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Sales of vinyl records reaching new heights

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I was disheartened to hear that, for yet another year, the Flower Memorial Library’s book sale donation advertisements bluntly affirm that records are not needed. Like most residents of Watertown, I’ll interpret this misguided sentence as a typo, reinterpreting those wretched words to actually mean bring us your records in hopes of a vinyl deluge come October.

It appears that the Flower Memorial Library is so far behind the times that they missed the memo that said vinyl is back. Recent articles in The New York Times, Forbes and USA Today all confirm that record sales are on the rise (and have been for the past several years).

In 2012 alone, although record sales statistics range from 4.6 million domestic LP sales to upwards of 25 million LP sales, the most conservative estimates still reveal an 18 percent increase in vinyl record sales from 2011.

“These days, every major label and many smaller ones are releasing vinyl, and most major new releases have a vinyl version, leading to a spate of new pressing plants,” says Allan Kozinn in his New York Times article, “Weaned on CDs, They’re Reaching for Vinyl.”

Case in point: After an image surfaced on Facebook depicting band members hauling newly pressed vinyl, Kozinn says it only took 10 minutes for the indie band Front Bottoms to sell $2,000 worth of LPs. With the recent reissuing of old albums by Bob Dylan and the Beatles (i.e., the kinds of records I’ve bought at library sales in the days of yore), the library would be wise to follow the signs of the times and rethink its discriminatory policy against vinyl.

But most of all, I feel sorry for the children growing up in Watertown today who won’t have the kind of vinyl experience I had at library book sales: that mystical smell of musty LPs that envelopes you as you pick up a work of art worthy of framing, and the realization that this piece of visual nirvana has been transformed into sound for anyone with a quartz needle and half an hour. That discovery of music you wouldn’t have found any other way: hearing — for the first time — the harmonizing sounds of The Weavers and Pete Seeger’s solo in “Kisses Sweeter than Wine,” the staccato dance of Flatt and Scruggs on the banjo, or the campy sound of Pete Fountain tickling his licorice stick.

Please, bring back the vinyl.

Patrick Thomas Morgan

Watertown

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