Category Archives: A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 1/18/22

Indie music retailers report 23% growth across all formats (including CDs): A survey of Coalition of Independent Music stores across the US show end of years sales up an average of 23% across all physical formats. Vinyl sales grew an average 60% and CD sales were up 16%. Several sales categories were particular bright spots according to the survey including turntables, vinyl accessories and unsurprisingly vinyl records, especially hip-hop and classic catalog. The pandemic continues to weigh heavily on indie retailers, but some also found positives. Many stores reported that Covid has made everyone take a closer look at their businesses finding ways to get creative, which has ultimately brought growth in some areas. “Overall, what was very exciting for me to see was that our stores reported growth in all formats (even the CD) and some in astounding numbers,” wrote Andrea Paschal, Executive Director of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores and ThinkIndie Distribution.

Keynsham, UK | Longwell Records in Keynsham opened after owner wanted to leave 30-year NHS career: Iain Aitchison is still getting recognised after his cameo appearance on The Outlaws. Iain Aitchison never dreamt his home-based Bristol record business would end up as an actual shop so he simply called it after the area where he lives with his family. Named after Longwell Green, Longwell Records now has two shops, neither of them in the area which inspired the name. The original shop opened in Keynsham in April 2016, a year after Iain started the business online. It was followed in June 2020 by a second store in a converted shipping container at Cargo 2 in Wapping Wharf. “I never thought I would get a physical shop so I just named it after Longwell Green where I live,” says Iain. “I did think about changing it to Keynsham or Bonzo Records later but I’m glad I didn’t.”

Hudson Valley, NY | Where are the independent record stores in the Hudson Valley? There was a time, and it didn’t seem that long ago, that there were record stores everywhere. The Hudson Valley alone had tons of them. Big, corporate record stores. Strawberry records, Media Play, Sam Goody. Those kind of record stores. It seems you couldn’t even go into a mall without checking out a huge record store. Nowadays most people stream their music, but there has been a renewed interest in records and other vintage music. In fact, Record Store Day happens twice a year and it’s become huge. It’s a day full of special and limited music releases that you will only find at independent record stores. I’m all for supporting local record shops and music, so I think Record Store Day is awesome. But where are the independent record stores here in the Hudson Valley? We’ve put together a list of some of the best in the area.

Fargo, ND | Fargo-Moorhead music stores riding wave of vinyl’s remarkable comeback: Store owners, audiophiles sing the praises of the Old School format. Aaron Swinkels is doing his part to be sure vinyl records keep “Stayin Alive.” Swinkels, the owner of Vinyl Giant in downtown Fargo, has made his store into a haven for audiophiles, cramming it with bins of vintage vinyl discs and the audio equipment to make the music happen. With the Bee Gees playing in a background mix, Swinkels estimates his personal collection of LPs and 45s has climbed into the “couple thousand” range. They are his time machine. “I’ve collected ever since I was a kid. I was always the guy that had a record collection. I don’t know anyone else who did. I don’t know why. My mom had records. … I fished them out of the garage and listened to them in high school. They were just some phenomenal memories, you know?”

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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.

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In rotation: 1/13/22

Nashville, TN | How much did vinyl music sales grow in 2021? (Hint: a lot) Another year marks another high note struck by vinyl album sales. Vinyl sales in the U.S. increased from 21.5 million units in 2020 to 41.7 million units last year, according to a 2021 report from MRC Data-Billboard, a media consumption company formerly know as Nielsen-SoundScan. Last year, vinyl albums — once considered an niche format sidelined by streaming services and digital downloads — accounted for more than half of all physical music sales in the U.S. for the first time since MRC-SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. According to the report, vinyl moved enough units last year to surpass 2020 sales totals by late September, weeks before Adele released her chart-topping album “30” and holiday shopping took center stage. To boil down the year-by-year increase into one week: In late December 2021, vinyl hit a weekly high in the MRC-SoundScan era with the organization reporting 2.11 million units sold. That week eclipses a seven-day total that previously peaked in late December 2020 at 1.842 million.

Braselton, GA | Carden Records spinning vinyl in downtown Braselton: Tables are turning at a textured, nostalgic decibel in downtown Braselton, harking the open doors of Carden Records — North Georgia’s newest source for new and used vinyl, CDs and cassette tapes. The namesake of owner John Carden, the record store is the first of eight tenants to officially open inside The 1904 formerly known as the Braselton Brothers department store. “I told my wife, ‘Vinyl’s coming back; now would be a good time to figure out how to open a store,’” he said. “Younger kids are getting into vinyl now; it’s kind of cool to watch them do the same thing that I do even now, listening to vinyl instead of streaming music.” While streaming is convenient here in the digital age, Carden noted there’s a prevailing resistance to those platforms in favor of supporting artists’ livelihood. ” Fans are starting to figure out that if they buy physical copies of music again, it supports the artist that they like more so than picking up your phone and paying them a percentage of a dollar for every time you play a song.”

West Yorkshire, UK | Grind and Groove bring back pleasures of vinyl: “We are always presently surprised when we have youngsters coming in asking for David Bowie.” Not only do teens want to listen to a star who was probably on their parents’ playlist decades before, but they want to hear him on vinyl – a choice which thrills Gareth and Kerry Beck. “They come in and ask for The Beatles, Kiss, or other music from the past – it’s great to see,” says Gareth, who with his wife runs Grind and Groove records in Keighley, our T&A Trader of the Week. Figures released last year by the British Phonographic Industry found that sales of vinyl records in the UK were the highest since the early 1990s, and had grown for the 13th year running. “Colour vinyl always add an element of surprise and excitement to the purchases – if it’s a splatter vinyl what will it look like? What colours will it have? It’s like Christmas opening up shrink wrap, seeing what it looks like and ultimately finding out that it sounds just as good as a standard black vinyl,” says Gareth, who was born in Otley but grew up in Australia.

