Carrboro joins the nation’s vinyl revival

 

Carrboro is engaging in the vinyl revival sweeping the nation by embracing music and, more importantly, the community.

Jay Reeves opened Vinyl Perk in the hopes that it would be an essential community hub for people who like coffee, the coffee experience, vinyl records, and sharing in a community.
Jay Reeves opened Vinyl Perk in the hopes that it would be an essential community hub for people who like coffee, the coffee experience, vinyl records, and sharing in a community. (Staff photo by Niland Daly)

Jay Reeves, owner of Vinyl Perk, opened his store in October 2013 and said that vinyl is making a comeback. He said, “There is definitely a vinyl revival happening. We live in a world that is rushed, hurried and transient. The vinyl record experience is slow, intentional and permanent. It is real.”

Carrboro’s two record stores, All Day Records, 112 E. Main Street, and Vinyl Perk, 709 W. Rosemary Street, both are expanding the love for vinyl records. As the town of Carrboro grows, vinyl record sales are also growing. Nationwide record sales have increased from 990,000 in 2007 to 4,551,000 in 2012.

All Day Records plays and mixes requested music on the turntable inside the store while you browse the selection."
All Day Records plays and mixes requested music on the turntable inside the store while you browse the selection. (Staff photo by Niland Daly)

Ethan Clauset, owner of All Day Records, and his business partner had already accumulated thousands of records by themselves before opening the store. They were avid record store visitors and discovered what worked for them and what didn’t work. Clauset said, “We opened a shop that would cater to the needs of people like us, as record buyers and DJs.”

According to Clauset, All Day Records’ goal is “To sell good music to people in Carrboro and around the world.” They manage distribution for a few record labels and sell records to other shops in the United States and Canada.

Reeves said that the ages of people interested in record stores range from young kids being introduced to vinyl to grandparents who grew up with it. One thing remains though: the common customers are people who love old school vinyl.

Reeves said, “You can hold it in your hand. The cover is art. There is a pleasing ritual of taking the record from the sleeve and putting it on the turntable.”

According to Reeves, there are many reasons for the vinyl revival. He said that the analog format has a higher sound quality than digital and many albums, especially those made originally for the vinyl format, are meant to be listened to front to back. He continues, “Digital music is consumed anonymously. At a record store, you can get a recommendation from knowledgeable staff or people in the community.” Finally, he feels that holding a 50-year-old record is part of history, and that is a new experience for the younger generation.

All Day Records has a popular mail-order business and they sell contemporary records as well. Clauset said, “I was surprised by the demand for new house and techno records; that’s ended up being a huge part of our business.  In the store we sell mostly used records, but mail-order and distribution are mostly new house and techno.” Musicians and DJs are a large part of the All Day Records customer base.

Growing interest in records, especially from the younger generation, has pleasantly surprised Reeves.

Reeves said, “We don’t even call them customers, we call them guests and we want to treat them as guests. Instead of just selling coffee or a record, we want to give them an experience that is meaningful and different. “ Vinyl Perk will play requested music over the speakers for people to enjoy as the study, work, drink coffee, or simply listen.

Reeves said that Vinyl Perk’s goal is “To become an essential community hub for people who like coffee, the coffee experience, vinyl records, and sharing music in a community with others.”

For Carrboro, a town that has the famous Cat’s Cradle and annual Carrboro Music Festival, this rise in vinyl record sales and stores is the next step for music lovers such as Clauset and Reeves.

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Author of the article

Niland is a UNC-CH senior advertising major from Winston-Salem serving as social media editor of the Carrboro Commons.