|“See this needle, a see my hand,
Drop, drop, dropping it down, oh so gently,
Well here it comes, I touch the plane,
Turn me up, won’t turn you away,
Spin, spin, spin the black circle.”
The words from the Eddie Vedder penned, “Spin the Black Circle” from Vitalogy not only gave the group Grammy cred in the early-1990s, but it also exemplified the singer’s affinity for vinyl records.
Such an affinity has been strengthened among music enthusiasts over the last 10 years, but the last few years have showed gains among the vinyl category – all the while proving that what was once old can always be cool again.
Although vinyl records only account for a small percentage of album sales, the format has been a popular one of late because of several different reasons.
“Vinyl offers such a dynamic range. There’s more stereo and left and right effect,” said Toney Rounsaville, store manager of Audiomasters.
Rounsaville, an avid vinyl buff, knows a thing or two about the business as he has logged more than 40 years as a collector with more than 3,000 albums.
“For young people, it offers a new experience. They were brought up with iPods, mp3 formats and compressed audio,” he said.
Other than sound quality and its warm experience, vinyl also adds a tasteful experience visually with the oversized cover art and liner notes.
“It was a big deal as a kid. I would love sitting on the bed and reading the album covers,” Rounsaville added.
According to Billboard, vinyl sales grew about 41.2 percent at the midpoint of 2011 compared to the same point of the previous year and totaled 1.88 million units.
On the local level, Rounsaville’s turntable sales have mirrored the overall industry numbers at Audiomasters.
“There has been an increase in turntable sales over the last three to five years, but I have sold more this season than before,” Rounsaville said.
With new technology, the modern turntable offers more accessories and new products compared to the days of old. For around $250, consumers can get a turntable that will sound well with many features. Under that number, quality tends to decrease and they become more of a novelty item, Rounsaville indicated.
Other factors helping contribute to the cause of vinyl include events like Record Store Day, which aids in the awareness of buying physical products and supporting local music stores.
On the same note, success can also be contributed to the simple fact that artists produce their work on vinyl. With compact discs and digital formats available, only a minimum amount of vinyl units are typically created.
In Nashville, Jack White’s Third Man Records offers several of their releases on vinyl along with the highly coveted live recordings.
United Record Pressing also has a rich history in the record-making process and offers options for artists of all calibers to create their albums on vinyl and offers tours of the facility.
In Murfreesboro, Digital Planet offers the largest breadth and depth of new and used vinyl, while Hastings also has new releases as well.
The vinyl format appears to have all parts working together, so it is significant for one of the most vital elements, the consumer, to keep the trend rolling smoothly in 2012.