Album Buyers Keep It Old School: While overall album sales have gradually declined in the United States over the past decade as music consumption shifted to streaming services, vinyl LPs have gained popularity as a physical token in the digital age. Between 2007 and 2021, album sales dropped from 501 million to 109 million according to MRC Data. LP sales, meanwhile climbed from 2.5 million to 41.7 million, making vinyl the big winner of the streaming age (next to streaming services obviously). As the following chart shows, CD sales in particular have dropped precipitously over the past decade, while the age of digital albums was cut short by the advent of streaming services. Interestingly, LP sales surpassed both CD and digital album sales last year, making vinyl records the most popular format outside of streaming services. While the album has been losing relevance in recent years as streaming services pushed playlist-based listening, some music fans still value the work that some artists put into creating a coherent piece of art.

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In rotation: 1/12/22

Rome, IT | Pope slips out of Vatican to visit record shop, gets CD: Pope Francis grew up listening to the opera on the radio, is a fan of Argentine tango and thinks Mozart “lifts you to God.” But it still came as a something of a shock to see the 85-year-old pontiff coming out of a downtown Rome record shop late Tuesday with a CD in hand. He had made an unannounced visit that was caught on camera by a Vatican reporter who happened to be nearby. Javier Martinez-Brocal, director of the Rome Reports news agency, said he was in the neighborhood of Rome’s Pantheon when he noticed a white Fiat 500 with Vatican license plates and some police cars parked in front of the Stereosound shop. Francis had slipped inside and stayed for about 12 minutes, chatting with the owners, Martinez-Brocal reported. They then recounted what had transpired: It turns out the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a customer during his visits to Rome, and had promised them he’d come visit when he met with them at the Vatican.

Wales, UK | The independent record shops in Wales enjoying the biggest vinyl sales in 30 years: Vinyl sales have seen a surge in sales with record shops all across the country booming with success. Vinyl record sales in 2021 leading into the new year have been the highest they’ve been in the past 30 years, with record shops across Wales all enjoying the demand. Despite issues with backlogs and delays, independent vinyl stores across the country have established themselves as ‘musical hubs’, with a resurgence of music enthusiasts opting into a hard copy version of their favourite tracks. According to new figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), over five million LP vinyl records have been purchased in the past 12 months accounting for nearly a quarter of album purchases, its highest level since 1990. But like many other industries it has seen its fair share of challenges in a year plagued by shortages, as one independent record shop explained: “It’s gotten to the point where we’re a victim of our own success, there’s a lot of shortfalls just because pressing companies can’t match the overwhelming demand in the industry.”

Pittsburgh, PA | The Largest Record Store In Pittsburgh Has More Than Half A Million Albums: That old saying “everything old is new again” offers a pretty good reason to hang on to those items – from clothes to decor – that have gone out of style. After all, give it time, and everything pretty much comes back in style again. Like vinyl records. Once playing second fiddle to cassettes, CDS, and streaming, old-school records are making a comeback, and you’ll find no better or bigger selection than at the largest record store in Pittsburgh. Jerry’s Records on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill earns props as more than the largest record store in Pittsburgh. It, in fact, is known as the “world’s largest all-vinyl record store,” with an impressive selection of more than a half of a million records. You’ll want to carve out enough time to meander up and down the aisles that are jam-packed with vinyl records.

Ghost, Volbeat commemorate co-headlining tour with limited edition vinyl single: Seven inch will only be available at tour stops. Ghost and Volbeat are commemorating their monumental joint headlining tour to release a limited edition double A-side 7-inch vinyl featuring each of the band’s contributions to The Metallica Blacklist via Blackened Recordings. Ghost’s cover of “Enter Sandman” on Side G and Volbeat’s “Don’t Tread On Me” on Side V will be pressed on crystal clear vinyl and limited to only 3,000 units with 115 copies available at each tour stop on a first come, first served basis. There will be a limit of one per customer. All proceeds from the split 7-inch will be split evenly between The All Within My Hands Foundation and the charities of the artists’ choice: Camp Aranu’tiq (Ghost) and Børne Cancer Fonden (Volbeat).

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In rotation: 1/11/22

Why More Gen Zs Fall In Love With Vinyl Records? Streaming music, premium subscriptions, and wireless speakers — these may seem like the norms in a Gen Z’s bubble. But for a growing segment of audiophiles in this demographic, the above-mentioned are nothing but a facade. Nowadays, turntable sales are mostly from millennials and some folks in their late thirties and early forties. A little behind them are Gen Zs, which may come off as a shock. However, the reality that turntables had outlived many of their supposed successors led to discoveries, a path every young adopter would come across. But why does this presumed zombie tech continue to rise in the hearts of our youth? The answer lies in the factors indicated below.

Detroit, MI | Michigan is home to one of the best record stores in America: In this week’s local column, we’re talking about something every music lover enjoys: a trip to the local record shop. In Michigan, we have a wide range of great stores. One of those has actually been voted one of the best record stores in America. There’s something special and unique about spending time at a local record shop. It’s almost like a “Cheers”-type environment, where “Everyone knows your name.” Shoppers and staffers bond of their passion for all things music. It’s a retro experience that shopping online just can’t fulfill. First of all, it’s worth noting that Michigan has a plethora of solid record shops. If you’re in mid-Michigan, Flat, Black and Circular is a longstanding favorite. The shop has been on the campus of Michigan State University for decades and stands out, both because of its cozy feel and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Another mid-Michigan spot is The Record Lounge, which often hosts live music, to boot. Now, Spin Magazine recently released its list of the 10 Greatest Record Stores in America. On that list is Dearborn Music in Detroit.

