Approaching current vinyl enthusiasm in late modernity, we postulate four mechanisms as possible explanations and test them by conducting a social experiment with 31 music listeners. Half of them were to play the vinyl version of a current music album; the rest were given the CD. Without participants’ knowledge, the headphone sound was manipulated, effectively resulting in a between-subjects design with ‘sound’ and ‘sensory appeal’ as independent variables and ‘emotional arousal’ and ‘nostalgia’ as dependents. Additionally, participants’ birth year was implemented as a covariate. Obtained results confirm the distinctive sound of the Vinyl as well as its sensory appeal to be both aesthetically more exciting for nowadays’ listeners compared to a CD. Furthermore, we demonstrate feelings of technostalgia to be ‘embodied’ since they only appear with ‘valid’ material media of one’s own past. In contrast, generational aura attributions emerge when handling ‘obsolete’ audio media one has not been socialized with.
Steffen Lepa & Vlasis Tritakis: Not Every Vinyl Retromaniac is a Nostalgic A social experiment on the pleasures of record listening in the digital age