Monday, April 27, 2009

Vinyl Stages a Comeback

(Photo by Origami Vinyl)

People are once again making a big deal about the return of vinyl, but it doesn't seem like that long ago since the last vinyl revival, in the mid-1990s. But I guess that was 15 years ago, so it's about time that the vinyl trend once again hit the big time.

Indeed, according to the L.A. Times, sales of vinyl records were up 89% in 2008 -- pretty impressive even before you factor in the declining world of music sales.

Now, a handful of vinyl-centric music stores have popped up around town, leading with Origami Music in Echo Park.

The L.A. Times weighs in on the trend:
Neil Schield knows the grim state of the music business as well as anyone; last May, he was laid off from a company at the vanguard of digital music distribution.

But this month, Schield began an unlikely second act: He opened a brick-and-mortar record store in Echo Park, with racks of tasteful inventory carrying price tags as high as $100 -- all presumed liabilities in an age when "digital" and "free" seem to rule the day. For added chutzpah, Schield's shop, Origami Vinyl, exclusively stocks new vinyl LPs, presumed not long ago to be as dead as eight-track tapes.

Moreover, Origami is just one of at least three such shops opening in L.A. this spring; the others are Vacation in Los Feliz and Little Radio, a downtown storefront operated by an Internet radio station and concert promoter. The small boom is the result of a commercial rediscovery and appreciation of vinyl records among collectors and more casual audiences.

"Sometimes I wonder, 'What am I doing?' " Schield said. But "it's the only corner of the physical music business that's growing."

Those of you waiting for an 8-Track or cassette revival, well, keep on waiting.

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