Interaction Design Diary: UX of Record Player

Listening to music, for some people is more than just pressing play, letting the song played in the background and doing what he/she was doing in the first place. Nope. It could be more than that.

I recently got a hold of a turntable and with that device I can now play records I’ve been collecting from few months back. Of course, the main purpose of buying this player was so I can listen to songs on those records and enjoying the hidden frequencies that weren’t heard on CD or mp3. However, I was wrong. Again, it was more than just that.

To start with, playing records wasn’t as easy as playing CD or cassete (my favorite physical music format ever). It involves a bit more dexterity in terms of putting on the record, carefully choosing which song to play and dropping that needle right where it belongs. And again, even the process of doing that, seeing the tone arm slowly drops, hearing a bit of crackle before the first song played were tiny details that makes listening records an amazing experience. To add even more, look at the cover or the record sleeve. Look at the size. A thing that size with that weight was obviously made to enjoy, to grace and to be examined. Now do that while listening to records. Compare it to looking at an album cover while listening to an album cover on your iPod or Winamp. Will you grace the cover?

That’s where the biggest difference lies. Records, were made not only so people can hear songs on it, but also to be enjoyed as a whole package. The whole processes can even be categorized as a ritual. At least for me. While on the other hand, listening to your mp3s won’t yield the same experience. Choosing mp3 to play is easy, playing it is as easy as clicking or pressing a play button. So easy, that you can do it in reflex mode and continue to browse the web.

To conclude, I’m not saying that mp3 is bad, and records are good. No. I’m just implying here that records, are made to be experienced in a different way than mp3 does. If you want to save the music industry, go ahead, buy those digital albums at will. However, if you want to fully enjoy music, then my friend, visit your nearest record store and start from there.

Happy Records Store Day 2012.

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