Northwest Iowa music lovers taking part in vinyl resurgence

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Photo by Joseph Hopper

To some, vinyl records are a thing of the past. However, sales of the analog format of music have been picking up consistently throughout the past few years and local record stores have been seeing an increase in appreciation for the music format many thought died with the eight-track tape.

“We’re seeing more and more of an interest in people collecting records. We’re getting all sorts of collectors, like those first-time people that are buying inexpensive stuff, the scratch and dent type stuff, just wanting to be able to spin records, but they’re collecting titles that they like. Then we also have the high-end collectors that are more fussy and want the premium stuff,” said Spencer businessman Mark Carey.

Visitors can find his records on their upper level of Carey’s Electronics. Lakes Area residents have an option as well.

“At Red Truck Records, I have a lot of people come from all over, like the Fort Dodge area, southern Minnesota, Sioux City,” said Paul Wick, owner of Red Truck Records in Arnolds Park. “What I find interesting is that there's so many different reasons people are there (buying records). Some want to recreate the feelings they had and the young people want that tactile experience of holding a record.”

Both Carey and Wick note that classic rock and music from the 1960s to the 1980s are generally the most popular.

“The ’60s and ’70s rock always sells. The Beatles, The Who, Clapton, David Bowie, Cream, Bob Dylan — those are our best sellers, ... that era of music is the popular stuff,” Carey said. “On the other hand, we have a few collectors that are classical fans … we have jazz customers, and some people come in and just like certain artists. Certain artists speak to certain people and they don’t to someone else.”

Wick has welcomed customers who were looking for Barry Manilow: “I’ve learned to not underestimate an artist,” he says.

Both Wick and Carey also agreed that the process of looking for new and interesting albums was something that everyone enjoys.

“It’s just fun to listen to people talk about their memories,” Wick said.

Carey sees different motives among the generations of music lovers collect records. The common thread is a love for the format — it brings people of all ages into the record-collecting subculture.

“The guys my age that never quit spinning records are more of the fussy ones, the millennial probably doesn’t have as nice a system,” Carey said. “They’re playing it on record players and stuff, so the quality probably isn’t as important to them. They just like to spin them for the nostalgic attitude. We’re nonjudgmental about it because we get it. We understand why they’re attracted, we’re all attracted to it.”

Wick said he understands the increase in appreciation for the music format as well.

“I have felt the love for records. It’s just nice to see an appreciation for it, it’s fun,” he said.

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