A Day In the Life Of Vinyl

What a day. It actually started yesterday when I exited an airplane and entered the Newark International Airport terminal and spotted a record store!

Yes, there's a record store in Terminal C. It's part of a CBGB "franchise" location with a restaurant, a rock memorabilia store and a record store. What a great way to cap a weekend trip to California to address the L.A. and Orange County Audio Society at its annual "Gala". I'd been invited to speechify about the state of analog 2016. The video will be posted on this website as soon as it arrives.

The record store is small, but well stocked with classic rock and punk. Who ever thought in 2016 one could exit an airplane and buy in the terminal Lou Reed's Transformer? Not I!

So I whipped out my iPhone and interviewed the woman who was then in charge of the record department. You can watch the video below. Not shown is that when I first arrived there the music in the background was The Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" and she's singing along!

Also today it was announced that in the U.K. for the first time revenues from vinyl sales surpassed those of digital downloads! How great is that?

I also got into an email fight with a vinyl hater. Here's part of what he sent me:

"You are demented, deluded, and deaf. Records suck, and always have.
You (are) the stupidest motherfucker I have ever encountered. Go shove a tone-arm up your ass".

Now I'm going to put on a record, turn out the lights and have a good "suck-y" time but you can be sure I will not be sitting on a tonearm.

PeterPani's picture

But he got a quite funny idea, the vinyl hater, I must admit. Thinking about it, what kind of tone-arm might be better - stiff design, high mass, 9 or 12 inch? I will go and search in the audiophile blogs...

Michel Vondenhoff's picture

Somebody selling and singing along with the songs.

The evidence that records are the way to go!

Not scientific but anyways.

AJMHobby's picture

Ignore the haters! They're not worth the effort. Focus on the rest of us that enjoy the hobby and experience of collecting and playing records.

sandyu's picture

I don’t ignore the haters, I revel in them. Whenever someone tells me to jam it up my ass, I just turn the other cheek....

PS -- When I used to march for civil rights back in the 60s, I was called a “nigger lover.” It’s what I want on my headstone.

Montpier's picture

Forget about the record store ... what I really want to know is did they recreate the CBGB's bathroom?

Philipjohnwright's picture
kenkirk's picture

These vinyl haters seem to have it all wrong. It was the labels that talked about perfect sound forever. They talked us out of our vinyl. They convinced so many that the cd was perfect. Many of us lost 20 years of music enjoyment to that bad advice. But we don't fault those or hate those that choose digital over vinyl. All the hell to them. No one ever said vinyl was superior to cd's, just that it sounded better tics and pops and all. So I just think guys like this guy are just bored looking for a fight. And there is no fight there... spin what you want. I stream and roll tape and spin vinyl. And I think we all can get along. But I do enjoy reading your hate mail Micky. Keep it coming! :)

kenkirk's picture

its Mikey not micky... I was in a rush. I know your not a Monkee... sorry boss. :)

sluggobeast's picture

Still think it's cheesy that CBGBs has become an airport store & restaurant, but I'm glad vinyl is available and on the upswing. I used to go to CBGB regularly, and still have the 45 I bought the first time I went in 1976: "Little Johnny Jewel" by Television -- parts 1 & 2 split between the two sides, on the Ork label. Television headlined -- still one of my all-time fave guitar bands -- and a quirky trio called Talking Heads opened.

OldschoolE's picture

Mikey, don't let haters and their ilk bait you anymore. It's a waste of time and takes away enjoyment. It may seem entertaining once in a while, but is it really worth it? There is so much more that is better.
This find alone is more absolute proof that vinyl is back, stronger than ever and has lots of fans! Even in the hey day one could not get off a plane at an airport and run into a record shop right there!
As someone mentioned, look their is enough room for everyone, vinyl, CD, tape, etc. Music is the important thing. There are good sounding records and CDs just as there are bad sounding records and CDs. I would say that vinyl does have the edge for sure though. I mean just for starters one can do small inexpensive things with analog set ups that totally change the sound. Try that with CD...not possible.
There is also just something magical about vinyl records, its the whole tactile connection.
We were all fooled by the record companies into the cold CD trading the dynamics and 3D experience in the name of perceived perfection. What is happening now? The joke is on the record companies because they are also seeing the return of vinyl and now it's too late for them. All the independents are buying up the old presses and restoring them and now we even have new presses being made! Vinyl is ours again! So now those big companies are trying to embrace streaming and kicking themselves.

The point is that people are going to have their opinions and it is their world to live in why let it spoil ours.

Mile High Music's picture

What a hoot! Great to see a record store at any airport...and at Newark of all places?! Yes, I'd feel I was on acid too. Austin is another favorite US airport for music - alas the Waterloo / Austin City Limits music store has yet to add LPs - but there are no less than three separate live music stages past security, near the gates. It's tough when you can listen and eat Salt Lick BBQ too!

fattalien's picture

Thanks for the tip, Michael! I'm at EWR quite a bit, so I'll make sure to look for the record store. They have done an amazing job updating Terminal C.

nelsonkiwi's picture

It wouldn't by any chance have been Ken C. Pohlmann?

