HMV in Oxford street was for many years the greatest record shop in the world and barely a memory now as to how record shops looked and what an important part they were in the culture and consumer society. I’d love to browse a shop like this!
If you pay even glancing attention to the movements of the music business, you’re by now familiar with at least a few narratives. Nobody buys CDs anymore. Everybody downloads music from the Internet, usually illegally. Record stores are dying. But also: Vinyl is resurgent! (Sales are up 17 percent over last year, when more new records were sold than in any year since 1997.) What can be gleaned from this conflicting information?
For Judy Mills and Chris DeLine, the conclusion was fairly simple: Open a shop that specializes in new vinyl.
Neither had any experience running a record store. Mills, a local, has a background in retail but has worked a corporate gig in recent years. When the company went belly up, she recruited her friend DeLine, who was living in Nashville at the time, to come to Kansas City and help her open Mills Record Co. They settled on a Westport space — 314 Westport Road, next door to Dave’s Stagecoach Inn — and, May 3, opened for business.
“Judy’s lived here a long time and was in a situation where she felt like she could try something new,” DeLine says. “The pieces just seemed to fit. The shop is basically this partnership between Judy and me. We’re rookies, but we’re longtime music fans and we thought it’d be fun to try a little adventure here.”
Browse the racks at Mills Record Co. and you notice a few things right off the bat. One is that they’re peddling almost entirely new records, heavy on Stereogum-style indie rock. Other spots in town, like Vinyl Renaissance and Zebedee’s, offer new LPs, but a big chunk of their real estate is occupied by used records and CDs.
“We’re definitely going hard on the new stuff,” DeLine says. “That’s a huge part of our plan here. We think it offers a nice complement to working with the existing record stores in town, because that’s where they’re kind of lacking. So if we can keep pushing it and keep up sales, I think it’ll add a good piece to this city that’s missing.”
The store is also surprisingly cheap. If you’re like me, you want to support our local brick-and-mortars but have a hard time shelling out $19.99 for a new record when you can get it for more like $15 online. I still occasionally pay the premium, either out of a sense of civic charity or because I happen to want some instant gratification. But I tend to leave record stores wishing that buying new records was just a little less costly.
I did not feel that way when I visited Mills Record Co. on Saturday. I picked up a deluxe edition of the new Kurt Vile for $24.99 ($29.98 on Insound); Christopher Owens’ new-ish solo album for $10.99 ($12.14 on Amazon); and an old Walkmen album, You & Me, also for $10.99. The store’s system for pricing seems to be that recent releases are marked around $16-$17, but albums that have been around a few years — Smith Westerns’ Dye It Blonde, the War on Drugs’ Slave Ambient — are tagged in the $12-$13 range. As it turns out, that price drop is basically the difference between my leaving a record store empty-handed and my leaving $50 lighter. (How long they can sustain those prices while keeping the lights on is another matter, but I’m rooting for them.)
In Nashville, DeLine ran a music blog called Culture Bully, and part of his aspiration for Mills Record Co. is to establish an online presence. Not just online sales but also a newsletter; a local directory of venues, labels and bands; and a blog, on which he publishes a daily roundup of local-music news bites. He has spent the last few months brushing up on local music, and he hopes that Mills Record Co. can become a sort of hub for the KC scene.
“All of our racks are on wheels, so we’re set up to do in-stores and events like that,” DeLine says. “We’re really trying to work on that community aspect. I’ve talked to a lot of people — a lot of people in punk bands lately — who don’t feel there’s a home for them in town. We want to be that spot.”
Vinyl is the focus at Mills Record Co., but DeLine and Mills are making an exception for local acts. “It’s sort of unfair of us to expect everyone to have the means to print up their own vinyl,” DeLine says. “So we’re buying CDs and cassettes from local bands, in addition to buying vinyl from local bands. We also want to do some Etsy type of stuff — sell pottery and art in the store.
“It’s not easy selling records in general,” he adds. “But for us, the flip side to that is we’ve spent a lot of time making sure that if we’re selling new records, we’re not going to do it half-assed. It can be done — double-digit vinyl-sales increases across the board for the last three years. We think we can make it work.”
Earlier today, Amazon announced that it has extended support for its Amazon AutoRip program to vinyl albums. If you’re not familiar with Amazon AutoRip, it’s essentially a way for customers who purchase physical CD’s and now vinyl records to get access to digital copies of the songs without having to the rip the album themselves.
Starting today, any customer who buys a supported vinyl record on Amazon.com will also receive a digital copy of those tracks added to their Cloud Player library, which is also available across a number of devices, including iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, the Kindle Fire, connected TVs, and more, in addition to the web. Additionally, customers who have purchased AutoRip records at any time since Amazonfirst opened its Music Store in 1998 will find digital copies of those albums in their Cloud Player libraries – also for free.
“We’re thrilled to extend this experience to vinyl records,” said Steve Boom, Vice President of Digital Music for Amazon in a release this morning. ”Many of our music customers are vinyl fans and it’s traditionally been very difficult to make digital versions of vinyl records—now customers can enjoy the albums they buy wherever they are, not just when they have access to a record player.”
Amazon’s MP3 store now has over 23 million songs, but Amazon did not say exactly how many CDs and vinyl records support AutoRip today. In January (when the service launched), the service had support for over 50,000 albums and promised more would be on the way soon.