Chattanooga, TN | Sales of new and ‘new old’ vinyl records can be found at Chattanooga’s Yellow Racket Records: Sales of vinyl records continued to set a record in 2021, according to a report on axios.com, and when Ben Vanderhart decided to take part in the action more than a year ago, he wanted to focus on a market that was not served locally. – freshly pressed vinyl records. It has proven to be a smart move, despite the pandemic forcing him to stop some of the in-store promotional ideas he has. “You can buy previously beloved records at McKay or in an antique mall, but even there it can be hard to find the really good ones because people tend to keep the ones they like,” he said. “The good ones like ‘What’s going on’, who will give it up?” Vanderhart’s Yellow Racket Records on West Main Street in Chattanooga sell the Marvin Gaye album as well as works by The Beatles and other classical rock artists, but they are freshly squeezed and sealed. The store also sells newly recorded albums by artists such as Taylor Swift, Radiohead and local groups Call Me Spinster and Strung Like a Horse.

Birmingham, AL | Vinyl record sales up 50.4% in 2021. Here’s what Birmingham shops have to say: Don’t throw away that old CD player or turntable! According to a yearly report from music data compiler MRC Data, 2021 was a fantastic year for CD sales. For the first time since 2004, CD sales actually increased. Last year wasn’t just a good year for compact discs—apparently, vinyl album sales increased a massive 50.4% over 2020. Why are people starting to buy more CDs and vinyl albums? We spoke with representatives from two record stores in Birmingham to learn more. In an era where nearly the entire wealth of recorded music is available at the tip of your fingers, it seems odd that antiquated forms of recording—such as vinyl albums, compact discs, cassette tapes and more—are picking up popularity. Although physical forms of music saw a steady decline in popularity in the early 2000s due to digital download and streaming services, there has been a renewed interest in vinyl albums over the past decade.

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In rotation: 1/10/22

Newsweek: Vinyl Accounts for Over Half of Physical Albums Sold in 2021, Surpasses CDs for First Time: Vinyl records outsold CDs in the U.S. last year for the first time since MRC Data, a music data collection company, started tracking music sales data in 1991. In 2021, 41.7 million vinyl record albums sold, compared with 40.6 million CDs, a massive jump from 2011, when vinyl accounted for less than 2 percent of physical sales of music. MRC Data also reported that the week ending December 23 was the first in its tracking history in which over 2 million vinyl records were sold. During that Christmas-buying week, consumers bought 2.11 million units. Overall music consumption, as tracked by the company, grew 11.3 percent in 2021, with new music released by popular artists like Adele, Morgan Wallen and Olivia Rodrigo. There also was a 12.6 percent increase in on-demand streaming of music, topping out at over 988 billion individual streams. However, the report also showed a dip in the consumption of new music, defined in the report as music released within the past 18 months, for the first time since the company began tracking music streaming in 2008.

El Paso, TX | All That Music expanding, to offer larger selection: All That Music & Video – El Paso’s longest running and largest locally-owned music and media retailer – is expanding. The store at the Fountains at Farah will temporarily close starting Monday, Jan. 10 as it prepares to expand into the storefront next door – more than doubling its size. Construction should take about three months, with the store expected to reopen on Record Store Day on April 16. During construction, the store will temporarily move into a larger space a few doors down from its current shop. That site will open on Thursday, Jan. 13. “Gone will be the ‘cozy-tight’ description of the present store, creating more elbow room and a more comfortable experience for customers.

Miami, FL | Miami store T Bag Records opens in new location: Miami store T Bag Records has opened at a new location. Founders Taimur and Gina Agha, the husband-and-wife team who also run the label and party series Blkmarket Music, soft-launched the shop during Art Basel in December. Located at 5789 Northwest 7th Avenue, the new spot is now open from Tuesday through Saturday for in-person digging. The original T Bag opened in April 2021 out of necessity. “I had no work like everyone else,” Taimur told Resident Advisor. “No gigs, no events, no income. I didn’t get any aid from the government either.” Taimur decided to make use of his extensive record collection and years of experience, both behind the decks and as the former dance music buyer at New York’s fabled Halcyon Records. (He also stumbled into Halcyon during a time of crisis: “In 2008 I lost my advertising day job during the recession,” he told RA. “During this time I was asked to come on board.”)

Loveland, CO | Downtown Sound opens under new ownership: Loveland’s one-stop shop for all things vinyl will be opening its doors once again, this time with new owners at the helm. Downtown Sound, located at 330 E. Fourth St., has been open for 10 years and was most recently owned by Rogan Magyar, who took ownership of the store in March of 2019 when he merged his music-lesson and rental business, Keptone Music Workshop, with the record store in downtown Loveland. But troubles caused the store to close temporarily late last year. In November, the store posted on its Facebook page that it was looking for interested buyers to take over the business — a Facebook marketplace posting was even made to try to find a new owner. Enter Greeley residents John and Jennie Jankow. The couple saw the post looking for new owners and decided to throw their hat in the ring of those looking to take over the store. John Jankow said they weren’t sure initially if they would be selected to be the next owners after attending a meeting of other interested buyers.

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In rotation: 1/7/22

Melbourne, AU | Vinyl vs Covid: How vinyl survived in Melbourne during the pandemic: It’s a pretty obvious statement that the music industry has been hit extremely hard by Covid, yet one section of the music industry that has been able to grow – and in some cases thrive – in these strange times has been the world of vinyl and vinyl collecting. During the pandemic I came out of vinyl collecting retirement and began buying physical music again. I was interested if others had felt the same urge to jump off the couch and head back towards the turntable. A common problem in the world of vinyl seems to be pressing times, with pressing plants facing huge backlogs due to the pandemic. In some cases, smaller labels were waiting six months to get a record pressing back. But Melbourne’s responded to supply and demand. The long running Zenith Records plant in Brunswick is the established name, with Program Records the first new vinyl pressing plant in Victoria in 30 years to open recently. Small Run offers lathe cut records for those looking for smaller quantities.

