Twenty years ago it looked like MP3 players would be the final nail in the coffin when it came to vinyl records after years of falling sales compared to cassette tapes and CDs. After all, why would anyone buy massive LPs that needed to be carefully cared for when you could carry your entire music collection on one piece of plastic, metal and glass in your pocket?
But instead, Apple Inc. has declared it will no longer make the iPod music player at the same time that businesses are investing in new vinyl record production.
Apple announced May 10 that it would discontinue making the iPod Touch, the final iPod in its portfolio.
The original iPod came out in 2001. The first version cost $399 and was made with a polycarbonate/ABS blend and stamped stainless steel. It won a gold award from the Industrial Designers Society of America that first year.
The announcement of the iPod's end comes just a few weeks after four companies announced major expansions in production to keep up with consumers' and artists' demands for vinyl records. Memphis Record Pressing LLC recently launched a $30 million expansion in Tennessee that will allow it to turn out 125,000 records a day, Plastics News correspondent Jeannie Reall writes.
A new documentary, Vinyl Nation — currently available for rent for home streaming — tracks the enduring love for both records and the unexpected pleasures of finding the perfect album in a record store.
"[It's] the thrill of what might might be behind the door of that little shop," one person says in the documentary. "I've never been stunned to find an MP3."