Catcher10's picture

I found the same thing 3 weeks ago coming back from Phoenix...There is a Sub-Pop Store selling shirts, books, DVDs and Records. All the music was grunge and alternative, with very obscure independent artists. I did buy Temple Of the Dog for $30 which was a good price. They also had Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and of course Nirvana records.

Anton D's picture

Please don't fret, but you and he likely voted for the same candidate for President.

Mwaa haa haa haa haa.

(That's just joking around. No serious intent or philosophical disparagement intended, implied, or inferred!)

Wimbo's picture

Great to see even the Haters calling Vinyl "Records".

timthenchanter's picture

For a guy who's (allegedly) that deaf & dumb?
Do you play a mean pinball perchance Mr Fremer?
Probably wouldn't matter, I betcha that vinyl hating doofus
prefers video games to the tactile feel of bumpers, bells, glass, & steel.

gbougard's picture

Why would people have fights about such an unimportant topic as digital vs analog???

Beats me.

Does EVERYTHING have to be a fight for ABSOLUTE supremacy

Our society is very sick

Dorian Workman's picture

What a waste of time! He can like what he likes, we can like what we like. Both can exist. Ridiculous!

Anton D's picture

Paraphrasing: "We fight so bitterly because the stakes are so low."

jeeves2nd's picture

Really too bad that people like that are such cowards. If he/she would only provide their mailing address, then we could all mail him/her a vinyl record with instructions for where to "place" it.

Rudy's picture

...and if you send instructions on where to place that record, make certain it is one of those old 16-inch transcription discs!

Rudy's picture

I am thinking Mikey actually likes "playing with his food" (in other words, getting into "discussions" with the haters). All the angst, hatred, insults and grammatical abuse in their rants is rather comical for a sane person to read. Those types of rants are like a child throwing a tantrum who has to end the tirade with, "...and you're ugly, too!

Yeah, it's true I could make my own argument against vinyl, but could at least do so in a thoughtful and respectful manner if I were so possessed. But, I'm not. And if vinyl sucks so bad, why is it that in the car or over my computer system, I listen to my needle drop of the 45RPM Analogue Productions "Peter Gunn" reissue instead of one of the four digital versions I own? Even over lower-res systems like the car system, I am still hearing details in this recording I've never heard so clearly before in the 40+ years I've listened to this record.

Says something, doncha think?

ebuzz's picture
my new username's picture
atomlow's picture

i can't believe they've raised almost $100,000 for such a novel player. I'm trying to not be a hater but that thing would really annoy me. I'd take an original vw bus player for the "novelty" of it. ;)

rakalm's picture

Just received a signed copy of Rumer's lastest from the U.K. Never had a sealed signed LP before . She signed my other LP's when I met her here last year. Great news Michael. I will keep my tone arm on my VPI where it sounds best. Tracking the distal portion of my alimentary canal would produce sounds only worthy of that shithead you mentioned.

Rudy's picture

I was a fan of Rumer's due to her first album, but I unfortunately have to say that her fourth album (not including the "rarities" release) of all-Bacharach material is a complete snoozefest. I'm about as big of a Burt fan as you'll find anywhere, having his recordings, most of Dionne's that he wrote and/or produced, and countless others that he and Hal David were part of.

It's not that her voice is bad by any means (there are few recent singers now who don't have to screech and wail uncontrollably, or be Autotuned 24/7), but the whole album lacks energy. It's, to use a word, boring. Everything is the exact same volume. The quieter moments, the swells in the instrumentation...it lacks any dynamics whatsoever. Is it poor production? Poor engineering? Dull arrangements? Of all her albums, this is the one I really most wanted to like, and couldn't get to the end of side two without needing to get a more energetic record on the platter. And to be honest, her last one was similarly weak and I've only played it once. Think about what/who is in common with both, and I think you'll find the answer.

I know...I should have downloaded or streamed it first. Lesson learned. Or maybe just downloaded, since mine is a noisy pressing...again...

abelb1's picture

You can't win with haters. These are the people who spend their time trolling the Internet rather than listening to music. I wonder why?

audiof001's picture

We were all led by the majors to believe the 'perfect sound forever' mantra. The first thing they did to kill vinyl was refuse returns and refuse to replace defective pressings. CD production meant far fewer returns and greater profit. When I got my first CD player, I put out a small handful of LPs I hadn't listened to in years... but I kept 98% of my vinyl. Over the years, I've only regretted tossing 2 of the 8-10 LPs in that handful but haven't bothered replacing them.

tlat.com's picture

Mikey, thanks for the report. Did you read Thomas Heath's article this week in the Washington Post on the record (vinyl) industry's renaissance? It notes that vinyl sales edged out digital music downloads...($3.02 Million) to ($2.6 Million). The piece goes on with stats that illustrates across the board Lp sales have been growing by 10 percent per year. In his concluding paragraph however we learn that Mr. Heath knows nothing of the virtues of our beloved records of which we writes. I quote..."This upward arc comes not only in spite of vinyl's alleged inferior quality compared to digital. but because of it". Well at least he said "alleged". Thanks again and have a great weekend.

