Daily Reveille – Vinyl records seeing resurgence in popularity

Vinyl records seeing resurgence in popularity

By Matthew Jacobs

Entertainment Writer

Published: Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, February 17, 2010


JORDAN LaFRANCE / The Daily Reveille

Sarah Wiseman, painting professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, searches through the inventory at The Compact Disc Store on Jefferson Highway. Record sales skyrocketed in 2008.

Vinyl records are going for a spin again, as the once-universal music format makes a comeback across the recording industry.

Record sales skyrocketed in 2008, with 2.1 million vinyl albums sold through November, according to Nielsen SoundScan, an information system that tracks music sales. And 2009 saw the highest number of record sales since 1991.

In 2006 and 2007, vinyl record sales increased 14 percent as CD sales plummeted 35 percent, according to Nielsen.

The Compact Disc Store on Jefferson Highway, a local music store and Baton Rouge staple since its opening in November 1984, has reported a spike in sales in conjunction with the return of the classic record format.

“Five years ago, we started noticing that people were wanting vinyl again,” said Brad Pope, co-owner of The Compact Disc Store. “At that time, only a few things were on vinyl. Now, almost everything gets a [vinyl] release.”

Pope credits the return of vinyl records as a source of the increase in The Compact Disc Store’s daily profits.

“We frequently have days where the vinyl sales make what would have otherwise been an abysmal day an OK day,” Pope said. “It’s not vinyl alone, but it certainly is making the difference.”

As the recording industry sees music lovers nostalgically return to the days of ’60s and ’70s rock fads, technology junkies are taking advantage of the opportunity to pick up another top-of-the-line gadget.

Two turntable production companies set up shop at the Consumer Electronics Show in January to display fresh models of formerly outdated record players, according to a Jan. 13 article by the Los Angeles Times.

Former turntable giants Crosley and ION Audio have been able to rebuild their businesses thanks to the resurgence in popularity of vinyl-record players.

ION is capitalizing on its ability to combine the returning fad with digital music — the ION Profile turntable includes an iPod dock, which allows music to be transferred directly from a record to an iPod or other portable music device.

Brian Domingue, Compact Disc Store employee and music lover, attributes aesthetics and consumerism as additional pushes for the return of the vinyl record.

“Records are more of a piece of art,” Domingue said. “CDs are cheap throwaways. All the labels that tricked everyone into getting rid of their records and buying CDs are pressing records and tricking people into buying records again.”

And the generation jump-starting most modern trends is credited with being the target audience shopping for vinyl records.

The youth demographic is most prominently absorbing the movement, Domingue said.

“I don’t think the people who are buying records now can recall a time [everyone] bought records,” Domingue said. “It’s like nostalgia for an age that never existed.”

Antique stores are benefiting from the movement as well.

Kerry Beary, an employee at Aladdin’s Lamp on Government Street who specializes in vintage vinyl records, said the store’s record collection is a significant pull for 18 to 40-year-olds.

“People are inheriting their parents’ record collections and looking to update,” Beary said. “A lot of people are sick of the bad sound quality with digital music.”

The movement is not lost on University students.

Christopher Leh, international studies junior, worked in a vinyl record show in his hometown outside Chicago for four years.

Like many young record collectors, Leh ascribes his fascination with the musical technology to his parents’ influence.

“When I was growing up, my parents had boxes upon boxes of records,” Leh said. “Now, about 90 percent of my records, I’ve bought.”

Even national chains are picking up on the trend, with Best Buy, Urban Outfitters and Barnes & Noble introducing vinyl record selections to their stores.

But local music stores like The Compact Disc Store and Aladdin’s Lamp aren’t placing much stock in such companies jumping on the bandwagon.

“It blew my mind that Best Buy sells records,” Domingue said. “But I don’t think a person is going to be in Best Buy and buy records. No one goes, ‘Oh, I need some records. I’ll go to Best Buy.”

But nostalgia has made its splash, as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” all earned spots on Best Buy’s current top-10 vinyl best sellers, according to Best Buy’s Web site.

Pope said the vinyl record movement is a reemerging trend that appears to be one that will stick around in the closets of music lovers across the country as record sales continue to amplify.

“When we first opened, [The Compact Disc Store] didn’t sell anything but CDs,” Pope said. “The only real departure from that has been new and second-hand vinyl, which has seen a resurgence of demand, and we’re happy to fulfill the need.”

Posted via web from The LP Revival Blog

~ by lprevival on February 18, 2010.

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