By Ammon Swenson, News Director
In the age of smart phones, instant downloads, and the cloud, you might think that vinyl records have gone the way of the 8-track, but recent music trends have indicated otherwise. Last year vinyl sales rose 52 percent from 2013, while paid album downloads decreased by nine percent. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like vinyl sales are blowing other music sales out of the water — as they only accounted for about six percent of music sold last year, but regardless, people still love records.
Because of this, Steve Haynes and his wife recently opened up Obsession Records, a store in Anchorage focusing on vinyl.
“We’ve been talking about it since 2011—my wife and I— and we just have so many records and…we kind of started looking around for a place and it all just fell together. Part of the motivation of course is so I can get new vinyl— very selfish—and part of the motivation was that I wanted a record store to go to and I thought other people did too,” Haynes said.
Haynes and his wife opened up the store last November and so far, he said that it has exceeded his expectations. The initial inventory was from his personal collection, but they order new vinyl as well and this has brought in all sorts of customers.
“You have a lot of younger people that are starting their collection, you have older people that have gotten rid of a collection and are starting over, you have people that have a collection and are looking for certain things to add to it, so there’s all kinds of people,” Haynes said.
With music being so easy to come by— usually just a click away— I asked Haynes why he thinks that some people still gravitate towards vinyl.
“I have no Idea. I can give you some theories and one is, I think people want to have a physical format that they can hold and the other theory is that it sounds better, but that is really whoever is listening. Some people think CDs sounds better, some people think downloads sound better and so it’s across the board with sound,” Haynes said
Just because he’s got a passion for records, don’t think that Haynes is a sound snob. When he’s at home, he’ll listen to records or CDs and when he’s driving around he’s got mp3s loaded into his stereo. He’s not going to split hairs over the sound quality between the different ways to listen to music, because for him, what’s important is the music.
He doesn’t think he’s going to get rich selling vinyl and that’s not why he does it.
“Yeah, I have a full-time day job. Selling records is a labor of love, it’s not something you’re going to make a million dollars on and retire on. It’s something you do because you enjoy it and that’s why we do it,” Haynes said
He hopes that at some point the store will being doing well enough that he can quit his day job and eventually expand and possibly have a space that bands could play in.
If you live on campus and are looking to pick up some vinyl or even a record player, you’re in luck. Obsession records is located right on Lake Otis and Tudor, not far from UAA.