Criminal Records in Little Five Points (466 Moreland Ave.) had a record year in vinyl sales in 2007 by remaining loyal to the local music scene. It proves independent record stores can still enjoy the potential for growth, even in the age of illegal downloading and the MP3.
In December 2007, Criminal Records sold nearly $15,000 worth of new vinyl. With total sales well over $100,00 for the entire year, the retailer reports a 43 percent increase in vinyl record sales over 2006.
Many local bands in Atlanta tend to release their albums on 7-inch vinyl records with hand-crafted covers, sometimes made with stencils and cut-outs. More than just music, vinyl records are priceless collector's items because bands take the time to create the artwork themselves. Audiophiles prefer vinyl's vintage sound as opposed to the digitally compressed sound of a CD.
"Whereas the younger generation is still utilizing digital download as their main source of purchasing [or obtaining] music, the average age of those purchasing vinyl at Criminal Records is probably early to mid-20s," states Criminal Records' Mel Pinson. "The cool kids have discovered the vinyl experience that their parents loved for so long. And though our increase in sales of vinyl hasn't offset the downward trend in CD sales, I feel that both mediums will be around for a while and vinyl sales will just continue to grow."
Criminal Records regularly includes tickets to local shows inside 7-inch releases, which gives their customers the chance to actually go and see their favorite bands perform.
The ticket giveaway promotion helped sales while helping to keep the local music scene alive. With Criminal Records' dedication to local music, its increased vinyl record sales prove that independent retailers can remain viable in the face of big-box retailers (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target) and the struggling music industry.
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