Portsmouth, NH | ‘We couldn’t ask for a better time’: Bull Moose music stores sold to employees: ‘We couldn’t ask for a better time’: Bull Moose music stores sold to employees: Bull Moose, which has been a leading seller of music, videos, games and popular culture items downtown since the era of compact discs, has been sold by its founder to its employees. Founder Brett Wickard announced the sale of the company to 140-plus employees through an employee stock ownership plan Tuesday. The Bull Moose store in Portsmouth was the fifth location opened in the chain that now has 11 stores in Maine and New Hampshire. Eligible employees will be granted stock ownership by Bull Moose’s ESOP Trust, which owns 100% of Bull Moose after buying out Wickard, according to a company press release. Employee owners will be represented by an ESOP Committee to whom the board of directors will report. Through the transition, Wickard will remain the Interim CEO and chair of the board.

Nashville, TN | Hot property market puts Nashville record shop, and other small businesses, at risk: The Groove is a small record shop nestled into a 1920s Craftsman-style house in east Nashville, Tennessee. “The whole personality of having the house is having a creaky door,” said co-owner Jesse Cartwright, “so we know when people come in.” Inside, racks of vinyl records lined the walls, which were plastered with band posters and black-and-white photos from punk shows. Cartwright straightened a few albums perched above the fireplace. “It’s just like being in your best friend’s house, looking through records,” he said. Beyond being homey, the Groove has built a reputation for being a community space. It puts on concerts with bands — often before they get big — like Alabama Shakes and the singer Yola. In the fall, it hosts scary movie nights with a projector in the backyard. But the Groove is in jeopardy; its landlord is selling the property.

Duluth, MN | Auction contents of defunct Duluth novelty, record and smoke shop are nostalgic, R-rated: Sale of items from the long-closed store is Jan. 8. The contents of Duluth’s embattled and long-shuttered Last Place on Earth are up for auction, and parents are advised to keep the children at home. Superior’s Sellers Auction is emptying a 24-foot storage container filled top to bottom with vintage records, incense, black light posters, the original, tattered storefront sign and “a ton of adult items.” “We’re calling it an adult auction date night,” said Christina Greene, co-owner of the auction house. “We’ll have a keg, champagne. We will sell the PG items first. … Then we’ll break into the R-rated items.” In 2013, U.S. marshals arrested Last Place owner Jim Carlson in a drug raid. The arrest occurred because Carlson was openly selling addictive synthetic drugs branded as bath salts and incense, drawing long lines of users and filling the city’s emergency rooms with those who used the drugs. Authorities seized the property in the summer of 2013, and Carlson was convicted on 51 counts and handed a 17.5-year prison sentence. The conviction was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2016.

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In rotation: 1/6/22

UK | Best year for vinyl albums since 1990: Despite a global vinyl shortage and the ubiquity of streaming, sales of vinyl records last year were the highest seen for 30 years. More than five million vinyl records were sold in 2021. Hold on a moment, this all sounds a little familiar. Perhaps. The truth is vinyl sales have been growing for more than a decade now. Last year’s 8 per cent rise in sales marks the 14th consecutive year of growth for the format. Vinyl album sales haven’t been this high since 1990. There can’t be that many people who don’t have their Beatles albums on vinyl now, surely? I don’t know about that, but I do know that ABBA’s new album Voyage was the year’s best-selling vinyl album, followed by Adele’s 30. In fact, eight out of 10 sales of the album 30 in December were of physical copies – vinyl, CDs or cassettes – rather than via streaming.

Watertown, MA | In Watertown Square, Wanna Hear It Records celebrates a year in business: Joey Cahill has wanted to open a record store his whole life. “When you’re a kid, you say you want to grow up to be a baseball player or an astronaut, or whatever. I was always saying I wanted to own a record store. I never thought it would happen,” he says. His store, Wanna Hear It Records in Watertown Square, just celebrated its first year in business on Dec. 12, and Cahill is riding high. “I’m drowning in vinyl,” he laughs. “It’s amazing.” Born and raised in California, Cahill started collecting vinyl at age 14. “Back then, an ideal night for me and my friends was a trip to Amoeba Records,” he says. The famous Los Angeles shop made an impression on the young Cahill, and he’d go on to work at another store in the area in college. “Favorite job I’ve ever had,” he says, smiling.

Worcester, UK | Sales of vinyl records in Worcester soaring amid national boom: Vinyl sales grew to their highest level in more than three decades in 2021 as consumers returned to the old school format during the coronavirus pandemic. More than five million vinyl albums were bought in the UK over the past 12 months, up eight per cent on sales in 2020, according to figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). This marks the 14th consecutive year of growth for vinyl records since 2007. Nick Banks, who has been running Market Hall Records in The Shambles for almost 20 years, said he’s noticed the industry boom in Worcester, and insisted rock classics remain the favourites among his new wave of customers. He said: “I’ve definitely seen a similar trend in Worcester, sales have been going up for the last three or four years now to be honest.

Surrey, BC | Music shop owner chats about life, music, and his recent Clovie Award win: Bill Haggerty is thankful to everyone who has supported Elevated Music. Welcome to “Cloverdale In Conversation,” a regular feature with a local personality. This week, Bill Haggerty is our guest. Bill is the owner of Cloverdale’s Elevated Music and he recently won a Clovie Award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Bill talks about his Clovie win, what ignited his love for music, and how Elevated Music got its start. “…I’d say a big element was my early introduction and love for music. I started playing drums around the age of eight and was playing in bands by 12 years old. I started collecting records around the same time. Playing in punk bands, prog rock bands, metal, blues, and even live hip hop, this gave me a unique perspective and a diverse exposure to all cultures of music that contributed to who I am today.”

