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Parkwood Estate houses Oshawa’s past and future

Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series called the Land Where We Stand (LWWS). Uncovering the hidden stories about the land our...
HomeArtsThe vinyl resurgence

The vinyl resurgence

André Lessard is the owner of downtown Oshawa record store Another Spin Records.

He had a customer come in looking for a very popular album.

“We had an original Fleetwood Mac Rumours on the wall, and it had the actual price on the plastic when it came out in 1977 and it was $4.99,” said Lessard.

This was just one of many signs the vinyl resurgence is going strong.

Nothing sounds quite as good as vinyl spinning on a record player. That was the opinion of many music lovers last century and many today.

Since the introduction of digital music and streaming services, vinyl records were forgotten for a while.

However, according to American distribution company MRC in 2021, while compact discs are dominating the music industry, vinyl records made up for 18 per cent of Canadian album sales for the year.

In the United States, vinyl records have passed CD sales for the first time since 1986 and are on pace to more than double those sales by the end of 2022.

Some of the biggest names of today including Maroon 5, Justin Bieber and The Weeknd are pressing their latest albums on vinyl.

According to Saskatchewan-based record producer and record store owner Mark Poppen, the popularity of physical media is due to people wanting to be in touch with music – literally.

“I think people started to realize that they lost the physical touch,” he said. “You can have streaming platforms, Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music whatever – but you don’t own anything.”

Poppen, whose store is called Funky Moose Records, thinks vinyl sales are high because people want to own their favourite album. He also says people want to hold the artwork in their hands and spin it in a vibrant colour, which is a big part of the rising interest.

Local artists even get their albums pressed, but it isn’t easy due to the bigger artists coming out with LPs and the lack of vinyl record pressing plants.

“There is a lot of pressure. I mean even the big artists like Taylor Swift, Adele they’re all pressing records again and they’re taking priority at record plants, unfortunately for smaller bands,” says Poppen.

Oshawa-based band The Standstills pressed their latest album Shockwave on purple vinyl.

This is being sold on their website, but they also bring their pressings to local stores like Another Spin Records.

Lessard opened the store on Bond Street, 14 months ago.

He said he caught the “vinyl bug” at five years old.

“I remember my mom using her baby bonus to buy my first turntable. So, I still have that turntable at home,” says Lessard.

As for kids collecting today, Lessard sees many come in: a significant force in the vinyl resurgence.

“The Gen X, the younger kids, wanted to feel what their parents had. They missed out on it because MP3s took over,” he said.

He said Napster, Apple’s iPod and CDs took away from the popularity of vinyl in the early 2000s.

Customers come into the store for original pressings of their favourite albums because they want to feel the authenticity in their hands and listen to it how it was meant to be listened, according to Lessard.

“They don’t want the reissues. They want the actual first Canadian copy that ever came out,” says Lessard.

The customer who came for Rumours wanted the original lyrics, label and poster that came with the 1977 release.

Lessard also said some kids come in looking for the artists their parents listen to, while others come in for new releases from artists like Taylor Swift and Lana Del Ray. These two artists’ LPs were a big percentage of the 1.1 million vinyl records sold last year in the country – which was a 21.7 per cent jump from 2020.

Numbers for vinyl sales for 2022 will be revealed within the next few weeks and with many highly anticipated albums coming out next year, the vinyl resurgence seems to be here to stay.