Long Islanders rekindled their love for vinyls on Nov. 24 by purchasing exclusive album pressings from independently owned record stores in celebration of Record Store Day’s Black Friday.
“We had all of the Record Store Day exclusives this year and did extremely well,” Rob Graw, manager of Record Stop in Patchogue, said. “Probably about 50-60 people were waiting for us to open. Now we’re pretty much sold out of everything.”
Record Store Day, established in 2007, is a day reserved to promote independent record shops. Black Friday releases in connection to the annual event ran the musical gamut and included artists like Neil Young, Tori Amos, Fleet Foxes, Grateful Dead, Cold War Kids and more.
“People are discovering their love of music all over again,” Graw said. “There really is something to sitting down in your favorite chair and putting on a record. The sound, the smell of the packaging, the pictures, the lyrics. I think it takes you back to a simpler time of just focusing on one thing; the music.”
This feeling is what sells records. In 2016, vinyl sales reached a 25-year high with over 3.2 million LPs sold, which was a 53% rise from 2015. Vinyls are also projected to sell 40 million units by the end of 2017 and for the first time this millennium, reach $1 billion in sales. Despite music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, independent shops do not believe vinyls will be rendered obsolete.
“Records will always be popular to people that truly appreciate music,” Frank Napoli, owner of Vinyl Bay 777 in Plainview, said. “And there are new vinyl listeners. Kids are starting to get turntables and spin vinyl now, which is nice to see.”
According to a recent eBay survey, over half of buyers prefer music in a physical form to a digital one. The consumers powering this surge are in the 18 to 24-year-old demographic. 23-year-old record enthusiast Dom DaRocha from Westbury has collected 136 vinyls.
“I started collecting [records] in 2012 when I bought ‘Travels’ by Defeater at one of their shows, before I even owned a record player,” DaRocha said. “I knew someday it would be a collector’s item. Then I started buying them for aesthetic purposes as well. I love having a physical copy of an album, especially if the variant color matches up with the album art.”
Spending on vinyl has also surpassed the spending on digital downloads. In 2016, over 10,000 copies were sold for more than 30 albums. This is in stark contrast to 2007, when digital downloads were becoming popular, and a mere 200,000 LPs were sold.
“Downloads and streaming doesn’t provide the same sound quality and CDs and cassettes deteriorate over time,” Napoli said. “Vinyl, as long as you take care of them and don’t scratch them up, will last you lifetimes, and can be passed on from generation to generation.”
These days, Graw says there are multiple generations shopping at his store, all looking for that homey old-school feeling.
“Our customers range in age from 15-70,” Graw said. “Some people are in it for the nostalgia factor, but more people are discovering that the older generations were actually on to something.”