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Vinyl Record Enthusiast

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In our increasingly digital age, vinyl records are making an unlikely comeback with people of all ages. For vinyl record enthusiasts young and old, it's a spin in the right direction.

"A lot of the colleges that are surrounding us, they're really getting into it," says Evan Chern. He's the owner of a record shop in Miami that's been around for nearly 30 years. His shop has between 40,000 and 50,000 vinyl records in stock. "I personally like analog sound -- the warmth of it," he says. "And the artwork on the covers -- there are a lot of people that like to collect that."

Vinyl record enthusiasts often mention the warm sound of records. It's a big part of the appeal.

"I know a few friends of mine who used to buy CDs and they only buy vinyl now," says vinyl record enthusiast Ben Frith. "There's a wider dynamic range, so you can really get more detail out of it," says Frith.

"One way to kind of describe it is that a CD is a sampling of music while a record is a more accurate reproduction of the sound. There's just a warmth to it that you don't get with a CD."

Frith has been working at a record store since high school.

"My dad owns the store and he opened it before I was born, so I've been around [vinyl records] forever," says Frith. "When I was a little kid I had a Fisher-Price turntable. I remember I used to love to play the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson."

Frith now has hundreds of vinyl records in his personal collection, while his father has thousands. Their record shop mostly sells used records. Classic rock is especially popular on vinyl. They also sell a lot of new vinyl records. Some artists are releasing new music on vinyl with great success.

Customers at Frith's shop range widely in age -- from 20 to 60. But the trend is toward a new generation of vinyl enthusiasts.

"I'd say the customers are getting younger," says Frith. And whatever their age, they're buying more and more vinyl records. "I'd say the last five years it's been going steady," says Frith. "For the last year or so it's been crazy."

Industry statistics back up Frith's firsthand experience. There were 1.9 million vinyl records sold in the U.S. in 2008, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That number was expected to reach nearly three million in 2009. The most popular genres for vinyl were rock and alternative.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), 2.9 million vinyl records were shipped to stores in 2008.

Getting Started

Many cities have clubs for vinyl record collectors. You can also find online communities devoted to discussing everything related to vinyl records -- how to find obscure albums, how to select a good turntable and so on. There are also associations that organize record conventions -- a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts!

Getting started in this hobby can be as simple as finding a used turntable online or at a flea market. Used vinyl records can be purchased for as little as 10 cents at garage sales, but you'll want to check them for scratches and warping.

Vinyl record collectors such as Allison Frank believe the vinyl revival is a trend that's here to stay.

"Every week I see more people join the online record collecting community that I'm a part of, so I can only predict that this trend will continue," says Frank. "Whereas most people didn't even know they still made records a short time ago, now if I tell someone that I collect vinyl, not only do people see it as socially acceptable, they also tend to regard it as 'cool'...."

The best way to enjoy music is with friends. So find yourself a turntable, buy some used records and invite some friends over to enjoy a warm sound that will be music to your ears.


Record Collectors Guild

Vinyl Record Collectors Association


Vinyl Lives
Lively interviews with record store owners

Vinyl Gets Its Groove Back
Time Magazine reports on this growing trend

Making Vinyl Recordst the Old-Fashioned Way
This article describes vinyl's comeback

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