Local music stores ride renewed vinyl interest


SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — When John Selak started with Music Boxx Records in 2004 compact disc and movies were the bread and butter of the business.

Almost 20 years later, he’s the owner and the stock in the store has shifted.

“Around 2009 was the first year we had records,” Selak said. “It’s now two-thirds records compared to CD. If not even slightly more than that.”

Consumers are buying an increasing number of records on vinyl. That has record companies releasing — and re-releasing — more titles on the medium.

“I’ve been noticing a lot more hip-hop albums released on vinyl and a younger demographic embracing the records,” Selak said. “I’m talking about teenagers to young adults. Probably that 13 to 24 group. I’ve also noticed older people who grew up with records are getting back into it, too.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

Events like April’s annual Record Store Day have helped put a spotlight on independent music stores around the state and nation.

“I think if it wasn’t for Record Store Day and the record resurgence in general, we might not exist here today,” Selak said. “I think a lot of other record stores were struggling to exist. A majority of our sales are physical in the store here.”

The Recording Industry Association of America says for the first time in 35 years vinyl outsold compact discs in 2022.

Jacob Lopez of Plymouth was introduced to LPs by a gifted turntable and a Tame Impala record two years ago.

“I love just going back in time,” Lopez said about the allure of records. “With vinyl, I’m able to close my eyes and just go back in time. It’s a time machine without the gimmick.”

He’s a regular at Music Boxx Records.

“Local stuff like this, he always makes sure it’s always good,” Lopez said. “It’s always good product here.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

You can still get CDs at Music Boxx. Selak said he expects vinyl will continue to grow in the coming years.

“Ultimately, there is still a demand for physical media for music. People have this connection with having a CD and having it in their hands. Same thing with a record,” he said. “You have the artwork, you have the lyrics in there. If someone comes over to your house and you’ve got a collection of records, it’s kind of fun to flip through that. If someone has a Spotify playlist, no one cares about your Spotify playlist.”

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