Vinyl record sales spin industry on its head


Cody Downey

A Mushroom employee shuffles through a section of vinyl records. Mushroom has been selling vinyl records since 1969.

Cody Downey

After falling out of the public sphere for many years, vinyl records have regained their rhythm and are making a comeback.

One store that has felt the resurgence of vinyls is the wMushroom. Selling vinyls since 1969, the Mushroom has been involved in the music sales industry for a long time. Owner Chris Hummel, who has worked in this family business since he was a teengager, believes the comeback of vinyls is due in part to the younger generation’s connection to music.

“It starts to define your opinions and how you feel about things,” Hummel said. “So, I think having a physical item to hold, for some people, becomes important to them.”

One person who subscribes to this notion is freshman Brennan Tien. He said he buys vinyls due to them sounding a lot better and being able to find music not available on streaming websites.

“I’m a jazz studies major so most of the people I listen to are dead,” Tien said. “Newer vinyls of jazz music are harder to find typically.”

According to the Recording Industry Association of America’s 2019 mid-year report, vinyls have made a 12.9% increase in sales with CDs having a steady pace over the past years.

With the decline of CDs, Hummel said that it is not a business he would recommend going into.

“If I didn’t already sell CDs, I wouldn’t maybe have as big a selection of them,” he said. “We’re actually liquidating about half our collection right now to make room for more records.”

According to Hummel, this decline just shows a sign of the times.

“We are a store that is changing our layout and space over to have more vinyl, if possible.”

He also said how ironic the decline of CDs and resurgence of vinyls are.

“Record sales went down in the first place because CDs took over,” he said.

Despite being a fan of vinyls, Tien said that many times streaming services are a more appealing option to the average music consumer.

“A big downside to buying vinyls over streaming is definitely price. You pay a fixed rate of $4.99 or $10.99 and get whatever you want,” Tien said. “With vinyl, you are buying a set few songs. So, you are definitely going to have a limited collection in comparison.”

Despite these issues, Hummel believes that there is a certain quality to vinyls that a streaming service just can’t beat.

“Through a good sound system, a vinyl, in my opinion, is always going to be the best listen, if you are actually looking to listen to music,” he said.