Will Jordan, owner of Kimbro’s, a photographer and a vintage clothing retailer, has opened Carpe Diem, a record shop specializing in vinyl, the only such store in Franklin. Vinyl has had a resurgence in popularity in recent years. / John Partipilo / The Tennessean
FRANKLIN — A chalkboard on the front porch of Carpe Diem in downtown Franklin invites folks in to shop for vinyl.
Not everyone gets it.
Just the other day a passerby stopped in the shop to look at vinyl. Rudy Jordan, mother of the proprietor, Will Jordan, ushered her back to the record shop portion of the store, an eclectic slip of a place adjacent to Kimbro’s on South Margin.
“Oh, it’s records,” said the dismayed customer. “I’m looking for vinyl to cover a motorcycle seat.”
The ever-gracious Rudy offered the names of places like Joann’s in Cool Springs that would probably have the kind of vinyl she was seeking.
But those who do get it — and Will says they are plentiful — sort through his offerings of old records with great enthusiasm.
“We have a lot of teenagers, college students and of course serious collectors in here. On any given day, there are probably around 1,000 records in here,” he said.
One of those who does get it, Franklin resident J.D. Meek, terms himself a “serious collector.”
The 45-year-old systems engineer says he’s been collecting for 30 years.
“My mother says even as a very young child I would crawl over to the stereo speakers, listen to music and fall asleep,” he said.
In the late ’80s, he sold his big collection, but started collecting again.
“I have 1,000 albums … lots in boxes, but about 200 out and readily accessible. Vinyl just captures music better. I love the sound and feel of it,” he said.
The vinyl offerings at Carpe Diem include 45s, 78s and 33s and range from rock to country to recordings of presidential speeches.
Will says there is a real resurgence of interest in vinyl.
“Pressing vinyl now is expensive. In its heyday the master was made from pressed wax and records were produced en masse. Now, there are very few artists who use vinyl. Jack White comes to mind; he presses his own vinyl and they go for $30 or more each,” said Will, who has himself been a collector since he was a teenager.
“My mom and dad gave me their record collection when I was 16 or 17. I listened to one side while I read all the information in album covers, then flipped it over and listened to the other side. I’ve always been into music, and I still prefer vinyl to digital,” he said.
He maintains he hears more bass in vinyl than digital.
“You can really tell the difference,” he said. “Vinyl has a fullness that digital does not have. The sound is pure, honest and real.”
Bring your own
This 40-year-old guy, now a father of a teenager himself, owns four record players. He plays them in his shop and next door at Kimbro’s, an eatery and music venue he owns.
“We always have vinyl playing in the red bar at Kimbro’s. Oftentimes customers will come in here to the shop and buy records, then bring them over and we play them,” he said. “And customers also just bring their own for us to play.”
Seemingly a bit of BYOV (bring your own vinyl).
And for the non-record-player-owning folks, Carpe Diem (Italian for “seize the day”) can fix you up.
“We repair and sell record players. They go from $25 to $250 and they sell immediately. When I post one on Facebook, it’s gone immediately. We even have needles here for those old record players,” said the photographer-artist-collector.
This entrepreneur has become quite the picker. And not the guitar type.
He picks through shops, barns and attics (always by invitation) looking for old records and unique antiques, which fill the front half of his little shop. His picking trips include an annual sojourn up the east coast to Maine and back.
Few record stores
He says record shops are few and far between. He says his is the only one in Franklin. Nashville has several, including Grimey’s and Great Escape.
“Records are nostalgic. Playing them takes us back to different times,” he said.
The offerings in Carpe Diem, as far as vinyl goes, sell from 10 cents to $100 each, depending on quality and rarity. He offers everything from “Woodstock I and II” to the Beatles to Japanese imports of Elvis recordings. That vinyl is flashy, like the King himself. It’s red, green and gold — and snazzy. There’s a vast array of other recordings, from big band to presidential speeches.
Meek says he’s a regular at Carpe Diem.
“Will is all about quality. He has an incredible offering of all sorts of recordings, including the off-the-wall stuff I like. While once I wanted a really huge collection, now I want all the records I can get of really, really good quality. Will has that. He is all about perfection,” he said.
Meek says nearly every visit ends up in a purchase.
“Just last Saturday I found a pristine first pressing of a Chet Atkins record,” he said.
Will says he lives with many of the records he finds for a while.
“And some of them, I just can’t let go,” he laughs.
The Jay-Z-produced soundtrack to The Great Gatsby is getting a release worthy of the Jazz Age. Today, Jack White‘s Third Man Records announced that they will produce the much-anticipated film’s music on vinyl as well as digitally. The label will also be releasing seven-inch singles of key tracks, including the boss’s howling ballad, “Love is Blindness.”
The soundtrack features new tracks from White, Florence and the Machine, Emeli Sandé and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra, Beyoncé and Andre 3000 and more. Jay-Z worked with the film’s composer, Craig Armstrong, and music supervisor, Anton Monsted for the album, which will be released on May 7th, three days before the film opens.
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/great-gatsby-soundtrack-to-be-released-on-vinyl-by-third-man-records-20130426#ixzz2SmemPiJV
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Vinyl back in vogue as 18-24-year-olds lead resurgence of record sales
Music fans themselves had the opportunity to select which releases should make the top 50 “golden collection” by casting their votes on openspace.ru.
While in Europe, young people are among the most ardent buyers of vinyl disks, in Russia the industry still depends on collectors. Source: ITAR-TASS