In rotation: 11/19/19

Torrington, CT | Vinyl’s the thing at Torrington’s Revolution Records: Revolution Records is a time machine for music lovers — particularly those who still collect and play vinyl albums for their quality sound. The small shop on the corner of Willow and Franklin streets, a former bodega and a bait store, is filled to the brim with albums of every genre, from classic rock, jazz, blues, country, and everything in between. The walls are covered with vintage posters of recording artists including Lita Ford, Rush, Yes, Van Halen, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Sonic Youth and the Psychedelic Furs. “When we were setting up the store, I realized I needed to put something on the walls — they were pretty bare,” John DiBella said. “I’ve had these posters since high school and I saved them. So I got them out and hung them up.” On a counter near the door, a small turntable and receiver pumps music into two big speakers. All the equipment, DiBella said, he’s also had since high school. “It still works great,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been using the turntable all along.”

Fort Wayne, IN | Neat Neat Neat Records and Music to continue under new ownership: After nearly a decade in business, the owner of a local record store is hanging up his hat, but the shop’s doors are remaining open. Neat Neat Neat Records and Music has been a fixture on Calhoun Street but after nine years in business, owner Morrison Agen announced on Facebook that they were looking to sell the store and all it’s contents with plans to liquidate if they could not sell. Luckily for their customers, it was not long before someone stepped up. “It took six days from the time we were offered the store to the time we took over,” said Chris Roetz, the new manager of Neat Neat Neat. The store was sold to local music franchise Wooden Nickel. Roetz is transitioning into his new role from working as General Manager of the Jefferson Boulevard Wooden Nickel location. He previously owned Entourage Music, which was located in Glenbrook Mall. Roetz wants it to be clear that while Wooden Nickel now owns Neat Neat Neat, they are not the same store. They plan on keeping the same name and branding the shop is known for, as well as keeping it’s focus on vinyl records.

Indianapolis, IN | Despite streaming, Indiana firm’s vinyl, CD business booms: Chip Viering, president of Optical Media Manufacturing, has intentionally hitched his wagon to a falling star. Or rather, several of them. Over the last decade, streaming sites and compressed file-sharing technologies such as MP3 have chased most “physical” media from the forefront of the audio and video recording industries. To put it simply, pretty much anything you can hold in your hand, from VHS tapes to CDs, has become an endangered species. In this, Viering sees not disaster but opportunity. Though his company does plenty of digital file-sharing work, it also acts as a sort of clearinghouse for customers whose products demand (or work best when presented in) an old-school audio or visual format. Optical Media Manufacturing offers (among a great many other services) in-house design for things like vinyl album cover art, liner notes and DVD formatting and duplication, plus access to a list of still-surviving domestic suppliers of such exotica as cassette tapes, boutique vinyl record pressers—even a guy who can still do VHS.

London, UK | ‘Westfield delays to blame for horrible decline in Croydon town centre’ says record store manager: Duncan Barnes says empty shops were unheard of ten years ago. There has been a ‘horrible decline’ in footfall for Croydon town centre according to one business owner who blames Westfield delays. Duncan Barnes runs 101 Records which moved to North End in 1991, it was previously based near East Croydon station. He said that 10 years ago empty shops in Croydon were unheard of, and you just need to walk through the town centre to see that is not the case today. Duncan said: “Footfall has declined horribly in Croydon for years. It used to be a thriving cosmopolitan place and it was always busy.” And he believes that Westfield delays are partly to blame and does not think the billion pound shopping centre will ever be built. He added: “North End has been declining for years and very little has been done about it.

