Record resurgence: Vinyl record collecting, its comeback and its appeal to UB students
We live in a digital world where consumers watch movies instantaneously with Netflix, readers fight paper cuts with E-books and listeners discover new tracks just by exploring Spotify.
The vinyl record has reemerged during this time of streaming and easily accessible media into the lives and dorm rooms of college students. Students are now purchasing and collecting these large musical discs our grandparents once enjoyed.
Robert Straub, a freshman computer science major, has been collecting vinyl for eight months.
“I saw my friends collecting them,” Straub said. “They would always say how good [music] sounds on vinyl so I bought my own record player and I started buying vinyl with it. Now I just love it.”
Even UB’s bookstore has introduced this format to customers.
Straub enjoys the listening aspect of vinyl, but sees an even greater joy in the collecting hobby.
“I always hang up the art on my wall after I take the vinyl out,” Straub said. “I like to decorate my walls with it. Generally, I’m not going to whip out my record player and play them, but I can always just have them on my wall to admire.”
Gerald Brouard, a sophomore undecided major, explained what he enjoys the most about records.
“I like that it’s a physical disc that a needle plays on,” Brouard said. “It’s nice to see the needle move on the record and the notes coming from the actual disc, rather than a laser running on a CD.”
Brouard purchased most of his collection from Record Theatre, which is near where he lives on South Campus.
Record Theatre, located across the street from Goodyear Hall, offers a wide variety of new and used vinyl records. The shop, which has been in town since 1976, sells new and used vinyl, CDs and DVDs, along with various other products.
Angie Conte is a sales associate at Record Theatre and handles vinyl records for the majority of her work day.
Conte noted that the shop has seen an increase in customers recently, many of which are UB students.
“[Record collecting] took a dip in the ‘90s but it started coming back in recent years. I think people really like holding a record in their hands instead of getting it off the Internet,” Conte said.
In a musical climate where CDs are disappearing from department stores and FYE has become a pop culture hotspot, music shops like Record Theatre are thriving on giving customers the full record shopping experience.
Conte believes that the reason younger people are getting involved in the hobby is due to new releases on the format.
“Everyone’s talking about how it’s coming back. Records are being produced more. [Younger people’s] favorite bands, like newer bands, are putting their albums out on actual records now. It’s exciting,” Conte said.
The full shopping experience means putting away your computer, leaving the house and flipping through thousands of 12-inch discs.
Tahasin Zaman, freshman accounting major, is a two-year veteran vinyl collector.
“A lot of people say vinyl is the best way to listen to music. Honestly, I mostly listen to digital. Collecting is more like a hobby of mine,” Zaman said. “If I was really into it, I’d buy one of those thousand-dollar record players and get the perfect audio quality that a lot of people are going after.”
Zaman appreciates the format for its artistic value, though many students purchase vinyl to listen to the music.
“The main reason I collect is because of the novelty of it,” Zaman said. “Just having one of your favorite albums with the actual cover art, you can kind of admire it and all the effort that was put into it.”
Benjamin Coleman, a freshman electrical engineering major, doesn’t normally thumb through record shops. He primarily uses Amazon to seek out titles.
“I always buy vinyl because it helps support the artists,” Coleman said. “The same could be done with buying music online, but I don’t buy music online. I usually just stream it, so it’s nice to directly support the artist.”
He doesn’t mind the imperfections that the format offers. Some would argue that it adds to the fun of using vinyl.
“I know for a fact that the quality of vinyl is lower than digital and that the audio quality degrades very slightly every time you play the record, but I enjoy the feel of listening to vinyl,” Coleman said. “I like all the pops and crackles that come with it.”
Brenton Blanchet is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org