Vinyl turning the tables on CDs, MP3s

The 20th-century – parent era to the vinyl record. A place in time where a record collection helped you build your inner identity and determined to your peers whether you were “hip” or “square.” Twelve by twelve album art, crackle and pops in the warm, expansive sound, and a genuine sense of appreciation gained from a record’s purchase, playing and ownership.

In the late 20th-century, along came the commercial birth of the compact disc, which took vinyl’s throne to rule for a short time. But the CD’s kingship relatively short-lived: consumers soon had no time for boom boxes and CD books, especially when their entire music collection can fit in your pocket. In 2001, twenty years after the launch of the CD, the iPod became king.

Enter the 21st-century: the music world is divided by two digital media sources— free and purchased music. Now music collections either represent our waste of money or the amount one can steal in a matter of minutes.

In today’s music war between free and paid downloaded music, could vinyl make a comeback? Only comprising up 1% of the music market, vinyl sales have increased from 1.8 million sales in 2008 to 2.5 million in 2009. A 33% increase according to Nielsen SoundScan, which still seems insignificant, though it is the most vinyl records have sold since 1991.

With the record’s future brightening a little, whether it be as a niche market or a growing trend, two vinyl record stores have opened in Brantford in the last month, both residing on King George St.

The BackRoom and The Mixdown are both currently trying to press their luck in the vinyl market.

“What we are offering to our customers is a space in Brantford where you can purchase independent music,” says David George, co-founder of The BackRoom.

“The motivation for opening such a store is there is a need— a void in Brantford,” says Chris George, also a co-founder of The BackRoom. “To bring in students on Saturdays, we are going to offer a 10 percent discount to all students on everything.”

“CDs are obsolete,” says Chris, when asked why a vinyl record store is a viable business. “I honestly think the CD ruined the music industry. It is just such a plastic thing.”

“I think vinyl is coming back for a reason. Listeners are going back for a reason.”

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