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In rotation: 1/5/22

El Paso, TX | All That Music & Video store to double in size at Fountains at Farah in East El Paso: All That Music & Video, a haven for El Paso’s music lovers, will close temporarily while it doubles in size at The Fountains at Farah. Owner George Reynoso announced the current location will close Jan. 10 while it moves into a temporary location across from P.F. Chang’s. It will reopen there on Jan. 13 while the original store undergoes some reconstruction, including the removal of a wall. It will take about three months to complete. A larger space always was the plan, Reynoso said. “We look forward to the expansion, which will accommodate the deeper, curated inventory longtime fans have come to expect,” Reynoso said in a news release. “No one has been unaffected by the life-changing events of the last two years. We hope you agree that this 90-day inconvenience will make it all worthwhile. Thank you, El Paso, Juarez and Las Cruces for your patience and continued support.” The newly expanded storefront will reopen in April, just in time for Record Store Day on April 16.

Kensington, PA | New Kensington shop lets you build a record collection without breaking the bank: A.J. Rassau is a music archaeologist. Through Preserving, a record shop housed inside a former Presbyterian church in New Kensington, the 36-year-old is giving new life to thousands of vinyl albums, CDs and cassettes. He’s also reinvigorating the live performance scene by hosting concerts at Preserving Underground, a basement venue that can accommodate up to 300 people. Located at 1101 Fifth Ave., the store posts weekly hours every Sunday on social media and Google. The next show is on Friday, Jan. 7, with DiLisio, Wampum Dogs, Memory Front and Black Squirrel, Run! Rassau’s childhood obsession began when he won a Mighty Mighty Bosstones CD at Kennywood. Discs are still his favorite and he’s amassed a large collection of them, from international releases and box sets to demos and DIY swag from hardcore, punk and metal bands. While technology has put every song at our fingertips, Rassau thinks streaming services don’t offer the same kind of listening experience. At a record store, all of a fan’s senses come into play.

New Bedford, CT | Vinyl beats CDs: Local record stores report surge in sales predominantly by young adults: Young adults may not know about pagers, Palm Pilots, VHS tapes, disposable cameras or floppy disks, but they certainly know about vinyl records — which are making a striking comeback. “Since I opened, I’ve been increasingly selling more records year after year,” said John Pimentel, owner of Max J Records in Fairhaven. A survey conducted by Vinyl Restart says that since 2005, there has been a renewed interest in vinyl records with an 18.5% sales increase yearly. In the first half of 2021, 17 million albums were sold, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, an 86% jump from 2020. Pimentel worked in retail for 20 years and sold records online before opening his brick and mortar store in 2017, on Bridge Street. “When you stream music, and you hear it that way, and then you listen to it on a turntable, you definitely hear things that you don’t get from the compressed format,” he said.

Massillon, OH | Erie St. Vinyl record store finds footing in downtown Massillon: While they were stuck at home during the pandemic for the past two years, Sam and Thomas Heaton particularly enjoyed having their record collections to listen to with their family. “It was a real source of joy and peace,” Sam said. That experience – coupled with a lifelong love of records and music – led to Sam’s new record store, Erie St. Vinyl, which opened in October in downtown Massillon. The shop is located a couple of storefronts away from Thomas’ longtime downtown business Art Bomb Tattoos. Inside Erie St. Vinyl, you’ll find a selection of new music releases with an emphasis on independent labels and artists. Along the right side of the shop, bins of discounted used vinyl are available for digging through. “I want people to understand that it’s not just about coming in and finding what you’re looking for,” Sam said. “It’s the shopping experience itself, it’s the space.”

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In rotation: 1/4/22

Bella Union’s Simon Raymonde On The Vinyl Landscape: The on-going vinyl resurgence is one of modern music’s most remarked-upon phenomenons. A format condemned to the bargain bins during the 90s, the rise of the CD – you can famously smear jam on ’em and they’ll still play – seemed to demolish all in its path. Yet the warm audio glow vinyl offers, and its sense of heritage, brought the format back from the brink, with a new generation of fans re-claiming it. The past decade or so has brought a vast percentage increase in vinyl sales, with catalogues re-booted and fresh artists requesting that their music appear on black wax. Yesterday – December 29th – saw the BPI unveil a new round of eye-watering percentage marks, with vinyl enjoying its best year in British music since 1988. For those on the ground, however, it hasn’t been quite simple. The architecture for pressing vinyl is now being far out-stripped by demand, meaning that small labels – who initially brought the vinyl resurgence into being – were pushed to the sidelines, experiencing lengthy delays on manufacture.

Sayville, NY | Better Nature Records shop brings music, fashion and ‘chill’ to Sayville: Michael Gippetti believes every community needs a record shop. “Every community has a barber shop, a gas station, a hardware store, a liquor store — got to have our liquor — but you don’t see enough record shops,” said the 37-year-old Oakdale resident who opened his Better Nature Records shop in downtown Sayville this fall. “Record shops promote the local festivals and bands. There’s so much to do.” Located at 56 S. Main St., Better Nature Records offers more than just music. Gippetti sells everything required to dive into rock culture. Used vinyl records fill bins throughout the shop, rock band tees lay on shelves and guitars hang from the ceiling. Clothing racks throughout the store boast black jackets, Eleven Paris sweaters and hoodies and All Saints boots. The store also carries new vinyl. Shrink-wrapped classics like “Led Zeppelin” and “Are You Experienced?” join newer albums like St. Vincent’s “Daddy’s Home” and The Black Keys’ “Let’s Rock.”

