Vinyl records are making a comeback.
As of October, Nielsen Soundscan reported sales of vinyl records up more than 16 percent over last year.
Joe Schwab, owner of Euclid Records has sold LPs for 30 years, and the store’s record label, Euclid Records...Records, releases artists on 45s.
St. Louis Public Radio’s Maria Altman spoke with Schwab about what he’s seen at his own store and why he thinks records are coming around again.
Schwab: Probably about four or five years ago we saw the vinyl sales at Christmas just skyrocketing. And there was a point where it didn’t stop; where we found January and February where sales kind of lag a little bit, they just stayed steady because you can’t just own three or four albums. You want come back and buy more and more. So whenever we sell a turntable we get a new customer out of it.
Why do you think people love buying records? What is it about it that has made this an enduring form?
Schwab: I think there are a few of things. You can talk about the rich sound of it, and it becomes a passion for audiophiles to have this beautiful, deep, rich tone that you get from vinyl that you’re lacking from the digital experience.
I think the other thing is the artwork. I think that’s something that people have really rediscovered, just how great it is to look at a records and hold something that’s honestly a piece of art.
Who’s getting these turntables and buying records?
Schwab: I think we’re finding two distinct demographics. One is the kids from the ages of 16 through 25. Then we’re seeing people closer to my age, maybe in their 50s or 60s who are reliving their youth. The older people have discretionary income and the younger people, that’s their passion at the time. In between you’re having kids and you have other expenses and that’s understandable, but if you’re really into the hobby you’ll always come back to it.
How many records do you have? I’ve heard that your basement is really something.
Schwab: I’m guessing between all the different formats probably half a million; a lot of stuff.
With such a huge number of albums do people ask ‘how do you organize your records?’ Do you alphabetize?
Schwab: Fortunately, I enjoy alphabetizing records. It’s kind of my way of playing with them. That’s from being a collector since I was a kid. It never bothers me to do that. We’re always considered a very organized store.
What’s your favorite LP?
Schwab: Oh, gosh, that’s almost impossible to say.
Schwab: Oh, god, even that’s impossible to say. I can’t even go there. It’s like when someone asks me “what kind of music do you like?” and I just say “good.” That’s about the only way to answer that.
Follow Maria Altman on Twitter: @radioaltman