Anton D's picture

That's only 150,000 LP's, audiophile priced. That sales number doesn't make sense.

Top selling LP's of 2016: http://www.businessinsider.com/best-selling-vinyl-records-amazon-2016-7/...

This year isn't over, but 2015 data...

Here's a list of 2015’s best-selling vinyl below. By artist, then number of vinyls sold.

01. Adele – 25 (116,000)
02. Taylor Swift – 1989 (74,000)
03. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (50,000)
04. The Beatles – Abbey Road (49,800)
05. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (49,000)
06. Arctic Monkeys – AM (48,000)
07. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell (44,900)
08. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color (44,600)
09. Hozier – Hozier (43,000)
10. Guardians of the Galaxy OST (43,000)


That's 562,300 LP's for just the top ten.

If only the top ten were sold as LP's, that 3 million dollars would only yield 5 bucks and change per new LP.

Someone has to be off...either unit sales or gross revenue, I would think!

3 million sounds low. I can't even imagine that would keep our vinyl retailers in business...Acoustic Sounds, Music Direct, Soundstage Direct, Amazon, Elusive Disc, and other retailers we all know! 3 million dollars, total? No way.

Nielsen says 12 million LP's sold in 2015, and we know nobody is getting new LP's for 25 cents to get to that 3 million. (I would have guessed 100 million.)

Turntable sales for 2016 estimated at 194 million dollars.


Estimates for turntable sales are listed at 56,000 record players sold in 2015. (That data also seems crazy/suspect, as it works out to 3,464 dollars per turntbale, which also can't be right.)


If we looked only at new turntable buyers in the past year, 3 million dollars in LP sales would come to only 53 dollars per turntable buyer for the year.

Over the past 5 years, 250,000 record players have been sold.

3 million in sales would then mean 12 dollars spent per person who has purchased a turntable in the past 5 years.

I guess it really is just a hipster fad if LP sales are so anemic.


tlat.com's picture

I'm sorry I left out a key factor in those quoted numbers. They represent only Britain. Still I don't know if lps sold there actually would work out as noted in the Washington Post article. Nice job on your catch.


dabhidh's picture

I think you ought to post a Bitter Vinyl Hater of the Week post, featuring a new email from a bitter vinyl hater. It might do them some good to see their rants posted publicly (but anonymously of course). The anti-vinyl attitude is just so unhinged - even if someone thinks vinyl is a lousy medium, it shouldn't make them so pissed off.

Joe Crowe's picture

I told myself I would NOT join this thread but if I read one more poster claiming "We all" were fooled by the hype over CDs I'm going to pull my own teeth out. It's only because no true audiophile was ever fooled or fooled for very long that analogue still exists today. I heard digitally recorded LPs on decent systems before the CD hardware became available and like most did not care for them. I heard early CDs and thought they were terrible but was told that was because they came from analogue tapes and to be patient. Then the digitally recorded CDs arrived and they were the worst of all. When all we had to go by was press releases and reviews (a proven and admitted disinformation campaign) I was the worlds biggest digital advocate. That was until I heard it, lights out game over. Since the dawn of the CD I have purchased a Rega Planar with SME arm, a Sota Sapphire, a used Mod Squad modified AR-XB just for fun and a VPI Classic while also listening to dozens of other tables belonging to friends and dealers. Also in that time I have spent tens (hundreds?) of thousands on records, electronics and speakers. Yet to this day I have never owned a CD player aside from the one's in my computers. While I admit digital technology has made great strides (only after they admitted the early version sucked incidentally)there are so many other sources available now the audio CD is totally passe in my world. Now that I have that off my chest please, no more generalizations about how we were all fooled by CDs I am old enough to start losing my teeth the old fashioned way, thanks.

SWC's picture

I was in Austin in April 2016 and was happy to see vinyl there at the airport store - picked up Susan Tedeschi at Austin City Limits LP, so maybe the other poster was just there when they were out of stock. I live in Seattle and stop at that SubPop store most trips through the airport.

vschwager's picture

I personally own both CDs and LPs and listen gladly to both. I have several albums on either vinyl or CD. I won't go into which is better or superior. But I have personally adopted a segregated approach: music originally recorded analogically I listen to and purchase on either vinyl or CD. I do not purchase any vinyl that has been pressed from a digital source - since I don't see what the benefit might be of having a digital file pressend onto a vinyl. If I want to listen to something whose source is digital, I stick with digital: I think it simply defeats the purpose of listening to a vinyl record. And I do not also believe that you can waltz in into any store and come out with a copy of Kind of Blue or Dark Side of the Moon in vinyl registered analogically - regardless of the claims being made on the sleeve.
I have few analogue records, and I slowly acquire them at auctions and vintage stores. I don't buy new pressings claiming that they are mastered from analog tapes because I simply do not believe that there are many of these tapes around, and the ones that might still be I doubt that they are in mint, or usable conditions. People now are simply listening to digital files stored onto an analogic medium like vinyl. However, for the "real thing" that is the original analogue recording (with its pitfalls and merits), I am afraid you need to fetch a record pressed before digital was invented. IMHO.