Teens unearth the appeal of vinyl records


Records are spinning once again.

ETHS students are discovering a love for the sound of vinyl records.

“It`s cool to have this thing you can stare at, something physical with lyrics and a poster you can pull out,” says Tim Peterson, proprietor of Squeezebox, a local Evanston record and book store. “There`s two age groups who come in, younger people and the older people who have cycled through everything; it`s fun to go back and dig up old favorites.”

Recent trends in recorded music show that teens have started to purchase the more expensive and less convenient vinyl records. Records use an analog means of recording and playback, as opposed to the more common digitally compressed format of compact disc or MP3. Some say that the unique sound is what drives teens to buy vinyl.

“The needle is like a wave making the sound, it`s a vibration,” says Sam Brewer, senior. “Vinyl is a different sound and more bands are pressing their own.”

While vinyl has always been common in underground groups, popular artists have also found success on the turntable.

“We sell a lot of new stuff,” says Peterson. Nielson Data shows vinyl record sales to be 40% higher compared to the same time last year. With an increased number of people buying records, some observers are saying that kids are following the “hipster” trend and buying records to act cool.

“It`s a 50/50 split,” says Noah Roth, sophomore. “Some people do it just to be alternative and some people do genuinely appreciate the quality of sound.”

Others argue that records are too pricey to attract hipsters. “99 percent of kids have a genuine interest,” says Peterson. “Records are expensive and you have to be dedicated.” Despite the more expensive prices and physically bigger size, kids still seem to be attracted to records.

“I like the artwork and sleeve. It is informative of the artist`s message,” says Patrick Baranovskis, junior. “I started listening because of my parents large record selection; it`s more traditional.”

“My earliest memories were listening to vinyl with my dad,” says Roth. “Vinyl is more high maintenance; you have make sure you don’t damage it, you have to flip it over; records are more personal and involved.”

“People by nature like collecting things, it represents them and it communicates interests with others. You can share it,” adds Peterson. “Holding, flipping over, and hunting for a record makes it fun.”

What was thought to have died 20 years ago has returned guns-a-blazing. With vinyl`s revival comes promising outlets for bands and music fans.

“Saying it is dead was a misconception,” comments Roth. “This comeback shows people will do weird things to keep a counterculture going.”