Vinyl goes high-tech

While brands have been reimagining the marketing around vinyl records in fun and sensory-stimulating ways as the analog medium enjoys a strong resurgence, new innovations for this product are moving the needle for the future of vinyl.


Seeking more immersive ways to connect with consumers, the music industry is the latest sector to explore the addition of AR to entertainment mediums. Developed by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam, LAVA is a platform that allows users to see augmented reality visuals when they pair a LAVA-powered app to a corresponding vinyl record. Dutch artists Necessary Explosion are the first to use the platform to release their debut album; when a listener uses the LAVA-powered Necessary Explosion app they’ll see colorful psychedelic shapes, comparable to a lava lamp, that complement the vibe of each song as they play the record on a turntable.


The Shazam for album art is finally here: vinyl identification app Record Player connects the Google Cloud Vision API and the Spotify API so that users can snap a photo of a physical vinyl record and immediately stream the record on Spotify, eliminating the need for vinyl enthusiasts to search for a title in Spotify’s enormous platform. Even as young consumers are eagerly embracing analog entertainment, the chance to integrate the frictionless experience of the music streaming service with this analog medium combines the best of both worlds.


Australian startup Rebeat Innovations received $4.8 million in funding to develop high-definition vinyl, which boasts better sound quality and longer playing times than non-HD vinyl, and hopes to bring this technology to market in 2019. The process of making HD vinyl is complex: the audio file must be digitally converted into a 3D topographical map, which is then inscribed via laser onto the “stamper” that creates the record’s grooves, thus minimizing the loss of audio information. As one in 10 global youth already listen to vinyl records, this type of auditory improvement could further strengthen the medium’s revival.