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Crackling sound of vinyl sees record resurgence

February 2011

You might be surprised that though sales of CDs and DVDs have been dropping, sales of vinyl records have risen. We are not talking about anything meteoric that could save the industry, but rising a tiny bit. Companies are reissuing old music on vinyl.

There has been a rediscovery of vinyl by 15-to-30 year-olds, and sales to 45-to-65-year-olds are up, too. They are mainly interested in ’70s rock: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young. That interest is spilling over to a wave of ’80s music and even from the ’90s.

Driving this mini resurgence is that–let’s face it–music still sounds better on vinyl 99 per cent of the time. It has more life to it, not a flat electronic sound. Music lovers are realizing that. Music by Lady Gaga or Arcade Fire is coming out on vinyl.

Sales are being driven in a few different ways. The alternative music industry is being very creative by offering, with the purchase of a vinyl record, a certificate to legally download a copy. So you have the great sound on the vinyl and you have an electronic version, so you don’t have to do a conversion to CD and you can listen to it on your MP3 player.

Daniel Hadley, owner of the Death of Vinyl store, said CD manufacturing plants keep closing, since CDs are probably on their way out.

So in the future, if you want a physical copy of the music, you’ll be buying vinyl and an electronic version.

How can the generation that is so plugged into their iPods and computers enjoy the music if they can only listen to it on a turntable?

Remember this? Doo-wop on a turntable hasn’t gone the way of the dodo. It just sounds better on vinyl. Photo: Norbert Schnitzler

They can buy USB turntables, which make it easy to plug into a computer or MP3 player. They can make a copy and to listen to all of it, or just save favourite tracks. However, turntables will not last the way the old ones did, so if you have an old turntable around, you can still do this, but you need a pre-amp to do it.

Death of Vinyl is a gold mine for used records and liquidated vinyl from other dealers, since the owner was a record distributor for 11 years.

Of the 60,000 records stocked here, expect prices to be $1, $2.99 or $4.99. If those aren’t low enough, they have sales at least three times a year, during the back-to-school period, Christmas and in the spring. All kinds of music abounds—world, Francophone, jazz, rock, disco, punk, Broadway, dance, etc. They also buy records. 6307 St. Laurent, 514-495-2786,

On the West Island, Musiquest has been in the business for 15 years, so this choc-a-bloc vinyl record shop has perhaps 85,000 33 1/3 LPs, 100,000 45s and 7,000 78s on offer.

Wander around to find rock and pop, disco, Motown, folk, country, blues, easy listening, children’s music, organ, chorale, classical, gospel and even banjo. There are about 200 audio cassettes, 350 DVDs and 5,000 CDs. 63E Donegani, Pointe Claire, 514-426-0876.

Disques Beatnick Records has a combination of old and new music in vinyl. To tell them apart, the red or pink stickers indicate the used items and green means it's new. Sections for rock, jazz, reggae, soul ’60s, etc. have bins and there are walls of vinyl; don't miss the little back room. 3770 St. Denis, 514-842-0664,

Aux 33 1/3 specializes in new and used (60 per cent of stock) vinyl records: jazz, rock, country, classical music or hip-hop. The 33 rpm in their name refers to the speed of vinyl records—33 revolutions per minute. They have 45,000 LPs and about 10,000 used CDs, and you can listen to the ones you're thinking of buying on the store’s turntables. 1379 Mont Royal, 514-524-7397,


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