The revival of vinyl records

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - September 27, 2011

Phonograph records had dominated ownable music since Edison and Victor developed them. But once compact discs became an affordable option, most buyers rushed to go digital.

Today, industry analysts say vinyl LP's occupy a fraction of the market, maybe about 2%. But it's the fastest-growing segment of the market and several indie and alternative artists like being on vinyl. So do a number of others who agree with audiophiles that phonograph records offer a certain "warmth" digital media do not.

Yet, given that a younger generation of fans may not own a turntable, today's LP usually comes with a code you can use to go online and download a digital version of the songs. So you get the best of both worlds. Today's LP's typically cost about $12.00, less than a comparable CD.

We visited Philadelphia Record Exchange, 608 S. 5th Street in Queen Village, where owner Tom Lax also offers thousands of vintage LP's. Obviously, his inventory is limited to what prior owners are willing to sell him, but the used market allows him to offer an amazing selection of genres at very low prices.

He also carries 45's, old 78's, cassettes and even 8-track cartridges. But given that virtually none of his inventory comes from distributors, he cannot predict what might be for sale from day to day. And once an item is sold, it may never show up again.

You can reach Philadelphia Record Exchange by phone at 215-925-7892. They're open daily from 11:00am to 7:00pm. The store doesn't have a website but does sell a lot of items on eBay.

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