Record realness: Vinyl records are taking over the music scene… again!

Fresh+Produce+Records+is+closed+to+regular%2C+in-person+business+due+to+COVID-19+precautions%2C+but+they+allow+customers+to+place+orders+by+calling+the+business.

Image: Mary Helene Hall

Fresh Produce Records is closed to regular, in-person business due to COVID-19 precautions, but they allow customers to place orders by calling the business.

Before the reign of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, vinyl records were the primary way to listen to a favorite artist uninterrupted in the comfort of one’s home. Now, both music artists and music lovers alike can utilize these products for nostalgic, artistic and expressive purposes.

Whether you are new to record shopping or an experienced collector, you may wonder about how records achieved such a resounding place in modern pop culture, how to properly shop for vinyls and even where you can find local record shops in Macon. Read on for tips, tricks and spots!

Resurgence

Although there is great dispute about when exactly vinyl “died,” it is widely accepted that the listening method slowly became obsolete between the late 1980s and the early 2000s, largely due to the creation of smaller alternatives like compact discs and cassette tapes.

Last year, though, a sudden surge in record sales began to take place in the music industry, and records were reported to have outsold CDs for the first time since the 1980s.

This vintage sound revival can be contributed to various factors, including the fascination Gen Z has with notalgia, vinyl’s unique sound that can’t be replicated through other platforms, the precious quality that vinyls hold as both a creative outlet and an investment and overall experience of owning a vinyl record.

Vinyl shopping etiquette 

Not too long ago, the few ways to purchase a vinyl were checking out a traditional record store to scope out new releases, going to a flea market or striking it rich at a yard sale. Now, thanks to technological advances, one can buy new or used records online.

Typically, a local record store would be one’s best bet due to the store owners’ wealth of knowledge about vinyl care and to avoid the runaround with skyrocketing shipping fees. However, when shopping for used records, one must exercise caution against buying a defective record with scuffs, warps, dull sheen and deficient (or nonexistent) packaging. Nevertheless, building and nurturing a diverse record collection is an utmost necessity for a music aficionado that will be beneficial for years to come.

Local shop shoutout

Record stores are frequently found within the confines of a booming city. Luckily for Macon, there are various forms of record retail.

Old School Music Headquarters, a Black-owned record shop that has been open for over 50 years, has a wide array of titles. The shop, run by former radio host “Laughing” Lafayette Haynes, has sold over 1 million records since its inception and does not plan on stopping anytime soon.

Fresh Produce Records is another option for record shopping, with a wide variety of genres and styles. Within this variety, the store showcases a particular affinity for the folk-rock and rock genres. However, due to pandemic protocols, they are currently only available for website ordering.

With the combined reinvigoration of vinyl records and an overload of retail options, there isn’t a better time to get into expanding your record collection. Whether you’re a seasoned record connoisseur or just getting into the scene, there’s plenty of room to enjoy the essence of owning a piece of history or investing in your favorite artist’s transition to vinyl alongside streaming services.