Vinyl's Final Fling - Page 3

Music lovers celebrate as old-school phonograph records continue their surprising comeback
Vinyl
While the 45 single took off, Elvis was being crowned king.
Vinyl
In the mid-1960s, while teenage girls (and boys) went wild for the Beatles and their albums.
Vinyl
Here, in an unusual 1960s audio set-up, the whole gang is entranced by the same LP record while wearing individual headphones.

"For people to be buying as many records as they do, at the prices they do, is kind of baffling," says Tony Green, head buyer for the Amoeba Music store in San Francisco. "We're constantly buying. We never get as much as we want...It's a constant struggle to get the good stuff."

Green says there are about 200 "classic" albums for which consistent demand requires they keep numerous copies in stock at all times, "otherwise, we will run out and lose the sale."

"For a lot of people there's nostalgia, but even [those] under 30 are buying," says Green, who owned a smaller record store years ago in his native New Zealand.

"For some reason, vinyl has become more and more cool," marvels Goddard. "I'm still trying to figure that out…I've never heard a satisfactory explanation."

"We spend most of our time hunting for vinyl, classic rock vinyl," says Perry, noting how record store customers have changed since his youth. Back then, he says, "20 dudes for every girl" was the demographic, a la the film High Fidelity. "Now it's a lot of girls buying James Taylor and Phil Collins records."

"Vinyl, it's a movement, and it does have its following," says one of our younger sources, Cara Duckworth Weiblinger, vice president of communications for the Recording Industry of America Association (RIAA).

"It's part of the cultural fabric of our country," says Duckworth Weiblinger, who said many music lovers like her inherit vinyl collections from their 'baby boomer' parents. "It says a lot if you have [the Beatles'] Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on vinyl in your collection, or [the Rolling Stones'] Exile on Main Street."

Well, yes, but...in addition to what Green calls the "silly, high prices" for new vinyl these days, many cite its bulk and lack of portability as obstacles to survival and popularity.

Statistics, however, aren't nostalgic and don't lie. The RIAA says it represents the top labels comprising 85 percent of the recording industry nationwide. The association documents a steady climb in unused LP record sales going back at least as far as 2006 up through 2015, the most recent year fully tabulated. The latter was the first year in recent history when vinyl singles (45s) outsold compact disc singles. These trends have the industry's attention.

"We've all started wondering when it will start to flatten out," Green says of the vinyl riptide of increasing sales.