If you thought vinyl records were dead, think again.
- Hollywood record store draws crowd with vinyl giveway
- Opened five years ago, the Record Parlour has rode the wave of vinyl resurgence
- Music fans appreciate audio quality and community that vinyl records offer
Events like “Free Record Day” at the Record Parlour in Hollywood have been bringing in collectors from all over Southern California. With hundreds of thousands of albums in stock, Chris Hotenschlaeger opened the Record Parlour five years ago as the vinyl Renaissance was kicking into high gear.
“We are blessed,” said Hotenschlaeger. “We're Los Angeles. We have all the records you could ever imagine. But there's people around the world that want that Led Zeppelin record and they come to the Record Parlour.”
Collectors line up starting early in the morning, eager to see what treasures they might find and to get some free records from over 40,000 on offer. Many collectors came prepared with their own crates.
But what is the appeal of vinyl?
“It just sounds better,” said collector Nicholas Ibarra. “And I like the activity of listening to vinyl. I like putting on a record and listening to the whole album and listening to it as the artist intended it to be heard.”
Collectors are always on the lookout for that vinyl “Holy Grail,” rare discs that can fetch up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
“It's not necessarily about money. It's about finding them. It's always a treasure hunt," said Hotenschlaeger.
"Finding it is the thrill. It's just an amazing experience. It's totally different than scanning and sitting back at your computer looking for music. You're actually touching something and turning it and feeling it and engaging with it.”
Hotenschlaeger is happy to see that the demographics of vinyl collectors has changed over the years.
“It's not a guys' thing anymore,” he said. “It's not a hipster thing anymore. It's a real thing.”
Collectors enjoyed the sense of community at the Record Parlour event, including Genesis and Dolores, a mother and daughter team who came looking for a very special record.
“[My mom] dedicated a song to me when I was born,” said Genesis. “It's called, ‘So’ by War, so she's kinda looking for it.”
Dolores regrets having thrown out her vinyl years ago now that her daughter is becoming a collector.
“Now she's into it,” said Dolores, “So, I’m teaching her something new.”
While a free giveaway is great for business, Hotenschlaeger is also thrilled to be fostering a sense of community for vinyl enthusiasts.
“Do you see that people are talking to each other?” said Hotenschlaeger. “When's the last time you've been at Target and started talking to somebody?”
But, of course, most satisfying of all is when a collector strikes vinyl gold and finds the record they’ve always been looking for.