48ºF

Jacksonville stores benefit from vinyl's comeback

Records growing in popularity among teens, millennials, hipsters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Vinyl's getting a new spin and it's benefiting some Jacksonville businesses.

Records are becoming popular again, bridging the gap between young and old as the new customers for this old-school way of listening to music are primarily teenagers.

William Brueck runs Yesterday and Today Records in a make-shift shop located at the Beach Boulevard Flea Market -- at least for now. 

His father used to run the record store, then located on Baymeadows Road. While his dad closed down, later, Brueck saw an opportunity to start it up again. He said vinyl started making a comeback around 2007 and 2008, and that’s when he started watching the annual sales.  

“It was like 11 million sales, 20 million sales, 40 million. Every year it went up over 100 percent,” he said.

Brueck's record store at the flea market has become so popular, he's doing it as a full-time job and is moving into a stand-alone store in San Marco. 

"It’s gotten to point now we need something much, much bigger,” Brueck said.

And much of his sales are to young people.   

“Teenagers and 20-somethings that like vintage stuff, like something different. They don’t want mainstream stuff.  Vinyl’s still not quite mainstream,” he said.

Spencer Varner, a student at Ridgeview High School, is one of Brueck's younger customers.

“I don’t know if it’s the vintage part of it, I like looking back on it, having records. Just the style of it is really cool,” he explained.

Spencer said he asked his parents for a record player for Christmas and that a lot of his friends are into the same thing.  “It’s just the new generation, I guess,” he added.

His mom, Diane, is enjoying this experience with him and is relating to her son as a result. 

“Yes, wonderful to go back and relive memories,” she said.

Very few record stores have remained consistently open throughout the decades. The only one we could find in Jacksonville was DJ’s Record Shop on McDuff Avenue.

"It's something I love. I've enjoyed it since 1968," said owner Jerry West.

He said his business has picked up, too.

"We get a lot of new customers. Some of them never seen us before," he said. "They didn’t even know we were here."

West said a lot of people are buying up albums by artists who have recently died, like Al Jarreau and Prince. 

“For the last couple of weeks Al Jarreau has been in demand. Prince and we have quite a bit of artists that have passed lately.  When they pass, they’re in big demand,” said West.

He said he saw an older clientele for years, but he's also seeing a shift back to customers the same age he was when it all began.

"Been doing it ever since I was 19 years old, but now I'm an old man doing it. But, I've enjoyed it," said West.

One big reason vinyl is popular again is because of copyright. In the digital music world, there is a lot of illegal copying and downloading, but vinyl records are very expensive to copy.

Cassette tapes are rising in popularity as well, as cassettes are also harder to duplicate. Last year, cassette sales rose about 74 percent.


About the Authors: