NEW BEDFORD – Young adults might not know pagers, Palm Pilots, VHS tapes, disposable cameras or floppy disks, but they are certainly familiar with vinyl records, which are making a big comeback.
“Since I opened I have been selling more and more records year after year,” said John Pimentel, owner of Max J Records in Fairhaven.
A survey conducted by Restarting the vinyl claims that since 2005 there has been a resurgence of interest in vinyl records with an increase in sales of 18.5% per year. In the first half of 2021, 17 million albums were sold, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, a jump of 86% compared to 2020.
Pimentel worked in retail for 20 years and sold records online before opening their brick and mortar store in 2017 on Bridge Street.
“When you stream music and hear it that way, and then listen to it on a turntable, you’re definitely hearing things that you don’t get with the compressed format,” he said. .
The New Bedford native says vinyl records are a great way to support artists. “A lot of them are colored vinyl. It’s a lot more attractive packaging today than it was maybe 30 years ago. “
Young artists beat vinyl classics
Pimentel says 40% of its customers are teenagers. “They go for the classics, like the Beatles and Pink Floyd. But they also have their Taylor Swift, Adele, Olivia Rodriguez,” he added.
In 2020, Harry Styles’ “Fine Line” was the best-selling vinyl album with 232,000 copies, with Billie Eilish’s “When We All Fall Asleep” at 196,000 copies. Vintage albums such as Queen’s “Greatest Hits” and The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” were close behind.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack beat other classic vinyl records such as Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors” and the “Thriller” album.
“It gives this world of a younger generation a way to experience vinyl,” said Roger Chouinard, owner of Buy street recordings in New Bedford. “New artists with vinyl releases are helping. “
RIAA data shows that 18-35 year olds accounted for 45% of vinyl sales in the United States. Teenagers in the ’80s and’ 90s are the largest vinyl record buying demographic since the record resurgence.
However, in mid-2021, there was an increase in sales among teens, aged 14 to 18.
Chouinard, former battery technician for Twisted sister and No more killing, said that another reason music lovers buy vinyl records is simply because they want to own the music, rather than just having it on a streaming platform.
He says listening to vinyl records can be a shared memory. “My father had a record player. It’s pretty cool when people come and buy a record that my dad listened to, or they bring up a memory of their dad, ”he said.
“I really feel like collecting records has never gone away. It’s just being noticed by more people now,” added Chouinard. “People are taking more time now to listen to music.”
Pimentel believes another reason for the recent increase is the pandemic. “More people got the time to learn something new and listen to music.”
According to a USAToday article, during the pandemic, vinyl revenues increased 4% while CD revenues fell 48%, according to the RIAA. 2021 was the first year that records sold CDs not just in dollars but in units.
TikTok brings classic hits to life
“It’s not retro. It’s new to them, ”said Bob Boyer, owner of Record sunset on Wilbur Avenue in Somerset.
He believes teens have not only found an interest in vinyl records because of Taylor Swift and Adele, but also because of social media platforms such as TIC Tac.
For example, according to The Verge, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors saw a surge in vinyl record sales after a viral video by Nathan Apodaca (420doggface208 on TikTok) shows him skateboarding on a road and sipping cranberry and raspberry juice, while “Dreams” plays in the background.
It has been viewed over 60 million times
And in a surprising twist, only 52% of people who buy vinyl records own a record player.
Pimentel says he sees this all the time. “It’s crazy. They’ll buy 30 records before they decide to buy a turntable.”
He says some people just like to buy and collect records. “If you have the time, it’s a lot more fun to listen to,” he said. “But, it’s not practical at all, you can’t take it with you … maybe that’s why they don’t invest in the decks properly. Some way.”
Tips for buying a record player
He says cellphones like the Crosley suitcase readers or similar styles are not recommended.
“The ones you see in every big box store from Walmart to Target, from Marshalls to JC Penney aren’t good,” he said. “They should have them in the toys section, not in the electronics department, because they are no better than the old fisher price. “
Pimentel says 85% of its businesses have record sales, but it also sells hardware, sleeves, brushes, all cleaning supplies, and amplified speakers that make it easy to connect.
“People can come to me and I can provide them with whatever they need,” he said. “I’ll show them how to record, clean the directors, give them advice. Everything from maintaining the record to just playing the record.
Boyer, who has owned Sunset Records for 30 years, said he is happy that young adults are rediscovering the love for vinyl.
“It’s the soul of music that matters most to me,” he said. “If I hear a Little Richard record and there is no surface noise or pops, I’m a little disappointed.”
He added that streaming music does not do a song justice and he refuses to listen to it. “The lower end is compressed,” he added.
“Miss you so much when it’s online.”
Standard-Times writer Seth Chitwood can be contacted at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.