In rotation: 9/30/21

3 Reasons You Should Ditch The MP3 And Listen To Vinyl Records Instead: “Vinyl gives you a deeper appreciation of music.” If you grew up in the early ‘80s, it’s probably not your first time to see a vinyl record, which has been re-emerging in the circles of music enthusiasts and collectors over the last few years. In the age of music streaming apps, why is the vinyl back, seemingly, for good? Let’s backtrack to the ‘30s, when RCA Victor launched the first commercially available vinyl long-playing (LP) record, which was marketed as “program transcription discs.” These discs could hold up to 15 minutes per side, and were designed to be played with a special “Chromium Orange” chrome-plated steel needle. Sound is recorded in the grooves found on the vinyl, and as the record spins, the needle runs along the grooves and passes the information to the player’s electromagnetic head. However, due to the financial hardships during the Great Depression, the discs were considered a “commercial failure” and were discontinued.

Houston, TX | The Memo Record Shop has one of the most eclectic Latin music collections in the country. Houston-Guillermo “Memo” Villarreal grew up with a love of music and has shared his wonderful collection with the city of Houston for over 50 years. Memo opened his record shop in 1968 and sold music not found anywhere else in the city. He has seen the music industry move from vinyl to 8-track, cassette tapes and CDs. The types of music are also increasing. In the aisles of the store, you can find mariachis, conjuntos, the Caribbean, salsa, meringues, tejano and more. Memo Record Shop # 1 also has a huge collection of Latin movies. “If we don’t have it, it doesn’t exist anymore,” the memo said. The memo business has grown into a museum with hundreds of photographs, signs and guitars hanging on the wall.

Records, turntables and books making a comeback. Eight-track tapes, probably not: Against all odds, analog-era media products once left for dead are making miraculous comebacks. For decades, vinyl records, turntables, broadcast TV antennas — and even printed books — seemed destined for the dustbin of technological history. Many of us threw away our record collections and antennas and began migrating from physical books to digital ones. Now, these older technologies are enjoying a revival. What explains their resurgence, and what’s the lesson. Vinyl records are enjoying success not seen since Whitney Houston regularly topped the charts. After a rapid decline in the 1980s, sales were almost non-existent in the 1990s. Today, they’re selling briskly — up 94% currently over the same period last year — and record stores can’t keep up with surging demand. Vinyl topped CD sales for the first time since 1986, despite consumers having to pay twice what they might for CDs or digital downloads.

Bath, UK | We look inside a new record and plant hybrid store in Bath: The store has found a niche in the market. Records and plants aren’t usually something you’d expect to find sold side by side – but a new store in Bath is offering just that. Situated on Broad Street, Chapter 22 Roots and Records offers a unique shopping experience as it combines vinyl records with a wide variety of rare and exotic plants. In addition, customers can also enjoy a delicious coffee while they browse. Behind the shop are Bath residents Dean Brown and partner Nicola Taylor – who took their big passions in life and merged them into a one-off shop. The shop is in its third week of opening and Dean said that so far the reception has blown them away. He said: “We are very busy, it has completely exceeded our expectations – we’ve got plants flying out the door.

Floresville, TX | Dylan Merten gives vinyl a new spin: Dylan Merten is a 20-year-old student at Texas A&M University- San Antonio, majoring in history with a minor in political science. Most of his time is spent on campus, at work, or studying. In his spare time, he enjoys collecting vinyl records. Yes. That’s right. Vinyl records. Merten, from Floresville, surmised that he has been collecting records for four years. “It all started when I was in Houston, visiting my aunt and uncle,” he said. “I mentioned to my uncle that I was thinking about starting a collection.” His uncle left the room and returned with an extra record player, which he gifted to young Merten. Now, Merten estimates that he has collected approximately 50 albums, including at least one album from each main musical genre. His favorite genres to collect are rock and rap, because those are what he listens to the most. His rock collection is by far his strongest. “I have almost every major Beatles album now, and am only missing two!” he remarked.

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