At the beginning of the digital age, music store owners began to worry. Why would anyone buy the physical version of an album that takes up a tremendous amount of space? Especially when that same music takes up next to nothing on an MP3 player or computer.
Lucky for music store owners, vinyl has had a resurgence over the last decade, as millennials and baby boomers alike have found nostalgia in the grooves. Mark Woehrle, store manager of Cheap Thrills, has seen it first hand.
“Vinyl sales are growing in younger demographics,” Woehrle said. He pointed to the music side of the store — which splits space with Captain Nemo, a comic and gaming store.
“The only thing that’s on this side of the store that is on any kind of an incline (in sales) is records.” — Mark Woehrle, Cheap Thrills manager
Woehrle went on to say that the store doesn’t make money on the most current popular records that labels press — partly due to the fact it’s so expensive for the labels to produce. The way that Woehrle’s store and others make money on records is selling old vinyl. He said that the store has the biggest inventory it has ever had, which helps sales because of variety.
Since box stores such as Best Buy and Target have simplified their music selections to the Top 40, music lovers have to turn to local record stores to get the harder-to-find gems.
“People come in here and complain because they used to go to a box store and they would have a decent collection of CDs and now they don’t,” Woehrle said. “It’s Top 40 or maybe Top 20 in three genres and that’s about it.”
Woehrle says he thinks that music stores will always exist, but will become the hunting grounds of collectors and people looking for “odd ball stuff” — things that have been passed over and forgotten, but still have value.
It’s good to hear that local music stores are still keeping their heads above water in the digital era.