Here Are Some Black-Owned Record Stores That Are Helping Vinyl Have Its Biggest Year In Decades: …There are plenty of reasons for this jump in vinyl sales, with most having to do with consumers increasing interest in the novelty and vintage item that’s still connected to today’s music. This interest is catered to by record stores all over the country as well as the annual Record Store Day campaign. While big artists like Adele, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, and more are responsible for a heavy percentage of vinyl sales, the companies that go above and beyond with their consumers also played a large part in this. Stores that seek to do more than sell vinyl, and instead, build themselves as staples in their communities will always have old customers coming back while piquing the interest of new ones. Plenty of stores across the country do this, but there’s a specific uniqueness and communal aspect that’s present in Black-owned record stores. So here are six Black-owned record stores across the country that helped to give vinyl sales its biggest year in decades.

UAE | A UAE beginner’s guide to buying and listening to vinyl records: Vinyl sales are the highest they’ve been in three decades, so if you’re thinking about diving into the hobby, here’s a crash course on what you need. Vinyl sales are booming. In the era of Spotify and Apple Music, where millions of songs are only a thumb flick away, vinyl records may seem like a perplexing, if not antiquated, form of consuming music. In fact, less than two decades ago the medium was almost obsolete, but was saved by a few dedicated enthusiasts. But things seem to have come around for records. According to an annual report by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), purchases for vinyl LPs in the UK made up for 23 per cent of album sales in 2021. The figure is impressive, especially considering it’s the highest it’s been since 1990. So what has inspired many to get back in the groove?

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In rotation: 1/3/22

Vinyl record sales in 2021 at highest level for 30 years: 23 percent of all albums bought this year were on vinyl, with ABBA’s ‘Voyage’ the biggest seller. Vinyl record sales in 2021 were the highest they’ve been in 30 years, despite widely publicised issues with backlogs and delays. According to new figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), more than five million vinyl records were sold this year, an 8 per cent increase on 2020. It marks the 14th year in a row that the format has increased sales, with vinyl records making up 23 per cent of all albums sold this year. The biggest-selling vinyl album of 2021 so far is ABBA‘s comeback record ‘Voyage’, while Adele‘s huge ’30’ and Sam Fender‘s ‘Seventeen Going Under’ – NME’s Album Of The Year – also sold big on wax. Reflecting on the stats, Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, Brit Awards & Mercury Prize, said: “It’s a great time to be a music fan, with wider choice on offer than ever before supported by great value…”

Christmas week vinyl sales top 2 million: The 2.11 million vinyl records sold from December 17-23 mark the highest single-week total in the modern era. Americans bought 2.11 million vinyl records last week, Billboard reports. The figure marks the first time the single-week total has topped 2 million since MRC Data (formerly SoundScan) started tracking music sales in 1991. Sales clearly benefited from last-minute Christmas shopping — the number was up 45 percent from the previous week, when 1.46 million units were sold — but the new high also demonstrates a trend of significant growth on a broader scale: 2020’s Christmas week total was 1.84 million. According to Billboard, U.S. vinyl sales have topped 1 million six weeks in a row; there have only been 14 instances of million-unit weeks in the MRC Data years, eight of them occurring in 2021. And, for the past 23 weeks, more vinyl records have been sold than CDs; this only happened in five weeks last year, and never before 2020.

Colorado Springs, CO | Independent Records moving to new digs in Colorado Springs: Independent Records & Video is lifting the needle on its long-playing Platte Avenue home and moving to Academy Boulevard. The Colorado Springs business, one of the city’s last independently owned and operated music retailers, will relocate starting Monday to 195 N. Academy Blvd., southeast of Academy and Bijou Street, from its main building and next-door annex at 3030 and 3020 E. Platte. Independent Records had opened 43 years ago on Platte. …The move involves transporting merchandise and other items from the main building on Platte to the Academy site about a mile away. The annex was closed several months ago. Launched by Lambert and his brother, Lewis, in 1978, Independent Records sells music on CDs, vinyl albums and cassettes; it also sells DVDs, video games, books, and apparel.

Newtown, PA | Owner Of Newtown Book & Record Exchange Reflects After 1 Year: “I knew I needed the shop to always be here,” said Chelsea Mitchell, who bought the State Street store last December. “It’s my second home.” Last December, an employee who had worked at Newtown Book & Record Exchange for most of the prior 15 years took over ownership of the beloved local shop. Since then the store has celebrated its 40th birthday, and Chelsea Mitchell has been hard at work to ensure the record shop will stay in business. “I feel so supported by longtime customers and by the community for continuing Bobbie Lewis’s legacy,” she wrote in an email to Patch. “It hasn’t been without challenges, of course — but the work is too fun and rewarding to complain.” Lewis opened the shop in 1981, and the small store has since weathered the struggles of retailers like Amazon taking over much of the industry. Mitchell thinks local shops like the book and record exchange help people unplug. “Not to get too philosophical but it’s important that we stop relying so heavily on screens and get back to basics now and then,” she said.

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In rotation: 12/17/21

Seattle, WA | An Interview with Mikel Orsborn of Mighty Vinyl Records: Prog rock superfan Mikel Orsborn, AKA Mighty Vinyl, is a bit of an OG when it comes to selling records online, having set up his first store, “Supper’s Ready Collectibles” (named after this favorite Genesis song), in the early ‘90s. He was kind enough to tell us about his earlier days as a seller on a pre-Discogs internet. “In the late ’70s, I began reading Goldmine Magazine and Record Collector and discovered a whole WORLD of cool, unique releases out there that weren’t carried in my local Tower Records store. Working in a record store from 1980-1984, I’d been able to obtain a slug of promotional records, which I augmented with my purchases from new and used record stores, thrift shops, and estate sales. I had amassed something like 4,000 records and told my girlfriend at the time that it was all an investment. She said, ‘if it’s an investment, that means at some point you have to start selling stuff.’”

