Though many may think of vinyl as a relic from the past, the medium has been experiencing something of a comeback in recent years.
According to Nielsen Music, record sales are up 1.5 million units from last year. Independent record stores like Toronto’s newly relocated Sonic Boom are taking advantage of the growing interest in the age-old format.
The city is already home to almost 20 stores that showcase an assortment of musical genres: everything from the latest chart-toppers to more obscure indie gems.
For some, record stores provide a sense of community. A place where music fans can go to connect, discover new music, and support the artists they love.
“People want that experience of actually coming in and buying the record, and creating a collection. Just sort of spending more time with music,” said Steve Sladkowski, front end attendant at College Street’s June Records.
June Records is a newcomer to Toronto’s vinyl scene, offering customers a wide variety of new and used LPs.
To Sladkowski, the shift in taste has a lot to do with the physicality of owning and playing records.
“I think part of it is a reaction to digital,” he said. “It feels like less of a throwaway thing. Not that digital files are throwaway, it’s still music, but I think a lot of people are diversifying their collections.”
Sladkowski notes the size and artwork as being particularly important to vinyl culture.
“They’re using vinyl because it’s bigger, and album artwork has become a little more important. Because of that, vinyl is sort of the natural thing to buy.”