This is an article I wrote for the Daily Utah Chronicle
New technology has the tendency to replace older technology. This is the way the world works. Sticks and stones are replaced by bows and arrows. Bows and arrows are then replaced by guns and heat seeking missiles. However, as technology progresses there are always a select few who hold onto their current technology because they know it is just as good as the new stuff, if not better. Such is the case today, with music. Recently there has been a resurgence of listening to records and Randy’s Records is one record store that has been through the high time of record sales to the low, and back again.
Though Salt Lake is a smaller city and may not have the sheer quantity of music stores that other cities have, it still has some incredible music and record stores. Graywhale music has a plenitude of records, C.D.’s and other entertainment and has six locations in the greater metro area of Salt Lake, one right next to the U on 1300 East. Raunch Records is an incredible store and the place to hit if you like skateboarding and punk music. They’re located on 2100 south and 1100 East and hold local punk shows every now and then.
But Randy’s Records is the foundation of record stores in Salt Lake. We talked with Chris Copelin, a clerk at Randy’s Records, about the store and how she’s seen record sales fluctuate.
How long has Randy’s Records been around?
Randy’s Records has been open since 1978. We are the oldest record store in Utah.
Who started the store?
Randy started the store himself in 1978, and he still works in the shop every day: buying used records from folks, and EVERY DAY he puts out about 100 records that are new to the shop!!
What made Randy want to start the record store?
Randy wanted to open the record store because he loves music. In 1978, he had already been collecting records for about 20 years, so he had a lot of records to sell! At one point, he had over 30,000 45RPM records in his personal collection! Since he had so much knowledge about collecting records and loved music, it made sense for him to open a record store.
How have you seen records change over the last few years?
Record sales have definitely changed over the last few years. Many vinyl stores went out of business completely in the 1990s when CDs began to take over the market – because so few people were buying vinyl and very few artists were releasing their music on vinyl as a format. As for the stores that entirely switched over to CDs in the 90s – most of them went out of business when CDs became a dead medium due to downloading. Randy has managed to stay in business all these years because of his belief that analog records are the superior format. He was in a lot of debt in the 90s, but still stuck with records because he really believed that people would come back to them. This dedication of his has paid off – he was definitely right that people would come back to records!
The shop is busier now than it has ever been. I think that people are into vinyl again for many reasons. I think there are a lot of people who appreciate the huge difference in sound that analog offers – it has a bigger dynamic range, and an overall warmer sound. It is more REAL! But I think there are just as many people getting into vinyl now because they are tired of disposable things like MP3 downloads. When you buy a record, you bring it home, admire the artwork, put the record on the turntable, flip it over for side two, maybe read the lyric sheet. It’s a more engaging experience than scrolling through songs on an Ipod. Also, you can re-sell a record, and you can’t do that with MP3s! And going to a record store is FUN!!! In some ways, it’s like a thrift store – you never know what you are going to find. You can learn about new music from interesting people who may have different tastes and perspectives than you have. It’s a good experience!!
Check out Randy’s Records in person at 157 E 900 S or online at www.randysrecords.com