By Ava Butera
Spanish River Community High School
The first vinyl record to ever be pressed was released in 1951 by the company Audiophile. In the three decades to follow, records were the predominant platform to consume music. However, in the late 1980s, vinyl record sales plummeted due to the introduction of cassettes and later CDs, which became popular due to their transportability.
“A full-sized album is my favorite because it made you feel more involved. But I think that the most nostalgic platform is definitely a big vinyl and album,” Grady Director of Alumni Outreach Diane Murray said.
For the duration of the early 2000s, thousands of music stores across the world were forced to close their doors due to the decrease in the popularity of records and the introduction of online music stores and downloadable songs. Notable retailers such as Peaches Records & Tapes and Tower Records, along with a few popular independent shops, were forced to shut their doors after over three decades of business. Additionally, HMV recently announced that they would be closing 100 of their stores across Canada.
Within the last few years, commercial retailers like Urban Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Target have increased the amount of vinyl they carry. This influx of businesses carrying vinyl has made the market difficult for small, independent record stores that vigorously try stay in business.
However, despite that common trend occurring throughout the country, record stores in Athens have kept a loyal customer base. Local shops such as Lo Yo-Yo Stuff Records and Wuxtry Records have stayed in business for decades. Employee of Low Yo-Yo Stuff Records, Michael Gerard, agrees that Athens record stores have survived the countless music trends.
“This store has been here for 24 years and they [Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters, Amazon, etc.] carry only the popular Top 20 and we have everything here, so we’re not worried about them.”
In addition, Lo Yo-Yo Stuff Records has noticed an increase in sales from the younger generation, those of whom have began purchasing vinyl records to participate in this popular trend.
In 2017, about 14.3 million vinyl records were sold, according to Nielsen, a music sales measurement service. Yearly vinyl album sales have therefore increased about 9 percent since 2016. According to Billboard, “2017 marks the 12th straight year of growth in vinyl album sales,” which shows a drastic increase in this niche market.
“I like vinyl because it brings me back to an age where music really played a part in society and was starting to become more widely-available to consumers. Music was starting to change its form and it was a time where experimentation was encouraged,” senior Alyssa Freyman said.
According to British publication, The Independent, the sudden vinyl revival has skyrocketed physical record sales, thanks to the contribution of Top 20 artists. As reported in 2018, Ed Sheeran’s third album, Divide, was the best-selling album on vinyl. Additionally, Liam Gallagher’s debut solo album brought in a sufficient amount of profit to the vinyl market in 2017. This therefore proves that vinyl has begun to appeal to a wider audience than the previous specialized one.