GARDNER – When Dave Pierce opened his Straightaway Records store at 118 Parker St. about a year ago, he did so with little fanfare. But his timing couldn’t have been better, as vinyl record albums have seen a resurgence lately.
In fact, according to reports, over 19 million vinyl albums were sold in the first half of 2021, surpassing CD sales in the same period. The trend is expected to continue.
âFor everyone who has come here from the Gardner area and surrounding communities, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive,â said Pierce. “Some people said they hadn’t been able to buy records in this city for several years.”
Pierce, who has an inventory of around 40,000 45 singles and 5,000 LP albums in his store, said one of the reasons for the recent popularity of vinyl records is the fact that music companies have recently started reissuing. new pressings of classic rock and heavy metal. albums long out of print.
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âWhen it all fell in CD territory, a lot of vinyl just wasn’t marketed, so some people are happy to find good quality second-hand records at a low price. In fact, some people just want to buy used records, and others are perfectly happy to be able to buy a new (pressing of a) Led Zeppelin or a new Beatles album or whatever, “Pierce said. said that young music fans, who grew up with no albums to sell, are happy to find some of their favorite classic albums available on vinyl for the first time in their lives.
Pierce said there’s another reason vinyl albums are enjoying a surge in popularity – true audiophiles understand that they just sound better than any other format.
âRecords will sound better than CDs if it’s the right record played on the right turntable with the right needle, and taken care of; which means they’re kept clean and not all scratched, âPierce said. “The sound of CDs is very compressed sound, the records have a little more heat and make them sound better.”
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The recent resurgence, however, is mostly confined to albums in the classic rock and heavy metal genres, Pierce said, adding that there was no danger of vinyl taking over the music market.
“It’ll never be like years ago when everyone bought records, because that’s all there was, but people who want records will always want more records,” he said. he declares. Other popular musical genres in his store include reggae, blues, and modern jazz.
Sheet music, classical concert T-shirts and music-related books are also available from Straightaway Records, Pierce said.
Local vinyl fans find her store primarily through word of mouth, Pierce said. He rents a table at the Rietta flea market in Hubbardston almost every Sunday and hands out business cards to let shoppers know his store is open. Being located between Gardner Ale House and Kenny’s Chinese Restaurant makes the store more visible, he said, especially when customers waiting for a table or take out are browsing his window out of curiosity.
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“Especially obviously in the evenings and especially on Friday night and Saturday night people are parked in front all the time, so that’s when a lot of people will come in here,” he said, adding that it usually closes for the day. around 6 p.m. “Although I might be here later if I’m still working.”