Juniors Chloe Kerwin and Oscar Motsinger often find themselves at It’s a Beautiful Day in Westport, among band merchandise, tie dye and incense. Just past the wall of dream catchers is one of the store’s hidden gems — a back room chock-full of hundreds of vintage albums with everything from hard rock to folk to country to classical.
Flipping through hundreds of vinyls from every era, the two find their happy place.
Vinyl is fascinating music lovers young and old more than it has for decades. While sales of digital downloads are declining for the first time since the iTunes Store launched in 2003, vinyl sales are skyrocketing. 6 million vinyl albums were sold in 2013 and 7 million in 2014 according to Billboard.
“It’s an atmosphere thing,” Motsinger said. “It’s the finding the record, putting it on the turntable.”
Motsinger and Kerwin share the same fascination for music.
“I like jazz, it’s old fashion-y and it’s fun to listen to on record players,” Kerwin said. “And I listen to alternative. I really like Grimes, Little Dragon, a lot of different ones. But my favorite is probably the Charlie Brown Christmas vinyl.”
Kerwin and Motsinger listen to a variety of music, some they wouldn’t be able to find on iTunes.
“You can find a lot of weird, older music,” Motsinger said. “It’ll be anything from really obscure jazz musicians to some weird funk band that you could only find on a select few records.”
Unlike Spotify and Pandora, vinyl isn’t free of cost. Kerwin explains a whole album usually won’t cost more than a full album on iTunes, and the listeners get the “hands-on” vinyl experience as well.
“Then there’s the 50 cent bin at Beautiful Day,” Motsinger said. “It’s fun getting something and you have no idea what it sounds like, but you can take it home and try it out if it’s that cheap.”
Christian Laveau, who works at Mills Records in Westport, remembers himself half his size, dancing around his bedroom in his Sunday best along to his kiddie Winnie the Pooh record player, chiming his favorites from The Beatle’s “Abbey Road” on repeat.
Today, Laveau works at Mills, selling and trading vinyl records. Technology has improved and music has evolved, but his love for vinyl remains.
From iTunes to Spotify to illegal downloading, digital music is advancing everyday. Maybe the “vinyl revival” is just a fad, a bunch of hipsters trying to be cool and will fade with time, or maybe vinyl will be the next most favored way to listen to music.
“People want something tangible. We’re tired of pressing but tons.” Laveau said. Today, at the click of a button or a tap on your screen, we’re able to change the song in a split second. Vinyl isn’t quite the same.
“If you’ve grown up with it, maybe you won’t mind getting up to turn the vinyl over. But for younger people it might be a nuisance because they are used to music controlled by their fingertips,” Laveau said. “It’s an interactive experience.”
“But it never fails to make me enjoy music more.”