By Kev Kurdoghlian
Signal Staff Writer
Records are back!
The format has gained in popularity over the past decade — a trend made visible by a 4% increase in turntable sales in 2020, and a 30% increase in record sales, according to Statista, a provider of market and consumer data.
Anthony Beeby, co-owner of Boho Records and Rags, said he’s seen the trend materialize before his eyes at his Newhall records store.
Beeby said the two main drivers of a vinyl resurgence have been nostalgia and a new interest from a younger generation.
He recalled a recent occurrence where a father, in his 50s, and his daughter, a young teenager, visited his store.
“The next thing I know, he disappears and she comes back with a stack of records,” he told The Sunday Signal. “The And she’d telling her dad what Beatles record it was, what year it was made and this was the precursor to this. And she knows this.”
Beeby said he’s seen many young people like the girl from his story visit his store, which he opened with his brother Steven in 2018.
“I see kids being a bright future, to be honest with you,” he said, noting the rising generation is more “broad-minded and accepting,” especially of musical genres. “I get these kids dressed in complete heavy metal clothing who you think he goes straight for Ozzy Osborne. He’ll go to the jazz section.”
Nostalgia keeps the records spinning, too. Beeby said he has new customers who have acquired turntables come into the store every weekend.
When he asks customers, he said, they tell him that it reminds them of when they were a kid and life was simpler.
“It starts out as the ones you had when you were a kid, and then all of a sudden it gets to those…that you could never find or couldn’t afford at the time,” he said of the trajectory of the 50-year-old with expendable income. “So then that bug becomes a collector’s bug.”
Greg Pinker has had the collector’s bug since he was a kid. In 2016, he opened Voodoo Vinyl, which his parents operate in Lancaster. In 2018, he opened a second location on Main Street in Newhall, where his son, Dante, runs the business.
“The record collecting community has grown and has been growing for several years now,” he said, noting the people collect records for different reasons. “For me, I’d rather have more various records.”
Pinker has seen an increase in the amount of young people passing through his stores, too.
“Part of it is the sound,” he said of his thinking about resurgence of records. “Analog sounds better.”
Another part, Pinker said, has to do with the ease of just pressing a button on a smartphone to stream music.
“(People) rarely, if ever, listen to an entire album from beginning to end, where with a record, you have no choice,” he said. “Depending on who the artist is, (they’re) going to tell a story, and I know this might sound hokey, but…if you just chunk it up to a song here and song there, you’re missing the entire thing.”
Pinker also pointed to the physical feel of a record and the experience of taking care of a collection of records.
“There something about putting a needle down on a record and just sitting back and letting it play,” he said. “It’s actually building out the collection and like holding physical things and appreciating it and taking care of it.”
Pinker’s son Dante, 23, quickly caught the collector’s bug from his dad. Pinker said his son has never collected anything but records.
Dante Pinker said he like the feeling of actually owning the music on the record.
“If it’s a newer artist you also get the feeling of directly supporting people,” he said. “People don’t really get anything from digital except exposure.”
Exposure, Dante said, is great, but it doesn’t offer the same support as buying a new artist’s record.
“With independent artists, when you buy (their record), that really helps,” he said. “And there are some things you can only get on vinyl.”
In the store, records fill bins at every corner. Shelves of books, stacks of cassettes and DVDs, baskets of buttons and pins, and rows of magazines separate the hundreds of records categorized by their genre then alphabetically organized throughout the store.
“People come looking for specific things all the time,” Dante said, noting that often collectors will have searched other stores around the county.
For the person thinking about collecting, Dante’s advice was to just start.
“If it’s something interesting (to you), there’s really nothing keeping you back besides owning a record player,” he said, noting record prices can range from $2 into the hundreds.
Back at Boho, Beeby said the COVID-19 pandemic also played its part in the resurgence of records.
“During COVID, I think people were stuck indoors and records gave them something different to do,” he said.
And the cheap records, he said, form the “building blocks” for a new generation of record collectors and listeners. Today’s younger generation reminds him of himself when he was a kid.
“I used to prefer the record store to the candy store,” he recalled. “My eyes would be wide open looking at everything.”
Voodoo Vinyl’s Santa Clarita location is in Old Town Newhall at 24269 Main Street. They’re online at voodoovinylrecords.com and can be reached over the phone at 661-383-9292. Boho Records and Rags is located at 24827 Railroad Avenue. Find them online at bohorecordsandrags.com or reach them over the phone at 661-388-4066.