Memphis, TN | One and 100: John Miller, Shangri La Records owner: This story is part of the special project “One and 100: One pandemic uprooted our lives. One hundred stories tell its impact on the South.” Some days, life feels almost normal inside Shangri-La Records in Memphis. For John Miller, co-owner of the venerable record shop — which exudes the unique smell of vinyl LPs, a combination of old cardboard mixed with PVC, it’s a comforting feeling. “When there’s people in the store browsing and buying, sometimes I’ll be thinking, ‘Wow, this feels like the pandemic isn’t happening — other than folks have masks on,” says Miller. “We’re still missing all the international customers, the ones who would visit Sun and Stax and then come here and buy a piece of that history. So, no, it doesn’t feel quite like it did before, but hopefully, we’ll get back to that.” Over Shangri-La’s 32 years in business, music-buying tastes and trends have shifted, but in the last few years, the store has witnessed a full-blown renaissance in sales of vinyl records —something it never stopped selling.

Londonderry, VT | Luminous Crush to drop new album at new record store: Lovingly known as “purveyors of dream pop since 2015,” Southern Vermont’s Luminous Crush will publicly release its fifth collection of original music, titled “Incandescent” at 6 p.m. Saturday. The site of the album drop is to be the newly opened, independent record store, In the Moment Records, owned by Teresa and Sujay Patel, at the Mountain Marketplace in Londonderry. The store was previously on Main street in Brattleboro, but the Patels had always dreamed of bringing this vinyl paradise to the local community scene where they live. They opened doors early this November. The event will take place in the store from 6 to 8 p.m. with Luminous Crush (Ben Campbell and Laura Molinelli, also featuring Christian Heins on bass and Bill Conley on pedal steel and dobro) performing an acoustic set of original material. There will be giveaways as well as the opportunity to take home a CD with purchase of $5 or more from In the Moment Records.

Boston, MA | Streaming rules, but vinyl still grooves: Record stores see new generation of shoppers: There was a time when Jack Woker wasn’t sure his business would survive. It was the early 2000s, when CD sales were beginning to decline in the U.S. His store, Stereo Jack’s Records in Cambridge, had been selling vinyl records since 1982. By the ’90s, he mostly depended on CDs as vinyl and cassette tapes went by the wayside. But if there’s anything Woker has learned over his four decades in the retail music business, it’s that consumer habits can be unpredictable — and at times, mind-boggling. “Suddenly there was this swell of interest in vinyl, and it was mostly coming from young people,” Woker said. “It was puzzling to us, but we went along with it.” According to Woker, a lot of his young customers tend to prefer classic rock albums their parents might have bought as CDs in the ’80s and ’90s. Some of his big vinyl sellers include Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Beatles.

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In rotation: 12/16/21

Ontario, CA | ‘There’s nothing like vinyl’ says owner of Oshawa’s newest record store: The owner of Another Spin has more than 3,000 records in his collection and loves to talk music. Is it fair to ask someone with a collection of more than 3,000 records what their favourite album is? Not surprisingly, Andre Lessard loves all kinds of music. He’s been collecting Madonna albums for decades (and has more than 380) and listens to jazz, funk, disco, soul, rock, metal and indie. His record collection ranges from Depeche Mode and the Smiths to new artists like Willow Smith and Celeste. This is the kind of stuff Lessard loves to chat about when customers drop by Another Spin Records and More, the new downtown Oshawa record store he co-owns. “I really like to discuss music with customers. It’s the stories. Every customer has their own favourite band, their own favourite record and I like to hear about that,” he says. “Meeting new people through the store has opened my eyes and ears to other music.”

This is the most beautiful vinyl player we’ve ever seen: Record players have been dipping in and out of fashion for the past couple of decades now (thank you, hipsters). But we have found a turntable that is sure to remain cool for years to come. Say hello to the Brian Eno turntable. This beautiful turntable was designed by Brian Eno in collaboration with the Paul Stolper Gallery. With in-built colour-changing LEDs and a minimalistic design, it’s perfect for any music lover and anyone obsessed with well-designed products (that’s us, then). There will only be 50 of these limited-edition turntables released out into the wild so if you fancy buying your own turntable but have missed out on the Eno design, then make sure you check out our roundup of the best record players.

New York, NY | Best Hidden Gem New York City Newly Opened Used Vinyl Record Store: In this video, JamesandKarla and their music-loving dog Hudson visit the best hidden gem in New York City, a newly opened used vinyl record store, Ergot Records. This shop carries a wide variety of genres including punk, rock, jazz and house, techno and experimental music. We speak with the founder and owner, Adrian Rew who shows us some of the vinyl record gems he currently has in the store.

Styria, AT | Napalm Records And Austrovinyl Sign Strategic Partnership in Response to Rising Vinyl Demand: Napalm Records, one of the world’s leading independent Rock & Metal labels, and vinyl manufacturing company Austrovinyl – both based in Styria, Austria – are thrilled to announce that they have joined forces for a strategic partnership, strengthening the domestic music market and expanding international structures. The new collaboration will cover the increased in-house demand for vinyl, while strategically expanding business for Napalm Records, who have already ventured into different fields with their booking agency “Napalm Events” as well as their festival brands “Metal On The Hill” and “Rock In Graz”. Austrovinyl, located in the midst of the beautiful Styrian thermal spa & wine region, will continue to establish itself as one of the most state-of-the-art record pressing plants in Europe, and a reliable, high-quality producer of vinyl records.

