KANSAS CITY, Mo. – If you’re like most music lovers, your iPod is loaded with the bits and bytes of digital music. Around 1.3 billion digital tracks were downloaded in 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But another form of music sales is falling — The compact disc. Sales of CD’s dropped 13 percent.
Meantime, a quiet “revolution” is underway for an old-school way of enjoying music: vintage vinyl. Long Play record albums saw their sales jump for a fifth straight year, with 4.6 million albums sold.
It’s a trend David Schenk has experienced as the owner of Zebedee’s on 39th Street near the KU Medical Center.
When he opened Zebedee’s seven years ago, the compact disc was king, taking up most of his sales space. Now vinyl has taken over.
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“The market is driven by a 25 to 35-year-old clientele,” Schenk says.
And on this day, that’s proving true. His store is full of twenty-somethings. Even a mother-daughter duo shopping for used record albums.
“We didn’t grow up with a whole lot but entertainment was when dad was playin’ the old stereo in the living room,” says mom Julie Sanders of Parkville.
And just across the aisle, her twenty-something daughter Ashley, who has fallen in love with the thrill of the hunt for classics.
“It’s exciting, I just really like it. I like the way it sounds. Just very classic, classic feel to it.”
Indeed, the old analogue recordings have their audiophile fans.
“It’s a true analogue recording, presented in a true analogue form,” says Schenk. “When you change that to digital numbers to make it that digital format, you lose a little bit, with the compression or changing of it.”
Amanda Curtis agrees. Vinyl sounds better. And it’s more fun at parties. She’s been collecting records since she was 13.
“I really like what vinyl does in a room full of people,” she says. “When I have people over everybody pulls out records, everybody gets real excited. I don’t really see people crowding around an MP3 player the same way.”
Schenk is betting there is no end in sight to the growth of vinyl.
“Record collections are like book collections. they represent a kind of a mirror into part of your life.”
And as mom and daughter leave with their collections from Zebedee’s, they couldn’t agree more.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says mom. “Brings back a lot of fond memories.”
Mom and daughter promise, they’ll be back for more!