Lansing record store has increased sales amidst nationwide trend – Spartan Newsroom – Spartan Newsroom

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Zachary Urbin
Customer Justin Allen browses through the new arrival bin at The Record Lounge in REO Town. Vinyl record sales in the United States are up 108.2% from a year ago, according to the Media Rating Council.
Vinyl record sales are up in 2021 — and one Lansing record shop has been feeling the impact.
In its 2021 half-year report, the Media Rating Council said vinyl record sales in the United States are up 108.2% from the half-year total in 2020. The Media Rating Council is a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing media analysis and data. In 2021, 19.2 million vinyl units were sold at the half-year mark, while at the same point in 2020, 9.2 million units were sold.
Heather Frarey, who owns The Record Lounge in REO Town, said the overall trend in vinyl record sales is noticeable in her store.
“We’re up, big time,” said Frary, who originally opened her story in East Lansing before moving to the REO Town Marketplace, 1027 S Washington Ave., in 2017. “I came back in June of last year after COVID because we were closed for four months. After that, that’s when things blew up a bit. But compared to this time last year, I think I’m way busier. Fridays and Saturdays are hopping pretty good in here. We are busy all day.”
The shop is promoted as the only all-vinyl, female-owned record shop in Michigan.
Justin Allen of Salt Lake City bought multiple records while in The Record Lounge for a recent visit. Allen was staying with a friend in Lansing and decided to check out the shop.
“Overall, it makes me happy if people are getting more into vinyl, and especially if record stores are being more successful,” he said. “It can be a hit-or-miss business, so hopefully they are seeing some good success.”
Allen said many people got into vinyl collecting during quarantine.
“Hopefully having a little more time to really sit back and focus on the action of listening to an album all the way through may have encouraged people to get a little more invested into vinyl,” he said. “I think people who are music fans like to be surrounded by music. People who like books probably like to be surrounded by books. If you’re into music and you’re spending a lot of time at home, it makes sense that you want a collection of physical music.”
The Media Rating Council 2021 half-year report also said vinyl records are outselling CDs for the first time since 1991. In the first half of 2021, 18.9 million CD units were sold.
Allen said he thinks this trend is a product of vinyl’s unique physical nature.
“The novelty and technology of a vinyl record has just a little bit more of a cool factor than the CD,” he said. “You can definitely do more with the liner notes and the artistic, visual part of the vinyl, the cover.”
Isaiah Johns of East Lansing was also shopping for vinyl records at The Record Lounge. He said the boost in vinyl sales is also because of sentimentality.
“I feel like that can be tied in with nostalgia,” he said. “In culture, there is always a constant want or yearning for re-creating the past. You always see it in movies. I can see that seeping into other mediums, like music and ways we receive music.”
Despite the surging business, Frarey said one problem resulting from the demand for vinyl is the amount of vinyl inventory.
“The bad downfall is that nobody is bringing in records to sell anymore, so it’s kind of a drag in that sense,” she said.
Frarey said many vinyl pressing plants are behind on production of new records, and the store is not receiving releases immediately.
Even with this problem, Frarey said she is encouraged not just with sales, but also with what how younger generations are connecting with vinyl.
“Vinyl itself is selling great, but then there are all these other bands that I would have never thought people your age would buy, so it’s very cool,” she said.
Zachary Urbin is a journalism major at Michigan State University. He is from Macomb, Michigan, and came to Michigan State in 2019. His journalistic interest is in sports, and he is minoring in sports journalism.
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