularity cannot certainly attribute to the “vintage” aspect that people place on these types of cameras.
There is supposed to be a reason why these seemingly cool devices are deemed “vintage,” they are to be left in the era that they were popular in. However, there is no denying the fact that there is already an obsession with these items. Therefore, they are not being revived from the past, but developing their own new mark on the 21st century. Fujifilm and Crosley did not bring 1980 record players or polaroid cameras from the past and sell them in abundance; they are currently reproducing them in order to meet needs of supply and demand. This is not vintage in any way shape or form.
More and more people today are buying non-competing and non-advanced technology making vintage materials more publicized than they should be. Although it might seem oddly enticing to call yourself original for possessing these decade old devices, they are indeed more popular than many people think. However, just like every other new item that is introduced, people find themselves hopping the bandwagon and buying the product. The same situation is applicable to these “new, old” machines which are really not as old as one may think they are.