(AFP) – Beauty of the object for some, sound quality for others, in 2022 vinyl sales surpassed CDs in the United States. Guided by his passion in his Greenwich Village, New York, store, Jamal Alnasr relishes this return to grace.
“Who could have imagined that vinyl would come back to life?” smiles this 50-year-old man who, as a teenager, had left the West Bank to settle in New York.
At his shop, Village Revival Records, we can meet 20-year-old Vijay Damerla. The student admits that he mainly listens to music online, but although he doesn’t have a record player, he has started collecting vinyl records.
“It’s the equivalent of an artist poster, or even an album poster on the wall,” he explains, before adding, “except, in fact, it’s kind of a relic of the past.”
For Celine Court, 29 and 250 vinyl, what matters most is the nostalgia for a warmer sound, which we would not find in digital listening.
“It’s so different,” she says. “There’s this feeling of authenticity that comes out.”
– Metallica reverses –
The return of vinyl is no longer a secret. But in 2022, its physical sales (41 million) surpassed those of CDs (33 million), for the first time since 1987, according to data released Thursday by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Superstores like Walmart have adopted this format and stars like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles or Billie Eilish keep the pressing plants running at full speed. This week, the hard rock band Metallica even bought one such manufacturer, Furnace Record Pressing, to meet the demand for their own reissues.
For his part, Jamal Alnasr, has a rotating stock of some 200,000 vinyl records, not counting CDs, cassettes and souvenirs.
“In the 90s, when you talked about vinyl, you weren’t very cool,” he laughs.
“I did this for 30 years,” and now “a new generation, guys, (come) looking for all the music from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s,” he explains.
“They know more than us, who grew up in the 90s or 80s,” he laughs again.
Jamal sells new and used vinyl. Due to the high cost of vinyl manufacturing and distribution, your margin on new items is no more than 5% and you rely on original collectibles to make up the difference.
In Greenwich Village, which has become one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York, and where his monthly rent amounts to $15,000, his business lives permanently on the line.
– ‘Physical experience’ –
“Every time I’m about to go under, I take everything I have personally and put it back into the business,” he laughs. “I think … I love my business more than I love myself,” he adds.
For a “VIP” (the record store has befriended stars like Lana Del Rey, Bella Hadid, and Rosalía), Jamal Alnasr is ready to ship a record.
But he prefers buyers to feel the “physical experience.”
“I want people to come here, to rummage through the vinyls and find out (…) They are going to see much more than the facade, there are many hidden gems here,” explains the enthusiast.
The sale of physical musical supports continues to be a niche. Listening on paid and ad-supported platforms grew 7% to record revenue of $13.3 billion in 2022, or 84% of total revenue, according to the RIAA of the music industry in the United States.
But for Celine Court, a native of the Netherlands, streaming is “too fast, too easy.” “There’s a better energy when you collect your vinyl, when you listen to it and you’re proud of it,” she explains.
Source: L Independant