Vinyl Records: A Retro Return to the Music Industry
by Audra Keresztesy
In an age of YouTube and iTunes, it’s rare to purchase a physical copy of the newest music by your favorite artists. Before music was online, there were CDs. People bought CDs from bookstores, rented them from the library, or just borrowed them from friends. Music from CDs could then be downloaded onto a computer but even before that, there were CD players. I’m sure many of the people reading this can attest to the fact that they themselves, at one point, had a hip new portable CD player. They were the iPods of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. CDs first started commercial production in 1982 and continued to be popular up until the early 2000’s with iTunes coming out in 2003 and YouTube in 2005. Rewind just a little further back before the CD and you have the vinyl record. The vinyl record had the longest lifespan out of all the music media starting with the first record company, Columbia Records,which began producing LP (long play) records in 1948. There were stores solely devoted to selling records and there were plenty of people to buy them. As time went on, millions of copies of records sold all over the country as well as the world. The best-selling records in the United States during the golden age of vinyl included Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Led Zeppelin’s “Led Zeppelin IV”, and Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” with over 20 million copies each sold in just the United States. As the new CD quickly gained popularity, record sales dropped significantly but never completely stopped. CD versions of old records were coming out and because all new music was on CDs, it was the end of an era. The new age of music production was beginning and records would become a thing of the past.
Most people followed the trend of CDs, but there have always been vinyl fans who have held onto their records and preserved them. While the last twenty five years have showed a decline in vinyl record sales, 2014 was a promising year that brought record sales back more than 50%. Why this sudden revival of vinyl? It’s most likely a combination of hipsters, retro collectors, and nostalgia. New artists are putting their music on vinyl and old artists are making a comeback amongst the younger generations. There are old records in newproduction as have been seen at stores like Barnes & Noble, but each record runs between thirty and forty dollars. For collectors and deal hunters, the best places to look are in vintage stores and antique shops. Albums ranging from ABBA to ACDC can be bought at bargain prices. Another place that might be overlooked is at library sales, where records can be as cheap as 25 cents. In all cases, there is some searching and digging involved but finding an old classic or a new favorite is worth it., especially when you can find it for under a dollar.