In his San Fernando Valley home, 70-year-old Ranjit Sitlani has a small but packed shelf of old vinyl records dating back to the 1950s. The melancholic melodies of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald fill his study, creating a mood of languid lounges and swirling scotch despite the blaring sounds of a bail bonds advertisement playing on the television downstairs.
“Before I left India to come to the U.S., my dad went to Europe and he had brought an LP that we didn’t get in India in the early ‘50s, and I was the only person in my group who had that kind of record,” he said. “So my friends and I used to listen to it over and over and over again. They are still a nostalgic link back to my college days.”
However, vinyl records are no longer a thing of that past. The Nielsen Company has recorded a 37 percent increase in vinyl record sales in 2011.
According to vinyl retailers, the sales aren’t being pushed by Sitlani’s generation of record consumers. A much younger crop of music lovers have recently taken interest in the old medium.
“It’s definitely a younger crowd looking for younger music,” said Javier Johnston-Marquez of Amoeba Music in Hollywood. “We sell a lot of record players, and the ones that sell the best are the small portable ones that are ideal for dorm rooms and such. It is clunky and it does take up space, but I think that’s good. It makes you respect it more.”
Still, the novelty and physicality of the vinyl record has held the interest of consumers who want to be able to hold their music in their hands.
“When you start to fall in love with music that way, having on iPod or computer is not enough,” said Johnston-Marquez. “You want something more tactile. You want something you can smell and touch.”
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