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In rotation: 12/15/21

Hazard, KY | Queen City Records in Hazard celebrates grand opening with ribbon cutting event: Several community leaders came out to celebrate Queen City Records for its grand opening ribbon cutting event on Monday, December 13. The record store first opened its doors in November, but it wasn’t until now that the owners have had the chance to host an official grand opening. “We’re so happy to be here and very happy to see that everybody’s excited to see us here and to help us out in any way that they can, even in here buying records themselves,” said Queen City Records co-owner and manager, Mary Jo Everidge. Queen City Records is open Monday through Friday from noon to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Miami, FL: Vinyl Heaven: The Seven Best Record Stores In Miami: Our favorite record stores in Miami. We know there are still many music aficionados out there who cherish the idea of buying and holding a physical piece of music. For this reason, we wanted to point Miami locals in the right direction of where to get their hands on the most diverse selection of records possible. Here’s a list of our seven favorite record stores in Miami. Museo Del Disco: You can find just about anything you’re looking for at Museo Del Disco, from rock and pop to Latin and electronic dance music. Located just west of Coral Gables in Coral Terrace, Museo Del Disco is home to renowned records from artists like Adele, Queen, Lana Del Rey, The Weeknd, The Eagles, and Nirvana…

Houston, TX | Houston record shop owner remembers 50-year friendship with legendary singer Vicente Fernández: The Memo Record shop located in Houston’s East End may be breaking records with CDs and DVDs lining the walls. “This is the last historic Houston record store,” said Memo Villarreal, owner of the shop. “I live more here than my house.” For Villarreal, the store is home to some of his favorite memories. “Before the record shop, I was a promoter,” he said. Villarreal said in the 60′s he booked famed Mexican Ranchera singer Vicente Fernández for his first show in Houston. By the sixth show, he said he and Fernández had become good friends. “I said, ‘Vicente, we had it so loud,’” he recalled. “This is the first time in the six times you come to Houston. He gave me something that I can remember that day.” Villarreal was gifted Fernández’s signature charro outfits — just one of his many staples as a performer. “Once he stepped on stage, everyone was standing up, applauding, singing, and sometimes crying to the songs,” Marian Escamilla said.

Saginaw, MI | See what businesses opened or closed in 2021 in Saginaw, Bay and Midland counties: Relocated: Electric Kitsch. After nearly a decade in downtown Bay City, Electric Kitsch moved to the city’s South End. Co-owners Jessica McQuarter and Jordan Pries relocated their business to 2106 Kosciuszko (22nd St.), where they have nearly three times the retail space and plans to expand their product offerings. “The building has quite a lot of history,” McQuarter said, noting that it was formerly Joe’s Appliance. Electric Kitsch first opened at 917 Washington Ave. in downtown Bay City in June 2012. That location closed on March 15 with plans to reopen at the new location April 1. “We mostly sell new and used vinyl records. Lately, we’ve really gotten into used CDs and cassettes, pretty much all physical music media. Not a lot of stores are selling it anymore, besides record stores,” McQuarter said.

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In rotation: 12/14/21

Rhayader, UK | ‘Isn’t it encouraging to see the good old vinyl.’ Prince Charles buys a record in Rhayader shop: Prince Charles has been supporting a local business in Wales today by purchasing a vinyl record at a hardware shop in Rhayader. When buying Andrea Von Kampen’s album, That Spell, the Prince is overheard saying “isn’t it encouraging to see the good old vinyl.” He was visiting the family-run Hafod Hardware store to celebrate independent businesses and show support for the local high street. The Prince chose to visit the premises after seeing its Christmas advert that went viral in 2019. It featured a then two-year-old Arthur Jones, who is the great-grandson of owners Alan and Pauline Lewis. The video has been watched almost three million times on YouTube. The hardware store is one of the oldest businesses in Rhayader, dating back to 1895, and is one of the “must-see” attractions of the town.

Middlesbrough, UK | Inside Middlesbrough’s new cafe bar and vinyl store after stunning makeover: It’s above one of the town’s busiest venues. And they’re also planning a vinyl cafe bar for Stockton. Middlesbrough has a new cafe bar and vinyl store. Bad Neighbour Records has moved upstairs at one of the town’s busiest venues – Sticky Fingers – after a stunning makeover. Music lovers can pop in for a drink, browse its collection of vinyl and hear live music performances on the bar’s 1913 Bechstein grand piano. Sticky Fingers owner Toni Cook teamed up with Ross Kemp of Bad Neighbour Records, who was operating his business from a small shop in Forbes Building and wanted to expand. They have transformed the first floor of the Linthorpe Road venue – and are also planning a similar venture for Stockton. Bad Neighbour Records started in 2019. Ross said: “I’m a hip hop fan and vinyl is essential for that.”

Newport, UK | The Newport record shop hand-picked to get rare John Lennon vinyl: A Newport record store had an incredible surprise when it received an extremely rare vinyl copy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s classic ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’, to mark 50 years since the hit was released. Diverse Vinyl, based on Charles Street, was given the sixth of just 50 acetate vinyl pressings of the iconic song in the post last Friday. The store is one of only 25 record shops across the UK, picked personally by Yoko Ono and her son Sean Ono Lennon, to get their hands on a copy. Two other record shops in Wales, Spillers Records and Kelly’s Records in Cardiff, have also received copies. Paul Hawkins, who started Diverse Vinyl in 1995, said he had no idea that he was receiving such a rare piece of music history. “I didn’t even know it existed when it turned up,” Mr Hawkins told the Argus. “When it arrived last Friday, I had no idea what it was and when I opened it, I just couldn’t believe it.”

Cincinnati, OH | Craig’s Record Factory; A Nostalgic Journey Through the 70’s and 80’s: The past comes to life as readers follow author Craig Odanovich’s entrepreneurial footsteps through the golden age of rock-n-roll and the boom of video rental stores. Following Odonavich’s entrepreneurial journey from an employee at his parent’s Dairy Queen to the founder of his own wildly successful business, this book is a rich combination of memoir and business wisdom. Entertaining and inspiring, Craig’s Record Factory is a nostalgia trip into the bygone era of vinyl, jukeboxes, and good vibes. Craig’s Record Factory captures the voice of an age. Through founding his own music store. Craig’s Record Factory in 1979, to the joys of marriage and family life, to competing with Blockbuster video rental, and the trials of the corporate world, Odanovich gives readers an unabashed look at the inside of the music and video rental industries during their most iconic eras.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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