Blast From the Past, Vinyls Popular Among Students


Ky contributes to the nationally syndicated television show, First Business News.

by Ky Sisson

Even in the digital age, senior Clarke Andros buys the obsolete.

“I buy new records on vinyl because there is so much more that goes into it,” said Andros. “It’s not just a digital file and is worth paying more.”

He is apart of the resurgence in vinyl records and sales of the 65 year-old technology are making a record comeback. Nielsen Soundscan, a sales tracking system for music in the U.S. and Canada projects 5.47 million vinyls will be sold in 2013, up 338 percent in the last seven years.

Steve Sheldon is the president of Rainbo Records in Canoga Park, northwest of Los Angeles. His company manufactures over 25,000 vinyls a day and says the demand for vinyl records is unlike anything they’ve seen in years.

“We were doing about double [in sales] what we were doing two years ago,” said Sheldon. “Since 2008, it’s been multiplying every year.”

Sheldon credits the demand in vinyl to those in between the ages of 13 and 25 buying the product. He says because they have grown up on digital media, there is a new desire for physical purchases.

“It’s a tangible item and they were brought up on virtual everything,” said Sheldon. “I think they are enjoying handling the records, handling the jacket; the artwork on the album cover was always an attraction.”

Andros agrees and said he enjoys reading through the liner notes included with the album that show the lyrics, musicians, and instruments that are in the album. He also likes the album art and often uses it for decoration.

“I love the liner notes,” said Andros. “You can’t get that with an MP3, well maybe on Wikipedia, but that’s just not as fun.”

Amoeba Music is the world’s largest independent record store located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Adrienne Pearson has worked at Amoeba as a manager for the last ten years. She says she has definitely seen an increase in vinyl sales in the last five years mostly among the youth.

“Here [at Amoeba] it is really awesome to see a 15 year old say, ‘Oh I just got a turntable for my first time, what do I buy?’ and they are extremely excited about it,” said Pearson.

Record labels are also adding incentives to buy vinyl. Included in many new vinyl purchases is an MP3 digital download. Something both Pearson and Andros say is a great addition to the vinyl experience.

“A bunch of record labels are actually putting out vinyl that also include digital downloads and you know vinyl sales are going up when you see them at Best Buy,” said Pearson.
“Most often times I still get an MP3 download with a new record,” said Andros, “I can download it digitally and listen to it in my car.”

Rainbo Records has been in business since 1939. They have manufactured every type of music media from vinyls to cassettes, eight-tracks, and CDs. Sheldon says the digital age could not have been more detrimental to his company, but the comeback in vinyls came at the perfect time.

“Vinyl has been the savior for us,” said Sheldon. “After 74 years, it was looking pretty bleak with CDs. Our CD sales have dropped about 75% since 2008. I was going to scale down the company to a much smaller operation and then these last few years, vinyl has taken off.”

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