In rotation: 1/14/22

Brunswick, ME | Bull Moose’s Brown: How Bowdoin Econ Class Prepared Me for Employee Sale: When Bull Moose CEO Brett Wickard ’90 mentioned to longtime colleague Chris Brown ’91 that he was considering transferring ownership of the retail chain to its employees, Brown had a lightbulb moment. “I know all about this,” he said. “I did a paper on it thirty years ago!” As a Bowdoin sophomore, Brown wrote a term paper on employee stock ownership programs, known as ESOPs, as part of Professor Jonathan Goldstein’s political economics class. The paper, called “Worker Owned Businesses: Another Look at ESOP’s Fable,” examined the rationale behind ESOPs and how well they work. “The key lesson for me,” he said, “was that you could improve performance at the same time as making a company a better place to work.” Brown, who is chief financial officer at Bull Moose, was a music major but took three economics classes. “That’s what’s fun about a school like Bowdoin,” he said. “You can learn all kinds of things, learn how to write, how to think critically. You’re not locked down in one particular area.”

Baton Rouge, LA | Downtown record shop to close for a week after customers get verbally abusive over mask policy: Tess Brunet is taking a much-needed break to focus on her mental wellbeing after a trying holiday season at her downtown vinyl record shop during the fifth wave of the pandemic. Brunet announced in a Tuesday Facebook post that she would close Lagniappe Records for a week after some customers were verbally abusive and one physically assaulted her when she reinstated a masking policy as coronavirus cases skyrocketed in Acadiana. She plans to reopen Wednesday. “We’re just asking you to wear a mask when you are inside. None of the rest of it matters when you’re in our store,” Brunet said in a Wednesday phone interview. “There are some regulars who don’t buy into the whole mask thing. Some are anti-maskers or anti-vaxxers, but they respect us and they wear a mask and they’re friendly with us. It’s when you cross a line and you treat someone like sh– because you feel entitled to — to verbally abuse someone or physically assault someone—that it’s toxic.”

Newark, DE | Newark’s Long Play Cafe to close on Feb. 5: Main Street record store Long Play Cafe, which has provided Newark with a unique place to sit down with a coffee while shopping for rare music since 2019, will close its doors on Feb. 5. Owner Brian Broad said the business is doing well, but his wife, Brenda, found a fantastic job in Pittsburgh. “We achieved what we wanted to achieve here,” Broad said. “We’re at the top of our game, and now we’re slowly building and maintaining it. It’s a shame that we’re closing because I know that would continue. I know we could keep a successful shop here for years and years, but we can’t turn this opportunity down.” Broad plans to take the model he developed in Newark, which mixes a coffee shop, a record store and a concert venue together, and start a new Long Play Cafe in the Steel City.

Midland, MI | Radio Wasteland Records celebrates fifth anniversary: Just for the record, Jim Gleason is a vinyl enthusiast. He prefers the warm, rich sounds of records over CDs any day. In fact, he’s got about 15,000 of the big flat discs in storage and on the shelves in his business, Radio Wasteland Records. The store, located at 716 George St. in Midland, opened its doors on Jan. 13, 2017, and is celebrating its fifth anniversary this Saturday. Gleason says he made the move from acquiring records for his collection to selling records, eventually leading to opening up his first business. “For me, this has always been about the love of vinyl,” he says. “I’ve been collecting since the early ‘80s and became a serious collector around 1991 or 1992.” Gleason’s wife researched opening up a record shop, and shortly after, Midland had a record store again after The Turntable shuttered in 2003. Since the store opened in 2017, the business model has remained the same: carry vinyl music only.

The Vinyl Comeback: Vinyl Outsold CDs in 2021 for the First Time Since the 1980s: 2021 might as well have been the year of the artist. Despite the coronavirus pandemic persisting and live shows being canceled, music nonetheless continued to offer an escape. And in the midst of this resilience, vinyl made a comeback. According to the studies done by MRC Data and the reporting of Quartz, the vinyl medium outsold CDs by about 1.1 million sales. In fact, in 2021, vinyl saw an increase in sales of 51% and ultimately had 41.7 million sales. These statistics crown vinyl as the top-selling physical music format for 2021, the first time that this has occurred since the 1980s. Quartz dubbed this the “vinyl renaissance,” and has taken place for a few reasons. There is essentially a “nostalgia among older music listeners, a desire to directly support artists after live music venues shut down during the pandemic, and newfound popularity among younger generations,” according to Quartz.

From The Weeknd’s ‘Dawn FM’ to Adele’s ’30’, is the album format making a comeback? Streaming platforms have changed the way we consume music, but an emotional connection to songs could be key to how we play them. The Weeknd’s new album Dawn FM may sound futuristic, but the execution is old-school. It is a collection of 16 tracks that are perfectly sequenced and, in some cases, that segue into each other. The release is also united lyrically and sonically. The stark and icy production matches the singer’s tale of romantic woes and redemption. Dawn FM comes on the back of a similar giant release. Adele’s 30, 2021’s biggest-selling album in the US and UK, is also a brilliantly cohesive set of lovelorn ballads meant to be heard in a specific order and in one sitting. With other successful albums released in 2021, such as Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres and Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, and anticipated titles on the way from Kendrick Lamar and Lizzo, for example, it begs the question: is the album format enjoying a revival?

How to set up a record player: Dust off your old vinyl and get that turntable spinning. Setting up a new turntable is an enormously fun project to get stuck into. And, it’s really not as tricky as you may have thought, whether you’ve just bought one of the best record players available today (and all the modern trappings they come with), or you want to revamp an older model that needs a little TLC. Many modern turntables come with all manner of nifty features, including Bluetooth connectivity for pairing with wireless headphones and speakers, and even USB outputs for ripping your vinyl to your computer. Aside from these extra mod cons, all turntables feature intricate, moving parts—and that can be a little daunting. That’s why we’ve put together this easy guide on the best way to set up a turntable.

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