Friday, January 29, 2010

Records’ revival

I want to thank the Bowling Green Daily News for allowing me to reprint this interesting article

Vinyl makes up half of Great Escape’s music sales

By Jenna Mink, The Daily News,

Forget about compact disc players. Who cares about MP3 players? Brennan Graves would rather spin an album on his record player.

“CDs are cold, and (iPods) have no soul at all,” said Graves, of Bowling Green. He enjoys “the organic process of putting the needle on the record.”

In the age of digital music and Internet downloads, vinyl records are making a comeback.

At Great Escape on Scottsville Road, vinyl sales have increased over the past two years, making up half of the store’s music sales, manager Matt Pfefferkorn said.

“The regulars we have like the sound of it,” he said. “They prefer the sound as opposed to a CD or iPod. Maybe they’re more into that pure sound.”

Customers of all ages flock to the store’s vinyl collection, but Pfefferkorn recently has noticed a spike in the number of younger people who purchase vinyl records.

“Normally, high school kids are into the latest technology, but they’re discovering their parents’ album collection,” he said. And “college kids are pretty heavily into the vinyl scene.”

In fact, new vinyl production has increased over the years, he said.

These days, customers buy albums from recent artists, such as Kanye West and Ben Harper, on vinyl. Artists, such as Willie Nelson and the Black Crowes, have released their newest albums on vinyl, and companies are remaking records by classic rocks bands, such as Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Beatles.

Many new records include a CD version of the album or a code to download the album onto an MP3 player, which also helps sales, Pfefferkorn said.

“There’s still people that will constantly come in and look through the records and not even look at the CDs,” he said. “CDs lost popularity due to iPods, but the record player is always there. It’s still there.”

Matthew Howard, an employee at CD Warehouse on Campbell Lane, said he has noticed an increase in the number of young customers who buy vinyl.

“I think it’s just the fascination with the older music,” he said. “A lot of people tell me recently that it just sounds better.”

Many customers prefer the artwork that accompanies a vinyl record, Howard said. In comparison to a CD cover, a record cover is big enough to hang on the wall.

Also, many customers collect vinyl for the bargaining experience - records, especially used ones, tend to be less expensive than CDs.

“You can come in here and, if you only have $10, essentially you can walk out with 10 records,” Pfefferkorn said.

Several people sell their used records to Pfefferkorn’s shop. Customers swap their records for cash on a daily basis. By 2 p.m. on a Friday, three people had sold records to the store.

Philip Fracassi, of Bowling Green, has collected records for two years.

“Originally, my parents had their own vinyl collection they passed onto me,” he said. “It has a better sound quality.”

Still, many customers have been collecting records since they were children. Pfefferkorn started buying records when he was 8 years old. Back then, he listened to his albums on his father’s record player.

Now he has 5,000 to 6,000 records.

“I have some good treasures,” he said. “You can kind of go back to your childhood ... to me, it’s the truest, purest form of listening to music.”

And most records sound good on any type of player. Pfefferkorn recently bought a Fisher Price record player for his daughter.

“I was listening to a Bob Dylan album on it, and it sounds so cool,” he said.

Graves has been collecting vinyl records for about 30 years. He now has about 500 records - some of his favorites include his Bruce Springsteen, Kiss and The Beatles collections.

“The artwork’s better. The sound’s better,” he said. “It’s more personal.”


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