Last year the world went backwards. For years the trend had been to make everything disappear. Didn't matter what it was. If it was a real thing that you could hold in your hands, then it was on the way out. Books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, newspapers, games, comics, photographs, whatevs. They were all marked for death.
As we rushed to embrace digital convenience we overlooked the fact that we were turning the wonderful debris of life into nothing more than a file.
A file! Dear gawd. How boring. But here we are. All of us now file management experts. Ensuring we keep our storage limits in the black while we shuffle gigs of entertainment around from device to device like it ain't no thang.
Which, to be fair, it ain't.
Don't get it twisted now. I'm as into and reliant on digital media as you are. I'm streaming tunes all day, every day. I have portable hard drives lying around the place that are maxed out, there's an iPod in the car, an iPad for the commute, and this weekend some very hard choices to make about what will be deleted off my phone to make space for next week's new stuff.
I get it, don't worry. Comparatively, physical media is a huge pain in the arse. Digital is undoubtedly where it's at.
And yet ...
I'd hesitate to call it a revolution. But whatever it was, the trend was most definitely bucked.
The 2014 Nielsen year-end sales report showed that digital music sales had dropped 9 per cent while vinyl, that creaky old audio delivery format, had rocketed up an astonishing 52 per cent from its 2013 numbers.
The digital disaster is easily explainable as people began ceding music ownership in favour of the unlimited rental model provided by various streaming services. Fair enough and wholly uninteresting.
But vinyl's phoenix-esque display? That's something to talk about. What's going on? Why is it going on? Who's got it going on?
Well, me. Of course. Though I won't accept sole credit for the record revival. A small thanks in the liner notes might be more appropriate, perhaps? I've certainly been doing my part. Expanding my collection of old jazz, exotica and swing at an alarming rate while supplementing it with the occasional reissued classic from acts like Bowie, Kraftwerk and The Cure.
For me, vinyl's an indulgence. An unnecessary expense that I attempt to temper by not repurchasing albums I already own. A rule that's often broken when tempted by the gorgeous oversized artwork of a classic.
But mostly I'm picking up early jazz that isn't readily available to stream or download. Well, maybe it is. I don't know. It's hard to find what you don't know you're looking for.
I'm not a purist or historian so a lot of my faves became so only after digging through the crates at stores like Real Groovy for hours and being drawn in by a striking record cover.
I'd never heard of Lionel Hampton before seeing his ridiculous cover for Flying Home, which has the jazz great dressed as Biggles and standing in front of a red biplane. It's ridiculous and I was sold the second I saw it. The music inside? Hot damn. Fantastic. So yes, I'm buying records but wouldn't have actually contributed much to that 52 per cent sales upswing as my purchases are often - but not always - second-hand.
Vinyl sales are up but they're still dwarfed by every other format, bar the humble cassette - which is remarkably also enjoying a renaissance in certain hip circles.
But why? Does vinyl really sound better? #Shrug. Maybe? I dunno. But I do know that whenever I drop the needle - or, more accurately, place the needle very carefully into the groove - and, say, Les Baxter's exotic orchestra wafts in on the airwaves accompanied by that unmistakable, perpetual, vinyl crackle, well then, yeah. Vinyl sounds a hell of a lot better than when I play a file through iTunes.
There's also the collection aspect, which sadly I'm a sucker for. I derive joy from just looking at my records in the exact same way I don't when I right click "more info" on the "Music" folder on my computer.
And that's what I reckon is the biggest factor in the record revival. That very real and tangible pleasure that every aspect of the medium offers. Because it can't be anything else.
Seriously, vinyl's a hassle: it takes up a load of room, it's heavy to move, it's super fragile and it demands you constantly get up and flip sides to continue listening.
No wonder it died. Long may it live.