The tartan tarpaulin in the Alaskan Brewing Co. tasting room could just as easily have been a matador’s cloak.
Once he was lifted, a stampede began towards the record boxes in attendance for KXLL’s Pop-Up Record Shop on Thursday night.
âWhen we started, we had eight boxes, and there were people throwing elbows,â said Annie Bartholomew, program director for KXLL.
For the most recent store, Thursday, December 6, there were several rows of boxes and plenty of space in the new tasting room, although the vinyl vultures made their way through the merchandise in tight bunches.
McLean Steadman was one of the collectors present before the store opened.
He has been collecting records for about 20 years, he said. More recently he got into record playing equipment when a friend upgraded what they had and old equipment found their way to Steadman.
Steadman said he relished the opportunity to browse record boxes because often there aren’t many local options and no store dedicated solely to records.
In addition to making it difficult to add to its collection, the shortage of record stores in Juneau means that it is difficult to find replacement parts for turntables. A stylus, or needle, usually needs to be replaced after about 1,000 hours of play. Sometimes cartridges or belts need to be replaced as well.
âTrying to find needles and stuff is impossible,â Steadman said.
The reality that demand for records exceeds supply was communicated by many in the crowd on Thursday night.
âIn town it’s really hard to find records, so I’ll order online, or go to the record stores when I travel,â said Alex Tadda.
Likewise, Kim Valverde said that when she goes to Lower 48, she usually stops at “some secret spot” to add to her fairly new but growing vinyl collection.
“I’m a little new to collecting and finding gifts for friends and family,” said Valverde, who screamed with excitement when she found a soundtrack to “The Sound of Music” on vinyl.
Valverde said she found classic rock albums in the shop as well, but was especially happy to have a copy of Julie Andrews and the company singing on wax.
âI’m going to drive my partner and my daughter crazy with this,â Valverde said.
Counter the trend
Opportunistic buying habits are needed for Juneauites despite vinyl’s crowning glory last year as billion dollar industry.
Mid-year statistics from the Recording Industry Association of America show that in other parts of the country, records remain a growing business with more than 12% increase in sales compared to the first half of 2017.
Rising RIAA numbers capture only a fraction of sales during the ongoing record revival.
Many records are sold through online retailers such as eBay and Discogs. These sites allow users to buy and sell second-hand records that do not add up to official totals, and second-hand markets like Thursday’s pop-up store of records donated to the radio station have also taken off. count the date not counted.
This means that domestic vinyl sales could be up to two and a half times larger than these figures indicate, as reported by Forbes.
Start over and
Vinyl sales are fueled by a mix of first-time turntable owners and people who grew up when analog media was the only option.
Parents and their children went shopping together on Thursday. The elders provided advice on Fleetwood Mac drives worth taking home and pointed out the less obvious gems in the stacks.
James Hunter is relatively new to vinyl himself and has been hitting the record tables with his 12-year-old son Jasiah just behind. They each looked at classic rock records.
Jasiah Hunter said he particularly liked Jimi Hendrix.
âHe’s like me,â said James Hunter.
Katherine and Alexis Eldemar were a mother-daughter shopping tandem, and each carried stacks of records.
One of the highlights of their trip was a live album from Three Dog Night. The Eldemars have said they have seen the band live recently, and Alexis Eldemar said they exceeded his expectations.
âThey rocked,â she said.
Alexis Eldemar has an all-in-one record player that she uses to listen to classic rock, and Katherine Eldemar said they also have a stereo made up of separate components – a turntable, receiver, speakers. connected by wire.
Elder Eldemar said she lacked the days of a dedicated record store. Her memories go back beyond the closure of Capitol Records, which closed in 2009, at the record store of her youth, Alaska Music,
âIt’s just fun,â Katherine Eldemar said. âBack then you would go to Alaska Music and spend the day. I am an elder. Born here and raised here.
The Eldemars said it can be difficult to add to their collection piecemeal, which is not ideal, but they were happy to have the opportunity to get their hands on records.
At least one Juneau resident who stalks batteries said they don’t mind the local vinyl market.
Tom Meyer, who returned to record collecting after decades of absence, has found a handful of jazz and classic rock records.
Meyer said he enjoys sifting through the record cases at Rainy Retreat Books and The Salvation Army and is happy to listen to whatever he finds through the configuration of his components.
âYes, I like the hunt instead of ordering from Amazon,â Meyer said. “I like to wait and see what happens in things like this.”
â¢ Contact arts and culture journalist Ben Hohenstatt at (907) 523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.