The Vinyl Revival

by Jack Diablo
April 18th marked the second annual Record Store Day, a celebration of the local independent music stores. Over 700 shops from across the nation participated in this year’s event by hosting parties and offering exclusive vinyl releases.
In Jacksonville, CD Connection and Weird Wax featured local bands performing all day in order to bring people out and discover what these shops offer.
Terry Dixon is the owner of CD Connection and an avid fan of any and all types of music. For him, supporting independent record stores is not just a personal financial matter but a means to stimulate the local economy. “Shop local!” Dixon exclaimed in our interview. “It’s your economy. The only economy that matters is your local one.”
One of the main foci of independent music shops is the sale of new and used vinyl albums, a medium that has recently seen a dramatic upswing in retail sales.
Vinyl has been an integral part of Dixon’s store since it opened ten years ago. He has witnessed the revival first-hand. In fact, last year’s sales alone were greater than the past twenty years combined. So just what is it about vinyl that has made it a prime candidate for such a comeback?
“It sounds better,” Dixon affirms. “You only hear in analog stereo.” The organic sound quality associated with the medium seems to be the most popular reason for audiophiles to choose vinyl over digital. Greg Trosell, a patron of CD Connection, feels a nostalgic link to those “inconsistencies, the crackles and pops” you hear when you drop the needle. Trosell has been pleased to see some of his favorite hard-to-find classic albums re-released. Whereas before you had to dig through stacks of used records to find a diamond in the rough, it is now as easy as making a trip to the store to find albums once considered rare.
But some enthusiasts enjoy the ritual of thumbing through the stacks to discover that unique find. From thrift stores to used record shops like Weird Wax and Royal Treatment, the option remains for those determined enough to spend the time to sift out what they are looking for.
Another draw is the production value put into making vinyl records these days. There are limited edition LP’s that commonly feature colored wax and additional material not found in the CD release. As Devin Balara, an employee at CD Connection, calls it, “the full package.” Balara advocates buying any kind of physical music, vinyl and CD alike. “I love to have the material, all the stuff that the artist intended for you to have. There’s a reason there is so much thought put into it,” she says.
One obstacle to vinyl sales is the cumbersome nature of those seven to twelve inch discs. Vinyl has to be properly cared for if it is to last and you obviously can’t play records in your car or listen to them during your jog. Fortunately, many new releases offer digital downloads of the music free of charge with the purchase of the record.
Whether you buy your music on vinyl or CD, one thing remains – the best way to buy music and support the community at the same time is to shop at your local independent music store.