Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

March 21, 2014

Vinyl makes a comeback

TRAVERSE CITY — Vinyl was all but dead — keyword was — before an unlikely turn landed two generations of music geeks rubbing shoulders, flipping through stacks of records.

Wayne Trailer and Jill Murdock have practically nothing in common. Yet Trailer, a middle-aged heating and cooling company owner, landed in RPM Records on Wednesday afternoon leafing through the same racks of vinyl as Murdock, a freshman at Traverse City Central High School.

“You got an old ‘70s hippie here,” Trailer said. “This is my haunt.”

Trailer frequents the store, carting home a handful of new titles with each trip. He always loved the warm, deep sound offered by records. More than two decades of raising children and the advent of CDs sidelined his player and record collection. Then he ran into Greg Walton.

Walton, 52, the store’s owner, opened RPM for business four years ago after trend spotting a vinyl renaissance fueled by baby boomers and millennials together.

The older crowd wants vintage albums or re-released versions of the records they clung to decades ago.The younger crowd wants some of those, but also wants records from current musicians who offer both digital and vinyl versions of their releases. Many new releases hit the market in two formats, forgoing a CD release, Walton said.

Customers like Trailer dig through stacks of vintage and re-released albums, finding new gems and replacements for aging stalwarts of their collections. Those like Murdock dive into the vinyl world searching for a music experience beyond the sterile world of digital downloads.

“I like the sound of it,” Murdock said. “It’s just more physical.”

Murdock built a collection of 55 albums — many of them from new artists like Deerhunter and Phoenix — after her parents gave her a vintage turntable a few years ago.

Murdock says she often still listens to music on streaming websites like, but when she really wants to hear the tune, she pulls out her record player. The deeply-grooved vinyl provides a full range of tones where digital recordings loose some of the details.

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