Vinyl revival: Why record albums are coming back

What's your favorite format for listening to music?

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Remember when compact discs, better known as CDs, put the vinyl record industry out of business in the 1990s?

A couple of decades later, vinyl is finally getting its revenge.

As more and more stores drop CDs, they are bringing back vinyl records that many people had given up for dead.

CDs out, vinyl sees revival

Shake it Records, a vintage record shop, is enjoying the vinyl revival at the same time stores like Best Buy are dropping music CDs (Best Buy says it will no longer sell them after June).

Co-owner Jim Blase says he has been watching the vinyl revival for the past five years.

“The vinyl albums have been selling a little bit more and a little bit more, and now it’s kind of steamrolled. It’s probably two-thirds of what we sell now,” he said.

Blase says vinyl used to appeal primarily to older customers reliving their youth, snapping up Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Simon and Garfunkel, and other ’60s and ’70s music staples.

But now millennials like Jake Dennis make up the biggest vinyl buyers, buying new releases from alternative bands like Imagine Dragons and The Killers and rap artists like Kendrick Lamar, even though they are streaming those same musicians on Spotify and Pandora.

“It gives you a much more warmer sound. I just prefer it to the digital way,” Dennis said.

A feel you can’t get anywhere else

Blase says there’s something about vinyl—the look, the feel, especially the cover art—that you just can’t get from a CD or from streaming.

“It’s a piece of art,” he said. “Bands and artists will fight over what the cover looks like, more than the songs.”

Lisa Walker is a singer and guitarist in the indie rock band Wussy. To her, every vinyl album connects her with a time and place.

LISTEN: Wussy plays the WCPO Digital Lounge

“For me, if I pick up a record, I can think of what I was doing when I first listened to that record, or the friends I was hanging up, the things I was feeling. It’s almost a smell memory,” the singer said.

Shake it Records now sells turntables to spin your vinyl, from state-of-the-art Bluetooth models to replica 1950’s Crosley record players.

And families are snapping them up.

“You know, kids a young as young as 10- and 12-year olds are into it,” Blase said. “So I think it’s going to last for quite a while.”

So, dust off that old turntable and Saturday Night Fever album, so you don’t waste your money.

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