So… What’s the Difference?

So, what is the difference between vinyl and other formats, such as cassettes, CDs, and digital files?  Most people have a preference in the debate of which music format is the best.  While I will present you with a brief comparison of these formats, you can’t truly have a favorite until you give them all a try.

Digital (height of popularity = 2000s)



  • Access to every recording available – chances are, if a song has been recorded, you can find it through a digital music service
  • Many websites, such as Spotify® and YouTube, offer free music
  • Mobility – it is much easier to carry an entire library of music digitally
  • Loss of owning physical albums
  • Some newer-model vehicles offer auxiliary ports

CDs (height of popularity = 1990s)



  • Cheap – while not as cheap as cassettes, in 2017, CDs are inexpensive and easy to find
  • Compatible with most vehicles
  • Sound quality – CDs offer a high-quality sound, which contributes to their lasting impact

Cassette Tapes (height of popularity = 1980s)



  • Small – while not as mobile as digital music, cassettes are small and compact
  • Most newer-model vehicles do not feature cassette players
  • Cheap – aside from free versions of digital music, cassette tapes are typically the cheapest format of music

And, of course, Vinyl (height of popularity =1950s/1960s)


  • Rich sound quality – while older albums may contain “surface noise,” many vinyl enthusiasts agree that this contributes to the sound quality
  • Art value – many collectors do so solely for the purpose of album art, which, although featured with CDs and cassettes, is displayed largest by vinyl records
  • No mobility
  • Value ($) in rare and limited vinyl
  • More “involved” – many enjoy vinyl simply because you have to dedicate your attention to the entire album (especially when you have to take the effort to flip to the B-side of the album)
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