Friday, April 18, 2014

LPs On The Comeback?

That's Long Playing, for younger folks who might never have seen or heard of one. That's what we used for music back before tapes and then CDs. As I recall there were three different speeds of vinyl records back then: 33 1/3, 45, the 78. I'm pretty sure just the 33 1/3 one was considered an LP. The 45s just played one song on each side. I'm not sure I ever had a 78.

The Times- Standard reports music store owners claim sales of old vinyl records are starting to climb. The San Jose Mercury News says the same. Can you even buy an old record player anymore? I actually have an old turntable, cassette player/recorder and radio out in the garage I still use today, but I haven't tried records on it in decades. I can't remember the last time I saw an actual record player for sale in a store.

As far as any supposed comeback goes, I don't get it. Records could be problematic to keep and use. Leave them in the heat too long and they warp. Get a scratch on them and they don't play well, or at all. Once you got a scratch, there wasn't much you could do about it. 

I'll miss one thing about vinyl records, though, at least with the LPs: The covers. The covers had their own unique photography and art on them, often with all sorts of information about the band and the music. Those are a treat to see even today.


At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Julie Timmons said...

I have a turntable that I use occasionally. My prize record is from 1955: Nat "King" Cole at the Sands. It's very rat-packy. Vinyl just sounds more "live".

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

The main thing I remember about vinyl records was getting a scratch on them- sometimes you couldn't even see it- and the needle getting stuck on it and playing the same thing over and over again. Then you had to push down lightly on the needle arm to try and get it to skip over the scratch.

The neat thing about the stereo I have in the garage is you can transfer pretty much anything to cassette with it. It has two cassette slots, an 8 track, radio and record turntable. Stick a cassette in the "Record" slot and you could record any of them to a cassette. I switched all my 8 tracks and LPs over to cassette with it years ago.

At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A jump of 32% when you're scraping the bottom of the barrel isn't actually impressive.

2013 LP: 6 million sold

2013 Downloads: 113 million (whole album)

2013 CD: 125 million

2013: Downloads 1.26 billion (individual a la carte song purchases)

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Good point. Having not been to a "record" store in probably decades, I'm curious how many actually even carry vinyl records nowadays?

Does anyone know if you can still get needles for the turntables anymore? Seems to me they had to be replaced fairly regularly.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

I asked too soon about the needles. A quick Google search got all kinds of hits from places selling them.

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vinyl records are preserved best when stored vertical, not flat. Before playing an "old" record hold it under warm water in the kitchen sink and then air dry it.

New turntables can be found at higher quality stereo stores, but I found a good one at the second hand store on Broadway near Wabash.

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, 99% of CD music stores do not carry vinyl. The medium is the domain of vinyl stores that typically only sell vinyl records.

You can find huge heaps of vinyl records next to huge heaps of VHS tapes at thrift stores. I expect a good chunk of people buying vinyl are buying as collectors, for the perceived resale value.

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Nobody say anything about his, but Connie had 8 or 10 records that had been sitting in our living room for who knows how long. I believe I put them in the trash. Hurts to admit that.


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