Detroit, MI | Take a spin inside Shinola’s Detroit turntable factory: Larry Sanders tore up a few turntables back in the day — and got a good scold from his father whenever he’d pull up the arm. “He’d say, ‘Oh no, you can’t do that, son! You can’t do that!’ ” the 61-year-old Detroiter said. “I took them apart playing with them, and now I’m actually building them.” Sanders is the team leader of Shinola’s audio division, which started producing turntables at the company’s New Center headquarters inside the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education in March. Unlike the Detroit-born assembly line, the five production members each build the turntables from scratch — spinning out a black and silver or rose gold model every 45 minutes. Sanders originally worked in leather above on the fifth floor, embossing the Shinola logo on wristbands, before he heard about the company’s plans to produce the $2,500 Runwell Turntables. “Me being from the Motown era, and the turntable was in my era, I got very excited about it,” said Sanders, sitting in front of racks of turntables in the 5,100-square-foot factory, wearing a navy lab coat and #RollUpYourSleeves black tee. “I like all kind of music. This was just the perfect fit for me.”

Glasgow, SCT | Why Glasgow is Britain’s best city for music lovers: …The city has a great selection of record shops: there are gems to be discovered in Missing Records beneath Central Station, a two-level store teeming with secondhand vinyl and CDs; in the West End, the excellent Mixed-Up Records on Otago Street deals in everything from indie to jazz and world music; on the other side of Kelvinbridge is LP Records, which has its own radio station broadcasting from the shop – often the DJs include local indie acts; and Love Music near Queen Street station sells new and secondhand vinyl, CDs and tapes. It quickly became clear to me that the musical infrastructure of Glasgow – its record shops, bars and cafes, the recording studios and record labels – is the result of a DIY ethos that the city’s musicians had long embraced.

In the ’90s, vinyl records were dead. Now, they’re flying off the shelves: Vinyl record sales are outshining CD sales for the first time since the 1980s. Here’s why. Current trends show that by year’s end, vinyl record sales will surpass compact disc sales for the first time in 33 years, according to the RIAA Music Revenues Report released last month. The 2018 report illustrated a decline in CD sales as well, which dipped below $1 billion in sales for the first time since 1986. This year’s report shows continued stagnation as well, while vinyl record sales remain on their projection upward. These numbers come at a time when streaming music has become the main way people listen to music. In fact, streaming accounts for 80% of the music industry’s revenue, which can be attributed to the fact that the convenience and affordability once found in CDs is now being found in digital formats, according to Brandon Anderson, director of Graywhale Entertainment.

This funky turntable doubles as a Bluetooth speaker (and it’s on sale): We’re not breaking any news by telling you that vinyl is back. In early 2019, a report by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) revealed that revenue from vinyl sales in the US had reached its highest point since 1988. While we typically assume old = bad when it comes to tech, it’s easy to see why vinyl has made a comeback. In the age of streaming, physically searching for a record, holding it in your hands, and hearing the stylus crackle as it rests on the vinyl can feel like an unexpectedly transcendent experience. Plus there’s that “warm, rich” sound that crate-diggers always swear by. But, unless you’re really committed to the vinyl cause, you’re still going to want to listen to music without having to buy an entire album. You know, like stream it. The way everyone else does. On that note, wouldn’t it be a space-saving stroke of luck if you could do this with the very turntable on which your analog dreams are made?

Ariana Grande Releases All Five Studio Albums And Christmas EP On Colour Vinyl: Ariana Grande has announced all five of her studio albums, along with the ‘Christmas & Chill’ EP, will be available on colour vinyl on 6 December. Capping off her game-changing year, Ariana Grande has announced all five of her studio albums, along with her Christmas & Chill EP, will be available on limited edition colour vinyl on 6 December. While the colour editions are exclusive to her artist store, her first three albums – Yours Truly, My Everything and Dangerous Woman – are set for release on black vinyl and will be available at retail stores worldwide via Republic Records/UMe. The Grammy-award winning artist already has an enviable catalogue of work to her name at the age of 26. She’s gone from teen star to global pop icon and is the first artist in music history to have the lead single from her first five albums debut on the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. In just the span of six years, she’s made quick work of the Billboard charts, evolving her sound each step of the way.

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